A moment with: Christopher Modoo, Founder of Kit Blake Tailoring

_A1A0645

Photo provided by Hannah Tointon

I have decided to add an ongoing feature focusing on inspirational individuals in fields concerning the modern gentleman. Starting off this series, I was lucky enough to sit down with a gentleman who has over three decades of experience in menswear to get a look at his new tailoring brand ‘Kit Blake’ and what he hopes to achieve through it. So let me start by briefly introducing the man behind the the Brand, Christopher Modoo.

Modoo has been a part of many household names in menswear over his career, including becoming a well known name on Savile Row working for such brands as Eve & Ravenscroft and Chester Barrie. Now, alongside his new endeavour, he is an independent style & brand consultant. As well as being well known in the sartorial community for his writing, consistently featured within the pages of influential periodicals such as ‘The Rake’ and ‘The Jackal’.

_A1A0652

Photo provided by Hannah Tointon

In person, Modoo is extremely relaxed and personable.  Wearing a combination of his new (quite possibly soon iconic) pleated trousers paired elegantly with a relaxed Uniqlo pullover,providing credence to his claims that a pair of classic wool trousers are uniquely suited to adding variety and flexibility to a modern gentleman’s wardrobe, easily being dressed up or down. So sitting down before the official launch of his new capsule collection, we chatted about the his new brand.


GofO: Where did the concept of Kit Blake come from?

CM: When I moved on from Chester Barrie in the summer of 2017, my lifestyle changed. I looked at my wardrobe and I realised it needed to change along with it. I was rather top heavy in my wardrobe; I had loads of sports jackets and never enough pairs of trousers. I had too many clothes and nothing to wear: it’s a cliche, I know. I was thinking: I love Savile Row taste, and I love the classic looks. With that in mind I began to think about the place to start rebuilding my wardrobe. So, after speaking to a friend of mine, we started Kit Blake together. The name’s origin came from a fake name I used on Savile row; as ‘Kit’ is Christopher, and I happened to live down Blakes Lane. It was just a little fake name I used to put on Orders; I never planned to make Kit Blake into a label. We tried other names but ‘Kit Blake’ just seemed to fit. So I discussed the name with my business partner, he showed it to some friends, and his feedback was that everybody loved it. So it grew from there and we started making trousers. From that point we thought about how gentlemen want to dress nowadays. I’ve got a huge wardrobe after being in the trade thirty years, but the key foundations have to be a great pair of trousers, a great blazer, and a great overcoat. Then you style and grow your wardrobe from there. Many people mix some really nice sportswear with tailoring and it just looks so fresh. People may look at it as dressing down, but I see it as dressing up. The alternative is bad jeans, bad trainers, and pure street and sportswear. But, by mixing in tailoring: tailoring will survive.

_A1A0574

Photo provided by Hannah Tointon

GofO: In your mission statement, you state you want to see a return to how men used to wear suits. Do you think suits are thought about differently by the current generation compared to previous generations?

CM: I think the difference is that the suit as we know it, a matching two piece, used to be the default setting. If in the 1950’s I went into a pub on a Saturday wearing a suit, no one would question it. Nowadays it’s, why are you wearing a suit? A suit is formal wear. So we’ve kind of replaced that and now no one would question if I went to a pub dressed like a teenager in a polo shirt, jeans and trainers. Which is, in my view, traditionally children’s wear. A suit is a more masculine, grown-up way of dressing which is comfortable. Retro dressing but contemporary.

People needn’t be afraid to wear a little bit of tailoring and not to be scared of trousers. There is a real fear of trousers, and even in my world people say ‘Oh, your not wearing jeans on the weekend?’. To be honest I’m not the biggest fan of jeans, I don’t find them comfortable. I normally wear trousers everyday. Different pleats, different pleat depths, I’ve been trying a lot of tailoring on them in the last year. I will wear jeans now and again, when I know I will likely get dirty. The great thing I love about jeans is that they are machine washable. So if I’m emptying the warehouse or running errands around the house, jeans are fantastic. So don’t think I’m Anti-Jean, I just think they have their allotted role. It’s a shame that men think they cannot look beyond jeans when it comes to trousers. What I have found from doing Kit Blake is that men like to be shown their options. That they can pair well made trousers, a sweater, a nice coat and some modern sneakers to create a sophisticated look.

Photo taken by Gownsmith

GofO: How did Kit Blake come together with Gownsmith and Fear Watches for your one day capsule collection launch?

CM: I’ve known Gownsmith beforehand. I knew of the brand and I knew Tom from his shoe business. He told me about his plans for a six week pop-up store in the heart of London and I thought it was a great idea. Pop-up stores are fantastic because it’s an occasion. I also loved the products of the other two brands at the store; Gownsmith with their bespoke dressing gowns and Fear watches. It’s a great collaboration. With these two brands here for the six weeks they said why not join them for one day and its worked out amazingly. It’s a great environment where we’re all learning from each other. We are all small businesses and we can pool our knowledge and experience. I would never of had that help if it hadn’t had this place, and I love being on the shop floor again. I was on the shop floor from 1992 to 2002 working in retail, and then retail management. After that I subsequently moved into office based roles where I realised I was more comfortable on the shop floor; meeting customers, watching people sell and handling the products. Where better to learn your styles? Coming here, being on the shop floor and actually selling: I absolutely love it. I love meeting people, seeing my product on people’s backs, and getting direct feedback.

Photo Taken by Me

GofO: What ideas do you hope people will take away from your collection?

CM: That they can wear trousers more often. Own a couple of pairs of trousers that will transform their wardrobe and break it up a bit. If you have to wear suits for work and then you have to dress down. Rather than just doing jeans and cotton trousers, a pair of wool trousers and a sweater is so easy, versatile and comfortable. You will find you will get compliments from people just because you have trousers on. So a pair of trousers will breath new life into your wardrobe. You can wear suit jackets with them, knitwear, denim jackets, sneakers. The idea of separate pieces, fewer clothes of a higher quality that you get more wear out of, is a concept we want to promote.

_A1A1285
Photo provided by Hannah Tointon

GofO: To finish off this interview I wanted to know the truth behind the rumour I’ve heard that you just hate short socks. Why?

CM: I absolutely hate short socks. They don’t stay up and when you cross your legs you show your ankle. It’s just one of those things for me that is indicative of a guy who just doesn’t care about how he dresses. In my career in menswear I’ve met some amazingly dressed people from different classes, from different backgrounds, from all over the world, some real connoisseurs in clothing. The one thing they probably all have in common is that they all wear proper over the calf socks. It’s like the secret code of the Gentleman. It’s just one of those little details I just can’t stress enough.


Many thanks to Christopher Modoo for giving up his time. Sadly the pop-up is no longer in the Piccadilly Arcade, but the collection is available for you to purchase it exclusively through, The Rake.

This is an unsponsored post.

Advertisements

Welcome to ‘A Gentleman of Oxford’

Oxford

It conjures up the image of medieval architecture, students, a corner of Britain’s green and pleasant land. After living here on and off for five years I can tell you that it certainly lives up to its well earned image.

20170325_174225

Though I reside amongst its dreaming spires, I sadly do not belong to its centuries of scholarly tradition. I once tried to walk that path what feels like a lifetime ago. But I am a cautionary tale of going to university for all the wrong reasons. In the end I dropped out, choosing to find another way to my dreams and goals without forcing myself through a course I despised, incurring debt. I hope to prove that university degree is not the making of a person or what defines them. This aim is also tied to this blog as I invite you to come with me as I forge my own path in this world and hopefully help you along the way to.

So who am I and what is the aim of this Blog?

So far you, if you only know me from this blog post, know me as an oxford based university drop-out (who likes to pose against brick walls). So who is the chap featured above, who has decided to start writing a blog. My name is James and what I hope to do with this blog is to bring you along with me as I explore aspects of the modern day English Gentlemen.

From Inspiration to Creation: The journey of a Norfolk Jacket.

20170927_150001.jpg

The Resurgence of a British classic: What is a Norfolk Jacket?

Since the dawn of bespoke tailoring, functionality has always been a driving force behind the creation of new styles and patterns. The Norfolk Jacket is no exception to this rule. Originating in the mid Victorian era, this jacket was developed with comfort and practicality in mind when it came to hunting trips in the British countryside. There are two conflicting tales on the origin of this jacket relating to members of the landed gentry. What we can be sure of is the reason for its creation, practicality when in the field. Its multiple pockets were designed for the accessories a gentleman needed while out participating in outdoor pursuits. The recognisable edition of a belt kept the jacket closed against the elements, whilst slimming down the overall silhouette of the wearer. Pleats were added both to the back and arms to allow a full range of movements; whether that its original design for shouldering a gun, or later when swinging a golf club. This practicality meant that during its hay days -from the late 1800s to the mid 1900s- went from a jacket purely kept for forays about the countryside, to a regular staple of a gentleman’s wardrobe no matter the surroundings.

Though this style of jacket has disappeared from wider use, the Norfolk jacket has always had a home when it comes to its original purpose. This view is changing, stemming from a growing market of renewed classic styles (especially those with British heritage). This revival comes from an ideology against the poorly executed, mass produced items of clothing that makes up the majority of modern wardrobes. Around the world there is a growing focus on high quality, small production pieces of clothing such as those made out of locally sourced selvedge denim, etc. Here in Great Britain we are seeing the rival of British made fabrics and iconic tailoring patterns from the previous century for inspiration. This is something that I believe is key to a modern Gentleman’s collection, why not represent yourself with a few timeless and classic pieces that support British (or local) businesses?

img_20180924_0722275559983837432412574.jpg

Image taken by Fiona Bailey and provided by Brita Hirtch & David Evans

The Fox on the Hunt

The story of this specific jacket started on Instagram, where its creator tantalised me with glimpses of its composition. So, when the opportunity arose to be guided through the process in person by the Tailor and her client, I leapt at the chance. So I travelled down to London to where the event in Mayfair. Hosting this feature on British craftsmanship and heritage was the well established family-owned Austrian shoemaker, Ludwig Reiter. This company is a home of tradition and craftsmanship; producing modern and heritage inspired footwear, which were featured at London fashion week in 2017.

The talk itself focused on the specifics of making this particular jacket for the client, David Evans (@Greyfoxblog), a well respected men’s fashion and lifestyle writer. The Tailor for this bespoke garment was Brita Hirsch (@hirschtailoring), who has been a tailor and textile engineer with 30 years experience in the business.
By this stage the jacket’s conception was in its second stage of fitting. As seen in the first image, the jacket is roughly constructed allowing the client to try on the garment to make sure that everything is positioned correctly and allowing changes to be made to improve the fit and hang of the jacket. By arriving early I was able to sit down with Brita who talked me through her company, Hirsch Tailoring, and her focus on sourcing the highest quality materials to deliver the perfect bespoke pieces for her clientele. We also discussed her new Tailoring apprenticeship, where she hopes to bestow skills of classic tailoring into the next generation.

20170927_192335.jpg

After a brief interlude for dinner, everyone gathered back at the store for glass of champagne, and to settle in for the main event. David started by explaining the source of inspiration behind the creation of his Norfolk jacket. The story of which began when Evans’ was gifted a role of Harris tweed after a visit to Scotland, and the Harris Tweed Authority. Looking for someway to utilise this handsome gift he found an image on Pinterest of a German gentleman out for for a stroll with his dog during the early twentieth century. Drawing parallels between himself and the aforementioned gentleman: he saw in this the perfect jacket for his modern needs: a warm, breathable garment that would be just as much at home hiking over the hills of the Lake District, as walking his dog in London’s many parks.

Keeping with the idea of heritage, David and Brita needed a lining for the jacket that would perfectly pair with the Tweed exterior. Silk was the obvious conclusion. Silk cloth manufacturing has had a long tradition in Britain; being a favourite of British tailors for generations due to its breathability, strength, and the fact that the material can be vibrantly dyed and printed. To find the the perfect Silk they turned to Adamley Textiles, a printed silk cloth specialist nestled in the Cheshire countryside. Looking through Adamley Textiles’ David Evans’ archive (with no connection to David Evans, The Grey Fox) they settled on a subtle fox design in keeping with David’s writing handle.

20170927_200631.jpg

With the fabrics decided on, the next step was laying out the design of the jacket. Going with a classic cut, taking inspiration from the original source of inspiration, (The aforementioned german gentleman previously photographed) Brita set about creating this example of bespoke craftsmanship. Making a bespoke garment allows for customisation and flexibility, giving the customer a truly personal item. David gave an example of this in two small requests he made of Brita during the jackets construction. First, David’s choice of buttons for the garment; like the period jacket, he wanted leather buttons. However, he wanted to source original vintage buttons for the jacket, as a nod to the Norfolk jacket’s of the previous century.

First fitting in studio 2

Image taken by Fiona Bailey and provided by Brita Hirtch & David Evans

[/caption]

The second request he made was for a less structured shoulder line, unlike Jacket’s of various British styles; where padded shoulders are favoured to give shape and broadness to the shoulders. The German gentleman pictured has had the British pattern Norfolk jacket made for him, but has favoured the european style of unpadded shoulders giving a more form-fitted appearance.

At the time of talk I attended, the jacket was still in the process of alterations. Since then it has been ripped apart, restitched and meticulously finished to the highest standards. For the the rest of this Jacket’s story I must hand you over to David’s blog, The Grey Fox, where the finished product can be viewed, with in-depth knowledge on the Bespoke process from Brita Hirsch.

I would like to thank both of them for giving up their time to give us a walk through on the Bespoke processes of tailoring and their mutual love of craftsmanship.

Lost in the Royal Gardens – Royal Salute 28yrs Kew Palace Edition

This summer I was invited down to Kew Gardens by Royal Salute for the release of their homage to one of Londons historic icons, Kew Palace. To those who are unfamiliar, the name Royal Salute may mean little; you may, however, be more familiar with the company they originally branched from, Chivas Regal, who still own the brand today. So why did they become their own entity? And what is the link to Kew Palace? Let us jump quickly back to their first release.

A Tribute to Royalty

In the 1950’s, the Chivas Brothers had been blending whisky for a century and a half, and were previously awarded a royal warrant by Queen Victoria. At this moment in history her Royal Highness, Princess Elizabeth II, was at the eve of her coronation and to celebrate this occasion Chivas released a special 21 aged edition called The 21-Gun Salute. Since then, under the Royal Salute name, Chivas brother have released different bottlings to celebrate royal events, places and monarchs from all over the world.

Photo courtesy of the Chivas Brothers Ltd

Condensing the Essence of a Palace

Built by a Flemish merchant in Dutch style in 1631, Kew Palace gained its title as a royal palace after George III acquired it for his wife after she fell in love with it well over a century later. It is not hard to see why after spending time walking through the gardens with a glass of whisky. Though no longer a royal residence, the palace is maintained by the charity Histortic Royal Palaces, who are charged with the conservation of these beautiful buildings and whom Royal Salute are long time supporters. Though the Palace is stunning, it is the kitchen garden where Sandy Hyslop (Director of Blending at Chivas) and Barnabé Fillion (Master Perfumer), drew upon the majority of their inspiration for this Blend. Creating a bottling condensing the essence of this palace in aid of its upkeep, along with other palaces that the Historic Royal Palaces charity is custodian of.

A Bespoke Evening

With glass in hand and the setting sun over the terracotta brickwork of this London icon, you could not wish for a more captivating environment to celebrate a release from the “King of Whisky”. We were greeted with expertly mixed cocktails and perfectly matched hors d’oeures, which were the creation of Darren McGrady, an ex-chef of Britain’s Royal family. This was also where my fellow guests and I mingled with Sandy and Barnabé: enabling us to converse with the individuals behind the release, and the knowledge they possess in their respective fields. From here we split off into groups, taking in the palace as the sun slowly sank beneath the canopy of Kew’s urban forest.

We were then taken through the Palace’s Kitchen garden and down into the subterranean kitchens to create our own imitation of the Kew Palace Whisky. In this vaulted cavern of a room, we were met with a scene of beakers, test tubes, and apparatus more akin to a scientist’s lab, than a Palace Kitchen. Once seated, we were taken through the creative process which Sandy and Barnabé took to create this particular release. Utilising Barnabé’s famous talent for scents we pinned down the particular essences that make up the Kitchen garden. Sandy and Barnabé concurred that once they had agreed on their signature essences they turned to the countless barrels of whisky Chivas have at their disposal, to create their blend (a difficult task, even for these two masters). This was when we were able to taste the release for the first time; in my opinion it is a beautiful floral blend, with rich fruits, subtle spices and a touch of smoke to emanate the aromatics of the kitchen garden.

Photo courtesy of the Chivas Brothers Ltd

Having been guided through this intricate process we were given a masterclass on the methods of the Kew Palace Blends creation and the oppotunity to try the art of blending for ourselves. So, with the the tables turned, it was our turn to be the focus of these masters attention. With a base of the 28yr old blend to start with, we used extracts of core whisky components to add to our own personal signature in their exquisite bottling. I took inspiration from my evening in the palace gardens; with stronger fruit undertones to represent the warmth of the palaces brickwork, and a touch of smoke inspired by the intricate Jacobean chimneys.

Now with our own personalised bottling in hand we made our way over to one of Kew’s exquisite conservatories. Along its length was an elegantly laid table, where under a row of decorated bowes we supped. The key tasting notes of our personal blends were handed over to Darren McGrady, who then chose our menu choices based on the tasting notes of our signature blends. The meal created for me perfectly complimented my bottling, bringing out the best in Chef McGrady’s ingredients as well as the desird notes in my personal whisky blend.

The Kew Palace Edition – As good as it looks?

This bottling deserves a rightful place amongst Royal Salutes previous releases. Yet again they have brought together two masters in the industry to produce a truely unique blend. This is a delicate, though complex nod to kews entrancing Kitchen gardens. With aromatic notes mixed with freshly picked pears on the nose. Sweet floral notes on the palette and rich fruits, with a hint of smoke on the finish.

All this knowledge and craftmanship is then bottled in one of their icon ceramic bottles. Which when bought is packaged with a matching dark green glazed hipflask. The perfect addition for the whisky lover on the go. This bottling, though aimed at the collector, is a stunning addition to any whisky lovers shelf.

The Old School Vs. The New: The 6 Shave Challenge

As we plough on into the 21st century there has been growing conscientious focus on men’s skincare, as men become more enlightened on what they put their skin through on a daily basis. For the vast majority of men this foray into skincare will be sparked at pubity, as they start having brake outs of acne and their upper lip gets adorned with the first hints of mousy facial hair. With acne we’ll try anything once, slowly going down the skincare aisle at Boots trying to find that “one product” that work for us consistently. When it comes to shaving, however, like many of my peers I was given a shaving kit from my Father; Which normally consists of exactly the same items he has been using all his life, and due to the nature of these things, what his father used as well. That is why I wet shave and don’t use electric shavers, it is also the reason behind my choice of shaving soap and equipment (Razor, shaving brush, etc.).

So when I was approached by Urban Jack to take the 6 shave challenge I was rather hesitant. I was used to my products and my routine with them. But, I was curious. I was using very traditional products from a very established brand, while Urban Jack was offering something completely different. So I accepted and decided to run a comparison experiment over the course of the trial.

Who are the contenders in the war for the toiletries shelf?

Geo. F. Trumper hard shaving soap

Founded in the late 19th century, Trumper has been one of the faces of British mens luxury toiletries brands in London. Going as far as being immortalised in Evelyn Waugh’s, Brideshead Revisited. Their hard shaving soaps have been a constant sight in britsh bathrooms throughout the 20th century and mine since my mid-teens.

Urban Jack Shave Serum

As relatively new guys on the block, Urban Jack has only been operating since last year. I first heard about them through the grape vine – as they are an Oxfordshire based company. After they agreed to sponser a giveaway on my instagram earlier this year, my interest was well and truly peaked. Their Shave serum is a non-soap, and natural oil based product, which comes in a compact packaging (especially when compared to tradional hard shaving soap dishes).

The 6 Shave Challenge

With this challenge I wanted it to be an active comparison between the two products. I decided on the products I would use to prepare and wash my skin before each shave and moisturise afterwards. But during the course of the 6 day/shave challenge I would use both my usual product as well as the challenger at the same time by using the two products on separate half’s of my face.

The shave experience

I used my usual safety razor for the course of this challenge, changing the razor at the half – way mark. After a few shaves I could already tell the difference between the two products. Jack’s Serum allowed the razor to glide effortlessly over my skin, while simultaneously, allowing the razor to give me a closer shave. The traditional hard soap I found was drying out quickly causing the razor to drag leaving me to constantly reapply the soap. Along with this I found that I had to take more passes with the razor to achieve the same close shave as with the serum.

Post-shave

I have sensitive skin to a degree, this was highlighted by this challange as I noticed that during my mornings the side of my face I had been using the traditional soap based product was pink with irritation, whereas, the other side where I had used the serum was unblemished. I also found that the side I had used the shaving soap on was dried-out, even after moisturising, and was prone to drying out later in the day. A problem I did not get with the Urban Jack serum.

Other factors

During the course of the trial I visited family for a few days which highlighted the size of the two products. Trumpers soap bowl, through lovely to behold and made out of turned wood, is large and cumbersome in a Gentleman’s wash bag. Traveling in the 21st century can be spontaneous, and one has to travel light & compact. Something which Urban Jack I believe took into consideration with the design of their packing. The Shave serum is held in a small cylinder, easily squirreled away into a wash bag or pocketed in an overnight bag.

Conclusion

I think that, like many Gentlemen, I fell into the trap of sticking to what I’ve always used when it came to shaving products. Our usual items do the job, but with no active comparisons we brush off any shortcomings of the products mostly as we don’t consider changing our habitual routines. After comparing Urban Jack’s Serum to traditional hard shaving soap, I’m literally kicking myself that I haven’t before taken an active interest in the developments of shaving products and chose to sit on my laurels. Though Trumpers shaving soap is an excellent traditional product, Urban Jack has definitely got a place in my toiletries cabinet from now on. I would also highly recommend that every reader give Urban Jack’s ‘6 shave challenge’ a try.

Harvie & Hudson SS18 Launch – An Explosion of Colour

Last month I was invited down to London to check out Harvie & Hudsons Spring/Summer collection for 2018.

Firstly, Who Is Harvie & Hudson?

H&H is the last solely family-owned and managed shirt maker left of Londons famed street of shirts, Jermyn Street. Though only moving to Jermyn street in the 1960s, H&H has been making the essential partner to the Savile Row suit since 1949. Providing the highest quality bespoke and off the shelf shirts for style Icons from Sir Roger Moore to Frank Sinatra.

The SS18 Collection – Colour is Key

Harvie & Hudson for as long as known then has been king of the uncomplicated use of colour. While other brand on the street go for in your face crazy patterns, strips or dots. Which are hard to pull off for the majority of individuals and harder to mix with ones wardrobe. H&H however has gone for the clean elegance of singular colour.

Pastel colours are key to this collection. The bright, though gentle colours of this collection are the perfect contribution to any gentleman’s wardrobe this season. This colour scheme allows one to mix and match with your essential whites and creams this season brings. This allows the gentleman a clean, timeless look that one can feel comfortable wearing amongst the gardens at the Chelsea Flower Show to the stands at Wimbledon, either this year or in the years to come.

The Event

H&H is a brand I’ve being buying from for years. Though sadly never treating myself to there beautiful collections down the years. But it has always been one of my first ports of call ever since my father took me their store as a young teen. So when Mr. Harvie (jr. jr.) contacted me I leapt at the chance to have a more in-depth look at one of the essential names in British made bespoke clothing and to meet Mr. Richard Harvie in person.

The Launch event was a relaxed affair with refreshments provided by Berry Bros. & Rudd and a stunning centre piece for the event being provide by Norton in the form of a Norton Dominator 961 CC Naked.

A Motorbike, you might exclaim. But this example of fine British engineering is the perfect accessory to pair with H&H’s new collection. The brain child of Mr. Harvie, H&H partnered with Norton for the SS18 Photo shoot. In my opinion the photos produced give off the freedom and breathability that the Italian made linen -used in the collections shirts and blazers- gives you during the summer heat.

Richard is a delightful gentleman and one of the most professional and highly approachable Managing Directors I have ever had the privilege to get to know. Always quick with a joke and a fountain of knowledge when it comes to sartorial insight. He guided me through the collection and went on to show me the hidden world below the store that keeps this traditional but thoroughly modern company running.

After meeting the small but dedicated team I was introduced to the Head Cutter, Kerry Ford. One of old guard, Kerry is myth in his own time. The skill and craftsmanship he puts into each piece is stunning and you can see why clients come from all over the world to get their shirts made by him and his team. Kerry proceeded to take me through what it takes to put together a bespoke shirt. Beginning of course with measuring the client.

You would be amazed by how many factors come into play when being measured for a bespoke shirt, including things like if the customer wears a large watch -which I do- that can interfere with the shirt cuff. Also you can finally find out why your off the peg shirts crease in particular ways.

Which in my case is due to my left shoulder being slightly lower than my right. No stone is left unturned as we went through my shirt preferences, my likes & dislikes and how I normaly wear my shirts. Is was a delight to see Kerry in his element and within no time we had everything needed to create my theoretical shirt. (Videos of this fitting can be found on the H&H instagram Here)

I’d like to finish here by thanking Richard for personally guiding me through the SS18 collection and what Harvie & Hudson stands for. I can hardly recommend H&H enough. Their professionalism and quality is something to rely upon and invest in, especially as the world slowly turns away from throwaway fashion.

The Lost Distillery Company: Resurrecting the past one dram at a time

20170517_190010

Whisky and crafted boutique spirits have seen a resurgence in the last decade. However the distillery industry hasn’t always seen such golden years. A hundred years ago, especially when it came to the Scottish whisky distilleries. Due to a long list of contributing factors including; The Great Depression, World Wars and Prohibition. This has led to nearly half of all recorded distilleries in Scotland being closed or destroyed. All is not lost though as this tragedy is being rectified.

The Lost Distillery Company has stepped forward to resurrect a selection of these lost, but not forgotten, blends. This ment, when I learnt my local Whisky Shop was hosting a tasting night with the brand ambassador. I couldn’t say no.

20170517_191351

Presented by Hendo Henderson (@Whiskyhendo on Instagram), Global brand ambassador for The Lost Distillery Company. We were guided through the Whisky Shops selection of The Lost Distilleries Classic selection. Starting from their lightest to their more robust offerings.

20170517_192317

We started with ‘Auchnagie’. The original distillery was based in Tulliemet, Perthshire and closed its doors in 1911 after 99 years in operation. With light floral notes, this whisky would serve as an excellent aperitif.

20170517_190030

Next we tried ‘Jericho’. The original origin of which is in Nether Jericho, Aberdeenshire (and sadly not Jericho, Oxford). Closed for over a century after the distilleries isolated location left it unable to compete. This one was my personal favourite as it is matured in sherry barrels, leaving it a beautiful dark colour with sweet fruit cake notes and spiced undertones.

20170517_190040

 This is when Hendo introduced a new dynamic to the tasting. Bringing out blindfolds he began letting us taste the whiskys with one of our key senses removed. I have to say it did make a difference, especially with the Jericho. The Jericho’s sweeter notes took a back seat to its woody and spice elements.

20170517_190050

Gerston. The original Distillery going into closure when its water supply failed. Its reincarnation is an excellent whisky, which is accidentally on trend with the confectionery industries obsession with salted caramel. This balanced whisky is an excellent all rounder, a balanced smokey sweetness. This is when we added another aspect to the tasting. Hendo passed out swatches of silk and sandpaper. The idea behind this was to feel the texture of the material while sampling the whisky. Again this was experiment with impact of the senses. This time being the interaction of the senses with each other while occupied with different tasks. Amongst all the whiskys I tasted while trying this experiment only the sandpaper had a mild effect. Where it took the edge of some of the harsher aspects while I rubbed it between my fingers.

20170517_190101

Another excellent whisky in the line up. Again its original lost when the Campbeltown whisky trade collapsed. The Dalaruan had an interesting savoury element I’m not used to in my normal choice of whisky. Hendo mentioned that this whiskys notes of smoked meat and dried fruit would pair marvellously with charcuterie and other cured meats.

20170517_190110

Finally there was only one left in the whisky shops new selection from the Lost Distillery. The Lossit. The most robust offering from Lost Distillery. This whisky was probably my second favourite in the line up. Based upon the lost releases the Lossit Distillery who closed its doors for the last time in 1867. Another distillery lost due to its isolated location. Its smoked almond tones lending its self as an excellent complement to an excellent dessert or to be used in the dessert itself.

20170517_185959

In the end these award winning whiskys are an excellent addition to the wide world of whiskys. The work of their archivist Professor Michael Moss from The University of Glasgow and his ongoing work trawling through the achieves. Has turned up the forgotten greats of the golden age of whisky distilling. Hopefully they will discover some more and Hendo will be there again to introduce the public to them with the same idea capturing enthusiasm as before.