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The Good Life

Cigar Aficionado’s 2021 Holiday Gift Guide

Seasons Greetings And A Smoking New Year
Nov 30, 2021 | By CA Editors
Cigar Aficionado’s 2021 Holiday Gift Guide

The joy of the holidays comes with some responsibilities—most obviously inspired giving. If your gift list is populated with lovers of the leaf your task is easier: simply scour our ratings of fine, handmade smokes for the appropriate box of presents. For those who want to be more creative, we’ve compiled the following gift guide that includes not only cigar accessories the accouterments and aspirational items that accompany our never-ending pursuit of the good life. From $15 to $15,000, you’re sure to find something for the cigar aficionado on your list.

Cigar Art

Cigar Art (starting at $15) etsy.com

Cigar smokers enjoy the company of many illustrious and revered characters throughout history. With prints and posters, you can share images of famous lovers of the leaf in your home. Notables include both real and fictional characters, including John F. Kennedy, Jack Nicholson or Scarface.

McIntosh Vacuum Tube Amplifier

McIntosh Vacuum Tube Amplifier ($15,000) mcintoshlabs.com

Those who crave the sound of vinyl record albums are missing half of the retro experience. So much collectible music was originally recorded to be played through vacuum-tube amplifiers with their warm sound. In homage to the equipment that powered the sound system at Woodstock a half century ago, McIntosh has created the MC3500 Mk II, a reimagination of the 350-watt monoblock amp. In addition to its tube technology, the aluminum-faced model includes a host of contemporary updates to balance it with it the other more modern components in your system.

Marky’s Caviar on Madison

Marky’s Caviar on Madison (prices vary) markyscaviar.com

If you’re tired of mundane gifts—trinkets, nuts, oranges, even coal—filling the stockings you hang near the chimney with care, consider something on a gourmet level. The farm-to-spoon caviar that is the specialty of Marky’s Caviar on New York City’s Madison Avenue will stuff those garments with great taste. From the most sought after caviar of Russia to domestically raised roe to the implements to you eat them with, the shop can supply all your fish egg needs. Have a taste for sugar and not salt? Marky’s also offers a variety of sweet gifts.

OpusX Society Accessories

OpusX Society Accessories (prices vary) theoxsociety.com

The Fuente Fuente OpusX cigar brand has always been known for its striking visuals. Now the designer Manny Iriarte, of The OpusX Society, has created a line of vibrant cigar cases, humidors, lighters and more that captures the energy and excitement of the cigar brand. The carbon-fiber cigar cases ($270), with room for three cigars, are particularly exciting.

Zuppardi’s Apizza

Zuppardi’s Apizza ($83-$87 for six) zuppardisapizza.com

If you think New York City has the market cornered on great pizza, you likely haven’t sampled the thin, blistered-crust pies and no-nonsense, high-quality toppings that are known as New Haven style pizza. Frank Pepe’s and Sally’s are the landmark purveyors of what is called apizza (abeetz) in the Connecticut city. But tucked away in a congested residential neighborhood in nearby West Haven is a lesser-known maker of superb pizza that will ship right to your door. Zuppardi’s Apizza is easy to miss. But that would be a grave error as this little restaurant has baked amazing pizzas—particularly those topped with its signature fennel sausage, made weekly by hand using a family recipe—since the 1930s. 

Aberfeldy

SPONSORED

Setting a Gold Standard with Aberfeldy 12-Year-Old Gold Bar mikmak.com

Whether to impress a client or get in a father-in-law’s good graces, giving gold for the holidays is a sure bet—Gold Bar whisky, that is. A Scotch producer from the Central Highlands of Scotland, Aberfeldy draws water from the Pitilie Bern, which runs through land that is laced with gold deposits. Known for its smooth, approachable house style with plenty of honeyed richness and fruit from longer fermentation, Aberfeldy ages its 12-Year-Old single malt in a blend of first-fill sherry and bourbon casks, which add notes of dark chocolate, vanilla, and toffee, to refill and rechar casks. It’s concentrated and generous, with notes of tropical fruit, spices, and a hint of smoke on the finish. If the Scotch itself wasn’t enough to impress, the bottle sure will: The 12-Year-Old is packaged in a striking Gold Bar gift tin.

AroundtheBlock Bike

AroundtheBlock Bike ($329) sixthreezero.com

New Year’s resolutions are worthy endeavors, but some—like the promise to exercise more—can be hard to keep. The AroundtheBlock Bike provides an elegant way to meet your resolution as you ride around town or maybe to work. With its comfortable design and classic look, you’ll keep off the holiday weight in style. Plus, you have the choice of 1, 3, 7 or 21 speed.

Cobra Radspeed

Cobra Radspeed ($549) cobragolf.com

Whoever told you to slow down your golf swing has never seen Bryson deChambeau use a Cobra to hammer a ball the length of three (plus) football fields. The limited-edition Radspeed Volition Driver is a special edition of Cobra’s “fastest driver ever.” With eight grams of fixed weight in the back, it helps to keep the driver steady on off-center hits. Adjustable weights elsewhere can be tweaked to forgive mistakes. And while you’re pounding the cover off the ball, a portion of sales goes to Folds of Honor, which provides scholarships to spouses and children of America’s fallen and disabled service members.

Saddleback Leather Workshop Apron

Saddleback Leather Workshop Apron ($250) saddlebackleather.com

If you want to channel your inner blacksmith, you’ll need protection. For that you can turn to the master leather smiths of Saddleback. The Fort Worth, Texas company’s Leather Workshop Apron has adjustable shoulder straps, a hammer ring on one side, tape measure hanger on the other, plus deep pockets for various tools and a smaller center pocket meant for pencils or a cellphone. Don’t do much horseshoeing? You can even use this redoubtable garment to man the BBQ. Its heft (three pounds) may explain why Saddleback guarantees it for 100 years. 

Sony OLED Television

Sony OLED Television (from $2,800) sony.com

The many choices available in the current golden era of televisions can be confusing. Sony’s Bravia XR Master A90J OLED makes the decision easy with its refined picture, outstanding clarity and stunning realism. Powered by Sony’s Cognitive Processor XR technology, the OLED screen produces precise colors, super-sharp images and depth of field rendered in the natural way humans perceive distance. Near infinite contrast ratios result in the deepest, inkiest levels of pure black, even in a dark room. The set comes in 55, 65 and 83 inches. Whichever size you choose, your eyes will thank you.

Heaven's Door Trilogy Gift Set

SPONSORED

Heaven’s Door Trilogy Gift Set and Mentoring Session reservebar.com

Featuring all three award-winning expressions, the Heaven’s Door Trilogy Collection invites consumers to experience the breadth of the brand alongside an interactive mentoring session.

The live virtual tasting will discuss what makes American Whiskey unique and explore the variety within the category. The session will also include a discussion around the distinctive qualities of each expression in the Heaven’s Door Trilogy Collection, ranging from ingredients and production to flavor profiles and finishes. Participants will be invited to ask questions throughout and encouraged to participate in what is sure to be an engaging and informative event.

S.T. Dupont Space Odyssey Writing Kit

S.T. Dupont Space Odyssey Writing Kit ($5,250) colesoflondon.com

S.T. Dupont created the limited-edition Space Odyssey Prestige Writing Kit for high-minded space enthusiasts who still write letters by hand. The rocket-shaped writing device sits on its own miniature launching pad waiting for you to take off and scrawl your way to the epistolary cosmos. As the ultimate ode to the Milky Way, every pen is lacquered with celestial designs framed by a gleaming, palladium finish. The solid-brass fountain pen features a converter filling system and is enhanced with S.T. Dupont’s 18kt gold nib. It comes with a rollerball conversion kit as well, just in case you need to write a quick note under anti-gravity conditions. 

Hamilton Beach Pro Series 32 Sausage Maker

Hamilton Beach Pro Series 32 Sausage Maker ($790) macys.com

One way to keep up with holiday snack grazing is to make your own sausage. This two-in-one meat grinder and sausage stuffer from Hamilton Beach does the entire job. Start by grinding your choice of meat (say pork, beef, chicken or elk) at a whopping 21 pounds per minute. Then attach the sausage-making adapter, spacer and one of four funnels to start tubing your meat. The versatile grinder has an air-cooled, 2.0-hp motor and the entire thing comes with a five-year warranty when you buy from Macy’s. There’s even a built-in knife sharpener, so your blades stay keen.

Gunnar Optiks

Gunnar Optiks ($80) gunnar.com

Most of us spend too much time looking at screens, be they laptops, desktops or mobile phones. Their blue light emissions have been blamed for issues ranging from simple eyestrain to disrupted sleep cycles. Gunnar Optiks makes a line of glasses with blue-light-blocking lenses, including the stylish Pendleton (shown). With its ultra-light, military-style stainless-steel frame and amber lens, the glasses add a tint of color, but are so light you otherwise don’t notice they are on.

Handbound Books by Thornwillow Press

Handbound Books by Thornwillow Press (price varies) thornwillow.com

Walt Disney once said “There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot in Treasure Island.” That is never more true than when the book itself is a work of art with letterpress printing, engraving and custom binding. Thornwillow Press has been binding and printing fine volumes for over three decades and their work can be found in the collections of the White House, the Vatican and the British Library. Titles range from literary classics to more contemporary publications.

Alexandra Llewellyn Backgammon Set

Alexandra Llewellyn Backgammon Set ($5,920) alexandrallewellyn.com

Make some friendly (or not-so-friendly) competition with this high-end, cigar-themed backgammon set fit for a smoking room. The handmade board from England features fumed eucalyptus wood, burgundy and cream calf-leather playing pieces, black calf leather shakers, laser-cut dice and personalized engraving options. The part we love the most is every other “point” or arrow on the board is either an image of a smoking cigar or wisp of smoke. You can upgrade to malachite and red jasper playing pieces for a bit more flash.

Luigi Bormioli Personalized Whisky Decanter

Luigi Bormioli Personalized Whisky Decanter ($55) www.personalizationmall.com

To the one on your shopping list who prides himself on his full bar give a personal touch with this elegant whisky decanter engraved with a custom message. Handcrafted in Italy, this glass decanter measures 7 1/2 inches by 6 inches by 2 3/4 inches, meaning that this piece will not only stand out, but can hold enough of the liquor of your choice to share with those near and dear (and of legal drinking age!) this holiday season.

Daniel Boulud’s Gourmet Holiday Collection

Daniel Boulud’s Gourmet Holiday Collection ($439) goldbelly.com

Tired of the mediocrity of typical holiday gift baskets? French chef Daniel Boulud, famed for his 12 restaurants located across the globe, has assembled an assortment of sweet and savory treats that goes well beyond the norm. His Gourmet Holiday Collection starts with French favorites such as country pate; duck and fig terrine; Comté and Coupole cheeses; and country bread. Once you’re ready for dessert, Boulud’s confections come straight from his patisserie: Madeleines, canelés, macarons and four of Boulud’s addictively sumptuous ginger cookies. There’s even an entire ginger loaf. For anything more authentic you’d have to hop a plane to France. 

Sterling Ascots

Sterling Ascots ($55-$60) sterlingascots.com

The ascot is a delightful fashion hybrid. At once casual and elegant, it serves the approximate purpose of a tie (decorating the neck), but without the attendant cinched feeling. Plus, it won’t flop in your food or get in the way of your billiards game. Sterling Ascots offers an array of colorful cravats in silk and microfiber, and its website publishes a blog for converts.

Cigar Aficionado

Cigar Aficionado Subscription (two for $24.95) cigaraficionado.com

With more than 70 cigar reviews in every issue and the Top 25 cigars each year, Cigar Aficionado magazine is a cigar lover’s best companion. But it's more than cigars—it’s a magazine for those who enjoy life’s great pleasures. From celebrity profiles to the finest in spirits, world travel, golf, sports and much, much more. Treat your friends and family (or yourself) with this two for one offer for this holiday season.

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