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Wednesday, October 1, 2014
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- More from Where to Smoke
£10 at The Montage in Beverly Hills
Posted: August 4, 2014
OK, here's what you need to know before you visit £10 (or Ten Pound): You have four options for the equivalent of ice. Three of them are actually some form of ice. One is an "ice bulb custom £10 sphere;" another is a "Highland Springs Scottish Water Sphere;" the third is actually ice cubes. Then there are the whiskey stones. These are soapstone beverage coolers that won't dilute your very pricey The Macallan that, at £10, is served in $400 Lalique crystal glassware.
There are 28 versions of The Macallan single-malt Scotch whiskey from which to choose, the most expensive being the last shot of a 64-year-old that is listed on the menu for $64,000. (Take another breath.) The purchaser of this last "wee dram" will get to name the charity to which £10, "the only official U.S. outpost of The Macallan," will donate the purchase price. If you're not feeling quite that flush, there are a couple of $35 pours on the list.
So, you get the picture. £10 is not for the faint of wallet. Before you get to £10, you need to do three things. First, you need to make a reservation. Second, make sure you're dressed at least in business casual, which in Beverly Hills, I can attest, does not require socks if your feet are in soft leather loafers. Finally, you need to spend at least $50 at £10. As we've discussed, that will not be a challenge.
The experience is one that is extremely enjoyable once you've settled into the plush furniture and a server attends to your every whim.
If you know what you want to drink, you will be offered a choice of how you want your beverage chilled. I chose from the "House Spirits Collection" a Pampero Aniversario rum, $35, poured over a sphere. This menu carries what £10 considers among the best spirits in each category. Nolet's gin, DeLeón tequila, Stolichnaya and Jewel of Russia vodka, Michter's 10 Year Old Single Barrel and A.H. Hirsch 16 Year Old Reserve Bourbon, James E. Pepper 15 Year Old rye, and Nikka Taketsuru 12 Year Old blended whisky are available. You can argue with the selection if you like, but I found exactly what I wanted to drink among the four rum offerings while enjoying the Padrón 1926 I had brought along.
Each guest, or table, is served a complimentary tray of three appetizers that is meant to go with the single-malt and bring out different flavors. There is a 26-month aged Gouda cheese, applewood-smoked bacon strips, and spiced pecans. On each table also are some pistachios mixed with dried cranberries. Munch away.
Now, if your appetite is a bit larger, you can order from the small plates menu or, if you think of it, call a couple of days ahead and ask that the kitchen prepare your favorite meal. They say they'll procure the ingredients and have it ready for you. I told you. Every whim. Hungry right now? Look across the way. There's Thomas Keller's Bouchon. Downstairs is Scott Conant's Scarpetta.
Of course, what we're here for is the enjoyment of a great cigar. £10 is essentially a small, classic bar that leads to a large balcony overlooking the courtyard of The Montage hotel in Beverly Hills. That's where you can enjoy your own cigar or purchase one from the cigar menu. The cigar offerings are not extensive, but generally cover most tastes. There is a Ghurka Art Deco 1940 priced at $135 (a cigar Gurkha claims contains pre-embargo Cuban tobacco); a Padrón 1964 Anniversary at $54; and an Ashton VSG at $33, among others. If you want to smoke your own, £10 will ask $25 for a cutting fee. So just buy a Fuente Hemingway Short Story for $24 off the list. It's all good.
Take a puff. Take a sip. £10 is the escape. The high life. The moment away. Not bad every once in a while. Not bad at all.
Alejandro Benes lives and writes in Southern California.
£10 (Ten Pound) at The Montage Hotel
225 N. Canon Drive
Beverly Hills, CA
Open Tuesday through Saturday: 5 p.m. - 1 a.m.
Closed Sunday & Monday
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