Enthusiast Report Issue 1-1001

Page 124



50 Cent of 2022


Lincoln Salazar

Vice President

Breahna Heimstra


Kara Ellis

Art Director

Arturo Jimenez

Co-Publisher Executive Editor

Christopher Goldsholl

Senior Editor

Heather McCabe

Digital Media Director

Brian Meikle

Business Advisory

Al Kau

Account Executive

Rick Soto

Senior Editor

Benjamin M. Ellis

Chief Administrative Officer

Donovan Norfleet


Mark Connoly

Editorial Contributors

Emma Ungaro

Digital Consultant

Miyuri Norris

Editorial Assistant

Lindsey Turnbull


Wellman & Warren

Jared Paul Stern – Elisa Jordan – Sean Chaffin – Tim Cotroneo – Charlon Muscat – Rachael Hogg – Matt Booth

Photography Contributors

Eric Michael Roy – Billie the Kid

Editorial, Production and Sales Office

Headquartered at: 72 Argonaut, Ste 130, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656 enthusiastreport.com/subscribe


Enthusiast Report Magazine cannot accept responsibility for unsolicited submissions, manuscripts and photographs. While every care is taken, prices and details are subject to change and Enthusiast Report Magazine takes no responsibility for omissions or errors. All rights reserved. WWW.ENTHUSIASTREPORT.COM @ ENTHUSIASTREPORT A LINCOLN BLAKE SALAZAR PUBLICATION
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You must push forward.

Some of you may know me as the CEO/Publisher of Cigar & Spirits Magazine for the past 13 years, and others of you may know me as the founder of Cigar and Spirits Magazine. Some of you may be a friend, a family member, or colleague. However you may know of me, I cannot say anything more then that I humbly thank you. You have heard me write about being a man of chivalry, discussing loyalty, respect, comradery, chasing your dreams, family, friendship and most all, love to your fellow man and woman. Just as in books as in life there are always new chapters whether you want them or not. Sometimes for the good, sometimes for the bad - something only time will tell. I have made a promise to myself in life that no matter what happens, good or bad, I will always, always push forward. You must never stop motion. There is a saying that if you live in the past, you’re depressed. And if you live in the future, you’re anxious. But if you live in the present, you’re at peace. You must learn from the past, plan for the future and live for today. You cannot change the past, but you can push forward towards the future.

I’d like to welcome you to the future. I have been blessed to have the founding team that helped me build Cigar & Spirits Magazine over the last decade come over to my newest venture that sits in your hands today - Enthusiast Report. Enthusiast Report is not just a publication, but a lifestyle. In Enthusiast Report, we feature a modern, broader vision of luxury and lifestyle, a comradery that we all share as Enthusiasts of the finer things in life. Rather it be wine, spirits, cigars, cars, travel, fashion, watches, or galas, Enthusiast Report is the standard for the best luxury and lifestyle products in the world. These accolades are not just based on price tag – they’re based on true quality at all levels. We would like to welcome you to join us in this journey each issue as we share a guide to luxury, and each issue, a collector’s edition of the best that life has to offer.

I’d like to dedicate Enthusiast Report to my long-time best friend, colleague, most loyal companion and family for life, Breahna Wheeler. Without her, nothing would have been possible. I humbly thank Breahna for changing my life and being each other’s biggest fan. I would not and could not have accomplished anything without your loyalty and trust. I’d also like to dedicate this issue to the people who have supported me through this time and even some that pushed me to uncomfortable limits to continue to always push forward.

My father Jimmy Salazar, mother Lisa Turnbull, my family, Rick Soto, my wife Hannah, Al Kau, Merl Hill, Don Wetherall, Mark Harris, Miyuri Norris, Liana Fuente, Arthur, the Nolet Family, Les shelly, Eric Martinez, Carl Nolet III, Jackson Fuller and Family, Brett Heimstra, Ed Baldus, Danny Ditkowich, Steve Henrickson, Curtis Jackson, Mario Lopez, Ian Somerhalder, Amanda Russi, Steve and Luis, Christopher Goldsholl, and of course my amazing new team members Kara Ellis and Arturo Jimenez. Without out all your support, belief, love and loyalty none of this would have been possible.

I’d also like to dedicate this issue to Mr. MD. - thank you for your years of friendship and mentorship teaching me the wrongs and the rights but most of all teaching me to be a boxer and to stand on my own two feet. Even through adversity you cannot keep a good man down. Thank all of you may God bless our team our readers and may we change the world for the better, one issue at a time. Cheers.

Lincoln Salazar

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Top 25 Cigars of 2022

Hate It or Love It: A Conversation with 50 Cent

Five Vintage Watches to Inspire your Own Collection

Tailor Made: Scotland’s Oldest Suit Maker

Inn Style: Cape Cod Landmark Chatham Bars Inn

What’s It Like to Drive a $1.2m 1952 Bentley R-Type Continental?

Pop Culture: The Unstoppable Rise of English Sparkling Wine

12 46 62 72 58 66 80 38

Driving Force: The 10 best luxury SUVs on the market

Smoking Gun: A Conversation with Matt Booth of Room101

Mario Andretti: A Passion for Life, Cars, and Wine

In His Honor: Don Doroteo Cigars a Legacy Crafted with Passion

Par for the Course: The Caribbean’s Five Best Golf Islands

Big Laughs: A Conversation with Donnell Rawlings


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Enthusiast Guide to Malta's Best Hidden Beaches

Available in Connecticut and Maduro

Robusto | Toro | Churchill | Belicoso



Drop-Tops for Spring Cruising

There is simply no finer feeling than taking that first top-down cruise on the day when the weather finally turns the corner and we exchange heated seats for abundant spring sunshine. Those who don’t already own convertibles start feverishly searching the web and/or Road & Track, while calculating how much they can possibly afford to spend on a new car. Suddenly taking out a second mortgage looks extremely tempting, interest rates be damned. And there are some devilishly good reasons for doing so, thanks to the very best British and Italian marques who understand that while man’s need for open-air driving may be atavistic, it sure as hell doesn’t hurt to have 600-plus horses and a race-bred powerplant. So here are our picks for this season’s five wickedest whips, from understated and elegant to “where are my heart meds?” — plus a few in between.

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When Maserati first debuted its new MC20 supercar in 2020, we started counting the days until the legendary trident-badged marque debuted a drop-top (or “spyder” in Italian sports-car speak) version. Finally in late 2022 they unveiled the MC20 Cielo — that’s Italian for “sky” — declaring the new convertible would be characterized by an incomparable “Sky Feeling.” The MC, you might recall, stands for Maserati Corse (“racing”), so this is a vehicle dually devoted to “driving pleasure in the great outdoors” and “all the prerogatives of a true supercar.” One hundred percent made in Italy, it was developed at the Maserati Innovation Lab in Modena and produced at their historic factory on Viale Ciro Menotti, linking the Cielo’s state-of-the-art styling and engineering to Maserati’s deeply


impressive heritage and competition pedigree. With 621 hp courtesy of its 3.0L, Twin-Turbo V6 “Nettuno” engine, the MC20 Cielo rockets from 0 to 62 mph in just under 3 seconds and tops out at nearly 200 mph. No wonder British GQ has dubbed it “the thinking person’s mid-engined, drop-top supercar…more likely to be driven in circles around [London’s] Royal Opera House” than buzzed along in some less cerebral locale. However, we think a car as perfectly balanced as this — for an Italian exotic, it manages to command attention without screaming “Look at me!” — with its unmistakable Maserati styling and smoothly powerful core, can be driven anywhere you damn well please, with the maximum of pleasure to be derived from the experience.

If you’ve ever looked at a Ferrari and thought “Nice, but a bit tame,” odds are good the object of your lust has a raging bull on it in place of a prancing horse. Lamborghini has carved out quite a niche for itself by dialing up the classic Italian combo of eye-popping performance with aggressive styling, with the key difference that any idea of restraint has been chucked out the window. This has not only made its mouthwatering models popular with the roaringdown-Collins-Avenue crowd, but also with those who like to whip their rides around the track on the weekend. And Lamborghini has answered their prayers with the ultimate drop-top for just such a requirement: the Huracán EVO (for evolution) Spyder. Its 640 hp may be less than that of the 296 GTS, but thanks to its naturally aspirated 5.2-liter V10, this beauty “roars with authority as the


exhaust announces the presence of a formidable machine,” whereas the Ferrari emits more of a throaty growl. The EVO Spyder is nearly as fast, as well, with a 0 to 62 mph clock of 3.1 seconds and a top speed of 202 mph. “The Huracán EVO Spyder incorporates all the performance, next-generation vehicle control and aerodynamic features of the EVO coupé, with its own unique personality and a driving excitement that only an open-top car can offer,” as Stefano Domenicali, the dashing chairman and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini, puts it. “The Spyder continues the Huracán EVO’s evolutionary charge: extremely easy to drive while excelling as a highly responsive, fun super-sports car…. [Its] design, performance and exhilarating open-air drive experience are literally breathtaking.”

Maserati MC20 Cielo
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Lamborghini Huracán EVO Spyder

While Maserati certainly more than holds its own in the supercar sphere, there will always be those purists among us for whom it remains a “baby Ferrari” — and for these men of means, only the real thing will do. Nor does the marque ever fail to deliver a pulse-racing new droptop for its Ferraristi to salivate over; there’s a reason the waiting list to buy any new Prancing Horse typically runs close to a couple of years. This season the object of obsession is the 296 GTS, proffered as the “evolution of Ferrari’s mid-rear-engined two-seater ‘berlinetta spider’ concept,” and powered by a new 120° V6 engine coupled with a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) electric motor. That makes it the most powerful ride on this list, with a whopping 818 horsepower, kicking it from 0 to 62 mph in 2.9 seconds with a top speed of 205 mph. EVO magazine calls it “compact, pure and almost classically styled,” noting that while it is “wildly potent,” it’s also a rare Ferrari that “seems to want its driver to enjoy peace, to take in the sights and sounds” sans the roar of the largercylindered engines the Maranello-based marque built its reputation on. Now that Ferrari has declared this to be “the age of the V6,” the 296 GTS is leading the charge as a “peerlessly elegant epitome of the openair hybrid concept [with] unprecedented architecture for a spider,” the brand says. Lighter, faster, more nimble — and, dare we say, a little more laid-back? This is certainly a Ferrari for a new era.


Now on to the Brits. Keep the noise down a bit, please. There’s a reason they call them “secret” agents. That’s more like it. The Aston Martin DBS Volante, is, of course, the kind of car James Bond would drive. And 007 would especially chomp at the bit to get his hands on the just-announced open-top edition of the new DBS 770 Ultimate, the “final celebration of the DBS nameplate and the most powerful DBS to date.” The Volante version, limited to just 199 examples worldwide, will of course lay claim to nearly 800 hp as its name suggests, though few details had been released as of press time. The car is expected to be powered by an amped-up version of the standard DBS’s 5.2-liter twin-turbo V-12, which is of course nothing to sneeze at, boasting even more cylinders than the Huracán EVO Spyder — and, therefore, in point of fact, perhaps even a bit too vocal for the likes of MI6, unless you soft-pedal it. Aston Martin’s styling, however, is much more at home in civilized surroundings; one can’t really imagine pulling up to Blades, the semi-fictional London gentleman’s club in St. James, for a confab with M at the wheel of a Lamborghini. Until and unless you can get your gloves on one of the 770 Ultimate cars, we’d wager that the “stock” DBS Volante is more than adequate for the average millionaire, whether British or not.


Ferrari 296 GTS
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Aston Martin DBS 770 Ultimate Volante

Morgan Plus Four

When it comes to quintessential British sports cars, none are more retro-exclusive and elegantly evocative of the grand old days than those of the Morgan Motor Company. It was, after all, the very first car purchased by the ultimate Anglophile, Ralph Lauren, when he first became a success; and, even more tellingly, he still owns it today. Morgans, while continuing to be built mainly from a combination of ashwood, aluminum, and leather, are nonetheless representative of the very latest in engineering and a hell of a lot of fun to drive — while offering a more exclusive-seeming and much more gentlemanly experience at a fraction of the price of the other cars on this list, amongst which it can doubtlessly hold its own. Do not expect the Plus Four — the follow-up to the Plus Six Morgan launched in 2019, though all but indistinguishable from Ralph’s ride of 50 years ago — to keep


pace with an Italian supercar. Its BMW-sourced 2.0-liter TwinPower Turbo inline four-cylinder engine delivers a relatively modest 251 hp and a top speed of 149 mph, but that’s hardly the point of a Morgan. It simply exudes exponentially more class, out of all proportion to its price tag. For a hand-built British motorcar that wouldn’t look out of place in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace, it nonetheless can emit a serious growl when the pedal is pressed with extra verve. When our friend Duncan Quinn drove one around London’s Mayfair recently, people popped their heads out of shops and restaurants all down the street to see what looked to stately yet sounded so menacing when provoked. The sheep’s clothing in this case is impeccably tailored by Savile Row.

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Men’s Spring Style Investment Pieces

Warmer weather signals the start of new beginnings: a time for growth, change, and the perfect opportunity to refresh your style. Whether your goal is total reinvention or a simple upgrade to familiar favorites, we’ve searched high and low for your must-have pieces for the new season. Timeless, chic, and effortlessly cool, these five elevated essentials will last for years to come.

Capri Cashmere Crew

The ultimate cashmere knit, this ribbed charcoal crewneck sweater is the perfect layering piece for the shifting seasons. Pair with simple trousers or layer under a light jacket for understated sophistication.

$798, johnelliott.com

Common Projects Original Achilles Leather Sneaker

An updated classic: The sleek, streamlined design of these sneakers elevates any casual look. Versatile and durable, the dark gray colorway is as refreshing as it is chic.

$445, mrporter.com

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Mr. P.

Suede Bomber Jacket

A modern twist on a time-honored favorite, this suede bomber is the perfect transitional piece for the spring season. Sophisticated and sharp, the classic shape and rich navy color deliver a jacket that will take you from day to night effortlessly.

$960, mrporter.com

Tom Ford

Ebony Leather-Trimmed

Suede Holdall

Enhance your weekends with this leather-trimmed duffel, a stylish meld of function and form. You’ll love its chocolate brown suede, gold hardware, and comfortable leather strap. Travel has never looked so good.

$3,890 tomford.com

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Men’s Spring Fragrances

Gearing up for that gambling trip to Monte Carlo or Las Vegas? Perhaps business calls for some time in the Big Apple or London? Or maybe just a night out is in order for some surf and turf, a couple craft beers, and some interesting conversation with friends? Feeling your best and making a good impression is always important, and a nice scent can go a long way in ensuring that happens. It also goes a long way in the sense that it will leave you odorously awesome all day long. Whether you’re looking for subtle tones, brisk aromatic vibes, or plenty of masculinity, these colognes and fragrances will have you feeling amazing and have others taking notice.

This is a warm, masculine fragrance with staying power to keep you smelling fresh the whole day. It’s a wonderful smell perfect for men, with notes of violet leaf, black leather, and cedarwood. Ford himself says the scent connects him to the American West — a perfect testament to this subtle blend with a bit of machismo. Feel like you’ve stepped onto the Yellowstone ranch with this one.


Channel your inner Poseidon, Captain Nemo, or maybe even Aquaman with this seafaring fragrance. This mild scent offers a spirit of adventure. Marked by bergamot (a citrus fruit native to Italy), lemon, and blackcurrant along with hints of peach and apricot, this is a moderate yet pleasing scent. Whether you’re out on the yacht or simply relaxing, Atlantis will always have wearers ready for that next excursion.


Ombré Leather Eau de Parfum by ($65 to $230)
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Atlantis by Blu Atlas ($50 to $100)

REPLICA At The Barber's by Maison

There’s not much better than a trip to the barber for many men, and this fragrance will have you smelling fresh and wonderful the entire day. There may not be barber stripes in your bathroom, but Replica offers an ambiance as if you’ve just had a fresh cut and shave. The cologne offers a nice mixture of basil, bitter orange, and black pepper initially, with elements of lavender, rosemary, white musk, leather, and more thrown in. A fresh scent can go a long way.


This classic brings a sunny sense of vibrancy. Hints of lemon, bergamot, and orange bring this sparkling fragrance to life. Added rosemary along with woody notes of vetiver, sandalwood, and patchouli add to the experience. Originally developed in 1916, Acqua di Parma has pleased generations of men. But some things defy time — and that’s certainly the case with this cologne.


This fragrance is geared toward book lovers, apparently (bibliothèque means “library” in French, after all), and the manly smell may have you ready to battle buccaneers from Treasure Island, solve a case like Sherlock Holmes, or perhaps dream up or live out your own swashbuckling tale. Expect a fruity vibrancy of peach and plum with extras like peony and violet balancing out patchouli, leather, and vanilla. A single spray should suffice for a scent harkening to leather-bound pages where plenty of fun and adventure await.

Martin Margiela ($144) Acqua di Parma Colonia by Essenza ($75 to $222)
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Bibliothèque by Byredo ($200)

Vegas Cigar Lounges

Whatever your personal tastes, a night with some nice drinks and a finely crafted stogie adds to a trip to Sin City. When you’re looking for somewhere to have a great cigar, spirit, or share in the camaraderie of great company, here are our top 5 cigar lounges to try when in Las Vegas.

Eight Lounge LV (Resorts World) 1

3000 South Las Vegas Boulevard

Take a break from the tables and head to this great lounge located right in the Resorts World casino. Whether puffing one of the 150 premium cigars tucked away in the customcrafted humidor or sipping a delectable cocktail, a visit won’t disappoint. The action heats up on Sundays during football season. Make a wager at the sportsbook and then check out all the NFL action – hopefully cashing in on a winner and celebrating with a fine cigar.

Along with a wide selection of smokes, Eight features an energetic and cool ambiance. Whether just on a getaway with friends or meeting up with business associates, this lounge offers a chance at some smoking in style. A nice glass of wine, perfectly aged bourbon, or a great mixed drink can only add to the experience. Whether those dice have been going your way or your blackjack session finished up with a tidy profit, it’s always a win when heading to Eight.

THE TOP 5 Spotlight on Las Vegas
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Casa Fuente 2

3500 Las Vegas Boulevard South

Smoke in style at this lounge on the Vegas Strip. Everything about Caesars stands out, and that goes too for this great stop located among the high-end Forum Shops at the famed casino. Fans of Fuente smokes will be especially impressed. Live like a Roman emperor as you select a stick from the huge humidor that awaits, complete with rare offerings and a wide range of Opus X smokes.

Grab a bar seat or a table with friends as you enjoy a drink and discuss the day’s wins and losses. Better yet, take a seat on the patio and enjoy some puffing outdoors (although the summer’s tripledigit heat may be best avoided). Great vibes, excellent cigars, and great service: The Casa keeps it cool and is a favorite among Vegas travelers — win or lose.

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Montecristo Cigar Bar (Caesars Palace) 3

3570 South Las Vegas Blvd

Live like a Roman god with a trip to this cigar lounge located in Caesars Palace. The property has set the standard for high-end resorts since debuting on the Vegas Strip in 1966. That level of excellence now extends to this wonderful cigar-smoking experience. The legendary cigar maker offers visitors a 400-square foot climate-controlled humidor with up to 1,000 cigars. The venue also boasts a state-of-the-art ventilation system and a stately decor.

Grab a smoke and then order up a favorite cocktail. There’s also a private dining room for sharing a special experience with friends. Or even better, grab a nice meal at the nearby Nobu and then cap the night with some aromatic tobacco and some excellent conversation. The possibilities are endless and this stop should make for a perfect addition for any Sin City getaway. Even Julius Caesar himself would probably appreciate a few hours at Montecristo. Light up and enjoy!

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Davidoff of Geneva Cigar Bar

3200 South Las Vegas Boulevard, #1245

This is a Davidoff delight and situated inside the Fashion Show Mall. After some shopping, relax with nice adult beverages and a premium cigar. The staff is always eager to help newbies select just the right cigar that fits their own palate. Grab a chair at the bar to check out some sports action.

The outdoor area offers a great place to congregate and chat with friends as you check out the hustle and bustle of the Strip. It’s a tropical atmosphere with palm trees and a brilliant view of the fabulous Wynn across the street. Feeling lucky? This lounge may be located in a mall, but slot machines are only a short walk away.

1606 South Commerce Street

Head west of the Strip for this great smoke shop that earns rave reviews among Sin City locals. The name says it all for this upscale smoking paradise. From fine leather chairs to an extensive humidor to live music, this club will have you coming back for more. Owners hoped to make a cigar-smoking “home away from home” and have certainly accomplished that.

Grab a nice Cohiba and your favorite beer, wine, or cocktail. Self-service adds to the social club atmosphere, and you’ll feel like you’re among friends. Nice live music adds to the fun, and thoughts of slot machines and blackjack tables may fade away like that perfect, yet fleeting, smoke ring.

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TOP 13

Vodka & Gins Gins

Gin has seemingly been the world’s drink of choice for the past several years, with hundreds — even thousands — of distilleries opening their doors around the world. If you can think of a botanical, or a flavor combination, someone, somewhere has probably made a gin using it. There’s been everything from Brussels sprouts gin to beef gin, and from oyster gin to elephant dung gin. Different rules and regulations dictate what the spirit is and how it has to be made. For example, in the EU, gin must be at least 37.5% ABV, whereas in the U.S., it must be at least 40% (80 proof). But everyone agrees the predominant flavor should be juniper berries.

With so many different styles — from the classic London Dry to Old Tom, Genever, Plymouth, Navy Strength, Aged, and New Western — there’s a lot of leeway as to what gin is and how it should taste, with some heavily flavored varieties more like a flavored vodka than anything else.

And with so many different choices — there are now around 6,000 distilleries — choosing which gin to try next, or which bottle you need to add to your home bar, can be an incredibly difficult decision. We’ve done the hard work for you and picked five of the best options out there. We’ve focused on the classic styles of gin, which are juniper dominant and will be perfect for your G&T, Tom Collins, or classic dry martini.

47 Schwarzwald Dry Gin

With 47 botanicals (as you may have guessed from the name), and bottled at 47% ABV, Monkey 47 gin is impressively complex. You might wonder whether 47 botanicals is overkill, but every time you return to this fabulous gin, you’ll discover a new flavor note or aroma that you’re noticing for the first time. From the Black Forest (Schwarzwald) in Germany, the “monkey” part of the name apparently refers to a British Air Force Commander who helped to rebuild Berlin Zoo after the war. He sponsored an egret monkey — the one that’s on the label — and further down the line eventually opened a guesthouse called the Wild Monkey, where he served his own gin. Alex Stein, Monkey 47 gin founder, was inspired by this story to create his own gin. He discovered records of the original recipe — which includes spruce shoots and lingonberries — and created Monkey 47.

This is an exciting gin to get into, with so much happening on the nose. There’s everything from pine to a subtle sweetness, plus citrus, grassy and vegetal notes, and wet wood. On the palate it’s quite punchy, with a herbaceousness, spicy hints, fresh citrus zest, and forest floor. The finish just keeps on going. Enjoy it neat.

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NOLET’S Silver Gin

After more than 300 years in the business, NOLET’S knows how to make gin. Eleventh generation sons, Carl Jr. and Bob, collaborated with their father, Carolus Sr. (who has been chairman since 1979) to create this thoroughly modern gin launched in 2010, which is particularly exciting coming from a distillery with so much history. Before you get to the liquid, the stunning and regal bottle reflects the quality of the gin. The Nolet distilling family and ancestors are listed on the sides with an embossed family crest. The colour – darkest green, almost black in some lights – is understated, yet classy. Unscrew the cap and you find yourself holding a weighty, polished steel object that feels luxurious. Although the traditional botanicals like juniper, citrus, orris root, and liquorice feature, interestingly, NOLET’S Silver gin also contains white peach, Turkish rose and raspberry. Each botanical is independently macerated and distilled in copper pot stills, before being blended with the base gin and bottled at a relatively punchy 47.6% ABV. Enjoy as a gin and soda, or use in a sweet and sour Bees Knees or classic French 75 cocktail.

This is an incredibly interesting contemporary and floral gin. On the nose, you’ll find some herbal, fruity aromas interplaying with rose petal and lavender. Take a sip and it’s like delving into a pile of Turkish delight, with a crack of black pepper and that piney juniper flavour never going away. The finish is stunningly complex, with an intriguing mix of the spicy, fruity, floral, juniper flavours all pleasantly mingling with each other.

Room101 Gin

You might not think that a small-batch gin seems like a natural progression from edgy jewelry and boutique cigars, but that’s exactly what designer, artist and veteran Room101 owner Matt Booth decided. The perfect pairing to one of Room101’s Honduran cigars, sip the gin neat, make a punchy, citrus-forward Martini or stir it down into an aromatic Negroni. Made in Seattle from a base spirit crafted with winter wheat, botanicals including juniper, California orange, lime and lemon peel, sage, coriander, star anise, lavender, lemongrass, cardamom, Jamaican pimenta and Japanese cherry blossom are carefully steeped in the still.

The result is a complex, citrus-forward gin. On the nose, you get bursts of citrus along with coriander and juniper. Citrus and juniper take center stage on the palate, with the herbs and spices of sage, star anise and cardamom very much present too. Towards the end you get the lovely floral cherry blossom, before a long, aromatic finish.

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Bobby’s Schiedam Dry Gin

The recipe for this Dutch gin was based on a jenever (a botanical spirit that’s considered to be a predecessor of gin). But Bobby’s has its own jenever, as well, which has a base of malt wine and is flavored with juniper, cubeb pepper, lemongrass and cardamom. Both bottles are modeled on the classic Dutch kruik serving vessel but with a modern twist and decorated with a traditional Indonesian ikat pattern. The gin and jenever are named after the two founders’ grandfather, Bobby Alfons, who emigrated from Indonesia to Holland in the 1950s. He missed the taste of his homeland and started infusing Dutch jenever with Indonesian spices.

Eight botanicals — lemongrass, cloves, coriander, cubeb pepper, cinnamon, juniper, fennel seeds, and rose hips — are distilled on their own before being blended together to create the masterful East-meetsWest Bobby’s Schiedam Dry Gin. On the nose, Bobby’s is floral and zesty, with hints of lemongrass, lemon zest, and a little peppery spice. On the palate, it’s still floral, with a bold, fragrant spice thanks to the pepper, clove, and coriander. The Christmassy spice remains on the finish, which is long and smooth. Enjoy it in a very interesting Negroni.

Boatyard Double Gin

Boatyard founder Joe McGirr opened his distillery in Fermanagh in Northern Ireland in 2016. It was the first legal one in the area for the first time in well over 100 years. He took over the disused boatyard on the banks of Lough Erne and transformed it; it has stunning views and makes stunning gin. With a rich farming history in the family, McGirr was keen that his distillery should be a farm-to-bottle operation. To make the gin, organically produced wheat spirit is macerated with eight botanicals — sweet gale (also known as bog myrtle), organic Bulgarian juniper, lemon peel, grains of paradise, coriander, orris, angelica, and licorice — for 18 hours. After the maceration, pure water brings the gin down to 46% ABV. It’s then left for a minimum of two weeks before it’s hand bottled and labeled.

The “double” in the gin’s name is a reference to the distillation process, which places the all-important juniper at the start and end of the process. At first it rests in the wheat spirit with the other botanicals, and the final spirit flows through juniper at the end of the process in a vapor chamber. It’s called dubbel gebeide genever and gives the gin a more pronounced juniper flavor.

The nose packs all that fabulous pine forest juniper, but there’s also some herbaceousness, a hint of spice, and a little citrus. You really do get the juniper on the palate too, but with even more citrus. Despite the relatively high ABV, the gin remains smooth. It also makes a really astounding gin and tonic.

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No.3 London Dry Gin

No.3 gin is made by the team at Berry Bros. and Rudd (the UK’s oldest wine and spirit merchant), with the name referring to the company’s address: Number 3, St. James’ Street, where it’s been since 1698. Every detail of the stunning bottle has been thought through, with the hexagonal shape reflecting the six botanicals in the gin: juniper, coriander, angelica root, cardamom, grapefruit peel, and sweet orange peel. And the inspiration behind the key on the bottle came from when the packaging designers were having a look around the BBR shop and discovered a key to the Parlour, which is one of the building’s oldest rooms. The initial gin recipe took 730 days to create and refine, but the perseverance was truly worth it.

This exquisite gin has bags of fresh juniper on the nose, with a zesty gathering of grapefruit and orange. On the palate the juniper and grapefruit stay close like an old friend, with the spicier notes of pepper and warming cardamom kicking in. The finish is long and peppery. It’s delicious as a gin and tonic garnished with rosemary and a slice of grapefruit.

Hernö Gin

A London Dry style gin hailing from the east coast of Sweden, Hernö is a multiple-awardwinning spirit you’ll love. Perfect whether neat, in a gin and tonic, or in an Aviation cocktail (gin, maraschino liqueur, crème de violette liqueur, and lemon juice), it’s made using eight botanicals: juniper, coriander, lemon peel, black pepper, lingonberries, cassia bark, meadowsweet, and vanilla. With a homemade wheat spirit as the base, the botanicals are steeped for 18 hours before distilling in Kierstin, the 250-liter copper still. Each bottle is hand labeled.

As soon as you open the bottle, you’ll find yourself in the middle of a Swedish pine forest, with a little sweet juniper coming through too. On the palate, the vanilla creaminess is there in the background, but the herbaceous and citrus notes take center stage, before a long smooth and fruity finish.

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Vodka has always been there: reliable, timeless, giving cocktails their backbone and depth without overpowering on flavor. However, for the last few years, vodka has been firmly behind gin in the popularity stakes. But all that looks set to change, with the gin market plateauing and vodka on the rise once again. Historically, the quality might not have always been there, but there are lots of brands now creating impressive products that deliver on texture and flavor.

When it comes to spirits, some people assume, the more money you spend, the better the liquid. However, that simply isn’t true. There have been some seriously luxury offerings over the years, but they mostly rely on flashy extras to justify the cost. Billionaire Vodka, for instance — yours for $3.75m — is triple distilled and filtered through ice, Nordic

birch charcoal, and crushed diamonds and gems before being decanted into a platinum-and-rhodiumencased diamond-encrusted bottle with solid gold labels and a neckband with more diamonds.

Royal Dragon Vodka went one further with its oneoff Eye of the Dragon. Valued at an astonishing $5.5m, the six-liter handblown bottle is encased in 2kg of 18K gold, with 15,000 diamonds — around 620 carats — encrusted on the bottle. The real star of the show, however, is the 50-carat round yellow diamond on the bottle, which is worth more than $4.6m alone.

If you like a little history with your vodka, RussoBaltique’s vodka may appeal. The flask is made with gold coins from the Russian Empire dating from 1908 through 1912 and is designed to be a replica of the radiator guard used for Russo-Balt cars. The cap

is diamond encrusted, and the whole lot is placed in a glass cube made of bulletproof glass. After you’ve paid $1.3m for the privilege, we’re not sure you’ll be testing out the bulletproof credentials, though.

If, however, you’re looking for a great-tasting vodka you can enjoy neat, in a martini (stirred, not shaken, please), or in your favorite cocktail, look no further than this list of five of the best vodkas you can buy. The taste profile of a great vodka should be neutral, but once you’ve tasted lots, you’ll be able to distinguish flavors, nuances, textures, and characters among different products. As vodka can be made from many different things — from grains to fruits and vegetables — the subtle flavor notes can reflect that.

32 – ISSUE 1

Ketel One Vodka

This storied and characterful vodka has an interesting history in the Netherlands. The Nolet distillery started out producing a Dutch genever in the 17th century. But it wasn’t until 1983 that Ketel One vodka was born, after owner Carolus Nolet had discovered the unquenchable thirst for the spirit in the U.S. The vast majority of vodkas are solely distilled in a column still, but Ketel One interestingly employs pot still finishing. This is a process where a spirit made in a column still is redistilled in a series of pot stills, including Nolet’s original 19th century coal-fired copper pot still. Once the hearts have been collected from the pot stills, they’re individually filtered and blended together. Redistilling a high ABV spirit in a copper

Belvedere Smogóry Forest Rye and Lake Bartężek Vodkas

Tasted side by side, these were the first spirits that made us consider ordering a vodka martini rather than a gin one. Released as the Belvedere Single Estate series, both fabulous spirits showcase the unique terroir. Some people might wonder whether you can have terroir in a vodka, but when you taste these side by side, you’ll realize you absolutely can. Both are made with the rare Diamond Dankowskie rye. The Smogóry Forest rye is grown in Smogóry, a tiny village in rural western Poland surrounded by huge forests, and the Lake Bartężek rye is grown on a single estate located on the shore in Poland’s Masurian Lake District.

Smogóry Forest is the bolder of the two, with intense savory notes. The nose is like enjoying a caramel pastry at the beach. On the palate, while still neutral, the flavor is rich with a little honeyed cereal. It feels quite thick in the mouth before leading to a long finish with toasted brioche. Lake Bartężek is lighter and brighter, with a grassiness and nuttiness on the nose. It’s delicate, with a fresh biscuity note. The finish is crisp, a little shorter, and exceptionally clean.

pot gives it a smoother, softer texture, and imparts it with fruity esters. However, as vodkas should be neutral, only a small amount of the distillate from the pot still is blended into the final spirit to keep that clean, refreshing character.

On the nose, you’ll find wafts of the sweet wheat it’s made from and a subtle herbaceous note. Take a sip and you’ll find a really interesting mouthfeel: it’s soft, smooth, and round, filling your palate more than other neutral spirits. The slight sweetness lingers on the palate before being joined by a crack of pepperiness which leads to a super dry finish.

ISSUE 1 – 33

Mermaid Salt Vodka

Grain distilled, with a little pinch of Wight Salt rock sea salt, Mermaid Salt Vodka is crafted on the Isle of Wight in the English Channel. The salt is harvested naturally and collected in a solar still, which uses the sun’s energy and a simple process to draw the salt from the seawater. The vodka is handcrafted in the Isle of Wight Distillery’s column still before being blended with local spring water in small batches. B Corp certified, Isle of Wight Distillery is committed to sustainability. Its products are made with ethically sourced ingredients, and the stunning bottle is made with 100% natural materials, with no plastic. Looking that good, you could always reuse it as well.

It’s a contemporary-style vodka that’s incredibly smooth and subtle. It’s lovely neat, in a dirty martini (we keep a bottle in the freezer at all times), or in a punchy espresso martini. On the nose, you get a delightful whiff of sea air that transports you to the isle’s rugged coastline. On the palate, you can taste the savory salinity, but it never overpowers or overwhelms the clean, crisp vodka. The finish is long and clean, too.

Black Cow Vodka

Perhaps you’d consider it a little unusual, but Black Cow vodka is made from milk. Since 2012, it’s been made in West Dorset in England using leftover milk from the cheesemaking process. Jason Barber, the dairy farmer responsible for this innovative spirit, designed it to be as sustainable as possible. Producing spirits from waste whey apparently uses less water than grain-based spirit production, and it helps to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and the environmental impact from the cheesemaking industry. The 250 dairy cows on Barber’s farm graze on nearby fields, and the vodka is distilled and bottled by hand. The result is an incredibly interesting, smooth and creamy vodka that’s absolutely perfect to sip neat or add to a Bloody Mary.

On the nose, you’ll find notes of vanilla, coconut, panna cotta, lemon tart, and a little spice. On the palate, there’s a subtle vanilla sweetness, and the mouthfeel is creamy, rounded, and rich. The finish is warming, creamy, and clean. Creaminess abounds throughout.

34 – ISSUE 1

X Muse Vodka

Pronounced “tenth muse,” this vodka is made and bottled in Scotland. It’s apparently the first blended barley vodka from Scotland, and it’s made with two heritage varieties: Plumage Archer and Marris Otter, which are distilled separately before being blended. The water for X Muse comes from an ancient aquifer on Bonnington Estate at Jupiter Artland, an impressive sculpture park and art gallery. The name is also the title of a sculpture at the park by Ian Hamilton Finlay, a Scottish artist, philosopher, poet, and gardener. Sip it neat, or enjoy it in a Matches Matcha Martini, created by Russell Burgess, in which the vodka is stirred with white vermouth and matcha tea syrup, then garnished with a black olive.

This is a contemporary vodka that has loads of character. On the nose, you get a crisp green apple note. Take a sip, and the delicate green apple continues, along with sweet caramelized pear, lemon zest, and peppery spice. The pear note lingers on the finish, along with a little sweet cereal.

Copper Rivet Vela Vodka

Copper Rivet distillery at Chatham’s Royal Dockyard in Kent, England, is one of the UK’s only distilleries operating on a grain-to-glass philosophy. The wheat, barley, and rye used to make Vela Vodka — the name of which is inspired by a constellation used for navigation by sailors since Roman times — is all grown within 20 miles of the distillery, and each of its spirits is crafted in small batches. Before bottling, the spirit is charcoal filtered. The result is an interesting and complex vodka that’s lovely and smooth to sip neat, with no hint of a burn, or in a Lemon Drop cocktail (vodka, triple sec, lemon juice).

On the nose, there’s a mix of fruity fresh orange with a little creaminess. Sipping Vela Vodka is a smooth and delicate sensation with a savory, spicy note. There’s also a bit of cereal and a lot of fruitiness, which gives way to black and pink pepper on the lingering finish.

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of 2022

Whisky and cigars. Yachts and bikinis. Bond and Martinis. Few things in life are so obviously meant to be. With the help of cigar aficionado, Lincoln Salazar, we smoked (sorry Mom) our way through some of the world’s finest cigars to bring you the ultimate gentleman's guide to the finer things in life. As it turns out, food isn’t the only way to a man’s heart. Going through the lungs works well too. Here are our top picks for 2022.

Cigar of 2022

Arturo Fuente

Rare Pink Vintage 1960's Séries Sophisticated Hooker

• 7 1/4 x 53 Perfecto

• Wrapper: Ecuador

• Binder: Dominican Republic

• Filler: Dominican Republic & Nicaragua

• Strength: Full

2 3

Cigar of 2022

Rocky Patel Sixty

• 6 ½ x 52 Toro

• Wrapper: San Andrés

• Binder: Nicaragua

• Filler: Nicaragua

• Strength: Medium-Full

Cigar of 2022

Padrón 1964 Anniversary Series

• 5 ½ x 50 Exclusivo Natural

• Wrapper: Nicaragua

• Binder: Nicaragua

• Filler: Nicaragua

• Strength: Medium

38 – ISSUE 1
THE TOP 25 1

Cigar of 2022

Nat Cicco Anniversario 1965

Liga No. 4

• 5 ½ x 56 Robusto Grande

• Wrapper: Ecuador

• Binder: Nicaragua

• Filler: Nicaragua

• Strength: Full

Cigar of 2022

Altadis U.S.A.

Romeo Y Julieta Reserva Real

Nicaragua No. 2

• 6 1/8 x 52

• Wrapper: Nicaragua

• Binder: Nicaragua

• Filler: Nicaragua

• Strength: Medium

Cigar of 2022

Drew Estate Undercrown 10

• 6 x 52 Toro

• Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés

• Binder: USA Connecticut Broadleaf

• Filler: Nicaragua

• Strength: Medium

5 7

Cigar of 2022

Room 101


• 6 x 52

• Wrapper: Nicaragua

• Binder: Ecuador

• Filler: Dominican, Nicaragua, USA

4 6 ISSUE 1 – 39

• Strength: Medium-Full

Cigar of 2022

JC Newman Cigar Co. Black Diamond Emerald

• 6 x 52

• Wrapper: Connecticut Havana Seed

• Binder: Dominican

• Filler: Dominican

• Strength: Medium

Cigar of 2022

E.P. Carrillo Pledge Lonsdale Limitada

• 6 ½ x 4 3

8 10 40 – ISSUE 1

• Wrapper: USA

• Binder: Ecuador

• Filler: Nicaragua

• Strength: Full

Cigar of 2022

Miami Cigar & Company Don Lino Africa Duma

• 5 x 50

• Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano 2000

• Binder: African Cameroon

• Filler: Dominican Republic & Nicaragua

• Strength: Medium

9 11

Cigar of 2022

Kristoff Cigars

Kristoff Vengeance


• 6.5x60 Perfecto

• Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf

• Binder: Indonesian

• Filler: Nicaragua, Dominican Republic

• Strength: Medium-Full

Cigar of 2022

JRE Tobacco

Aladino Patton

• 9 x 48

• Wrapper: Authentic Corojo from JRE Tobacco Farm

• Binder: Authentic Corojo from JRE Tobacco Farm

• Filler: Authentic Corojo from JRE Tobacco Farm

• Strength: Full

12 14

Cigar of 2022

Alec Bradley Black Market

• 7 x 50 Churchill

• Wrapper: Nicaragua

• Binder: Sumatra

• Filler: Panama/Honduras

• Strength: Medium-Full

Cigar of 2022

Tatuaje Cigars Reserva A Uno

• 9 ¼ x 47

• Wrapper: Ecuador Habano

• Binder: Nicaragua

• Filler: Nicaragua

• Strength: Medium-Full

13 15

Cigar of 2022

Ferio Tego

Timeless Supreme 749

• 7 x 49 Churchill

• Wrapper: Nicaragua

• Binder: Nicaragua

• Filler: Nicaragua

• Strength: Medium

ISSUE 1 – 41

Cigar of 2022

El Septimo

Sacred Arts CollectionMichelangelo

• 5 ½ x 50

• Wrapper: Nicaragua & Dominican Republic

• Binder: Nicaragua & Dominican Republic

• Filler: Costa Rica

• Strength: Medium

16 18

Cigar of 2022

Oliva Serie V Melanio


• 7 x 50 Churchill

• Wrapper: Mexico

• Binder: Nicaragua

• Filler: Nicaragua

• Strength: Medium

Cigar of 2022

Miami Cigar & Company

La Aurora 1985 Churchill


• 7 x 47 Churchill

• Wrapper: Brazilian Maduro

• Binder: Dominican Republic

• Filler: Dominican Republic

• Strength: Full

17 19

Cigar of 2022

Drew Estate

20 Acre Farm Toro

• 6 x 52 Toro

• Wrapper: Ecuador

• Binder: Honduras

• Filler: Florida Sun Grown, Nicaragua

• Strength: Mild-Medium

42 – ISSUE 1

Cigar of 2022

Aging Room

Quattro Nicaragua

• 7 x 50 Concerto

• Wrapper: Nicaraguan Sumatra

• Binder: Nicaragua

• Filler: Nicaragua

• Strength: Full

Cigar of 2022

General Cigar Company

Macanudo Inspirado


• 7 x 50 Churchill

• Wrapper: Honduras

• Binder: Honduras

• Filler: Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua

• Strength: Medium-Full

20 22 24

Cigar of 2022

Davidoff Davidoff Nicaragua

• 5 ½ x 5 4 Toro

• Wrapper: Nicaragua

• Binder: Nicaragua

• Filler: Nicaragua

• Strength: Medium-Full

Cigar of 2022

La Flor Dominicana

Oro Chisel Tubo

• 6 ¼ x 5 4

• Wrapper: Nicaragua

• Binder: Dominican

• Filler: Dominican

• Strength: Full

Cigar of 2022

Oscar Valladares

10th Anniversary

• 7 x 52 x 60 Salomon

• Wrapper: Dual Wrapper, Mexico San Andres Maduro & Candela

• Binder: Honduras

• Filler: Honduras

• Strength: Medium-Full

21 23 25

Cigar of 2022

AJ Fernandez

New World Dorado


• 51/2 x 52

• Wrapper: Habano Sun Grown Nicaragua

• Binder: Nicaragua

• Filler: Nicaragua

• Strength: Medium-Full

ISSUE 1 – 43

Hate It Love It OR

The Underdog’s On Top

A conversation between Lincoln Salazar and 50 Cent

Photography by Eric Michael Roy

46 – ISSUE 1
ISSUE 1 – 47

LS: Welcome to The Enthusiast Report. How have you been, 50?

50 Cent: I’m good, I’ve had the chance to work on my little golf swing. I haven’t gotten it all the way right yet, but I’m still working.

LS: Last time we were together I was really nervous before we went golfing because I didn't know how good of a golfer you were. Have you golfed since?

50 Cent: No. I haven't gone to the drive since, but I got some custom clubs and I've learned how to use them. A lot of the successful guys are out on the courses, and because they're older, they are able to talk to the younger guys that are there and thriving. A lot of really big business deals are made on golf courses - people decide to finance someone’s idea.

LS: Right, you get four hours to spend time with someone, and get to know him a little bit.

50 Cent: And they’ll whoop your ass because they know how to do it.

LS: Some are real competitive.

50 Cent: Yeah, they’ve already mastered the technique.

LS: You've had a lot going on the last couple of years, you've got your new shows, you have BMF Immortal.

50 Cent: Yes, BMF Immortal is like the Power universe. The success of Power was great, it was like I hit the bull's eye first. And then Fox came in with Empire and Snowfall and other great projects. I like them too, but being in premium allowed me to be as graphic as the environment is, to say things the way people would say them in the environment. That struck a chord in the audience. For the first time they were seeing themselves in the characters and the flaws and different things, it made people really get into it. From Power, the spinoffs were Raising Kanan, Ghost, and Force, and those projects were number one, two, and three of the highest-rated shows in African American and Latino households. And then BMF made fourth place. So it's now, one, two, three, and fourth highest-rated shows in African American and Latino households.

LS: Congratulations. That's amazing.

"You work harder when you work for yourself."

50 Cent: Since the success of that, I've been able to talk to stars and get them excited about expanding the universe. But I’ll do [BMF] spin-offs differently. The way I did it through Power was very different from the new spin-offs that they’ll see from BMF Immortal. It’s cool, sometimes we’ll switch perspectives, we’ll show the law enforcement perspective instead of the actual hustler side or aspirational side. It runs through so many people that connect with it. We all have a streak of rebel in us, sometimes we’ll find ourselves rooting for the bad guy.

LS: When you guys are producing, do you try to make it so the bad guy looks as if he's the good guy and the audience can relate to him? Is that something you're trying to accomplish? Does it happen naturally?

50 Cent: I think some people go bad. They make bad decisions, they're not necessarily bad people, the route is bad. It comes from them not having resources. If you can run a crew that's that successful selling drugs in this climate, you could run a Fortune 500 company. The maintenance that it takes, do you know how often someone gets in trouble and decides to tell on someone else just to get themselves out of the situation and back of the streets? For you to make it to that height, it would take really good people skills.

LS: They would have be kind of charismatic.

50 Cent: And you would have be a great judge of character. You know, the most expensive thing we spend is time.

LS: All you have is time, right?

50 Cent: That’s why the biggest punishment you can receive is time.

LS: That's true.

50 Cent: They can take the time away from you.

LS: I believe that every person should serve a little bit of time. I know that sounds crazy, but my belief is that until you've been in that situation, you don't really understand what it is to lose everything.

50 Cent: And the circumstances to people's stories. I think when you look at cinematography itself, is art imitating life. When you see people make choices, it could be choices instead of power. Power means the same thing in every language, it's the same symbol on every television, no matter where you go in the world. I had a fragrance that came out four years before the series came out and it was Power because I felt like it defined who I was and what I was trying to do at that point. So when the series came around and it was time to name it, I came back with the same because I already had the trademark for power.

LS: What do you think your superpower is?

50 Cent: Finding a place to be secure when you're not in such a secure environment. I'm always dealing with people that achieved a higher level of education than me, college graduates from Harvard. When [I’m in that situation], what I hold on to is I am valedictorian of the School of Hard Knocks, and I have graduated with honors. I have the ability to use what a lot of people don't have, people that are great at school can retain information long enough to pass midterms, but they don't necessarily internalize the information.

LS: It doesn't always translate to real life either. A lot of these a lot of people, especially those with higher education, that's what they've lived off their whole life. It's like having this great tool, but some use it and some don’t. A lot just seek education their whole life.

50 Cent: There are circumstances where people are really smart and they lack common sense because they just don't use it.

LS: There's a saying money is the root of all evil. Do you believe that money is the root of all evil or that the lack of money is the root of all evil?

50 Cent: I think money is the root of all evil.

LS: Really? I think it's the lack of money.

50 Cent: Well, it'll make you do things, the lack of it. If you took a woman that was walking through the mall and you snap your fingers her clothes disappeared, she would probably need to talk to a shrink about the experience… But if she said to herself, fuck this, I got to get this money because I got bills to pay, she could get butt-ass naked and twerk to do it. That’s what we see in the strip club.

LS: That's because of the lack of money right?

50 Cent: It’s because to get it, to get the money, it’ll make you compromise your moral compass and the way you've been raised, because they don't necessarily come from broken homes. Not all of them. They’ll make that choice because of how much money is involved in the lifestyle.

LS: Yeah, I think that's true.

50 Cent: I mean, when you see really attractive people, men or women, if your appearance is your largest asset, you're going to do some hoe shit.

LS: So with the show, do you think that your characters got where they were because of the society they’re in?

» ISSUE 1 – 51

50 Cent: I think it's really important to show, specifically the Flannery's, that origin story, because you see how someone can make those choices. You can see when there's not enough food, how a person would be like, ‘well, let's do this because it's here and it's the fastest solution to the problem.’ When you look up and see people that have what you would view as financial freedom from that perspective, and that's the route that they took, it feels like the way to go. It doesn't have requirements. And for a guy that when it's starting in their youth, starting at an age where they're not even responsible for their own behavior. They're still minors.

LS: They’re still developing, so they think it's the way.

50 Cent: A lot of the stuff that we see, the criminal activity and gang culture, it’s young guys that haven't developed consequential thinking yet. I don't think they really know what they're doing. There are a lot of wet pillows in prison, under the circumstances of being incarcerated, while they’re alone. They're crying, but they're not doing it in front of anybody.

LS: Do you believe that gang culture if done positively, transfers in some way to entrepreneurship or business? I mean, in the last couple of years alone you’ve launched Sire Spirits, you’ve cut deals with sports teams. All in a couple of years. It takes people years to do that. And I know you were just starting with the cognacs the first time we talked, but what are some of the stadiums you guys are in now?

50 Cent: Sacramento Kings, I did a deal with the Indiana Pacers, I did a deal with the Houston Rockets, the Astros - shout out to the Astros, they won the World Series.

LS: Did you have anything to do with that?

50 Cent: Of course. I’m a good luck charm. They signed the deal and ‘poof’ everything goes the right way. Who does that?

LS: So back to that. Do you feel that gang culture can, if done in a positive way, can convert to entrepreneurship or business?

50 Cent: Absolutely. Anytime people gather, regardless if you call it gang culture or if you call it a group of entrepreneurs, or a group of people that are working in one direction…

LS: A gang is a business in some ways, you have your CEO, CFO..

52 – ISSUE 1

50 Cent: You'll find more ruthless people in business than you'd find in a neighborhood. What I think makes people ruthless is tunnel vision, when they’re extremely focused and they're going in that direction. Even the district attorney, is putting them in jail and doesn't care, he just wants the highest-profile convictions they can get to move themselves up. No matter how many people that come through that they give, Lord knows, how much time. They just want to move forward. They want to be successful.

LS: I have a statement that I kind of live by when it comes to business, something I've developed over the last 20 years.

50 Cent: You work harder when you work for yourself.

LS: Yeah, exactly. Ibelieve there are three things that it takes in order to make someone well-balanced in business. There are three things. There's a hustler, an entrepreneur and a businessman. If you're a hustler, you're thinking short term, you're going out to get that money, you're making that quick buck. You don't care who you burn. It doesn't matter short term. Then you have the entrepreneur who's more of like a visionary, they have the plan, they're like the artist. They see the vision, they see the downward vision. And then you have a businessman, let's say corporate America. They're looking at the numbers, they don't always see the vision and they don't always see the hustle. They just say, What's the number? That's all they care about. Now, if you're too many of any one of these three things, if you’re too much of a hustler you’re too short-term. If you're an entrepreneur, you might get lost in the art of it and never make any money. And if you're a businessman, you might not see the vision or see the hustle. Out of those three categories. Which one do you believe you are today? Hustler, entrepreneur or businessman, or all three?

50 Cent: I've gone through training camp. In the beginning, it's hustler because it's survival. The short-term goal is a great enough accomplishment. You're hustling, you do what you gotta do. And then as you get to a stage of you perceiving yourself as an entrepreneur, people say it and they're not necessarily entrepreneurs at that point. I think entrepreneurs have already researched the direction they're going in so they have information.

LS: And that's a loose term today, especially with the younger generation. Everyone’s an entrepreneur.

50 Cent: My interpretation of [an entrepreneur] is someone who has quiet information about how it actually works. They may not necessarily have the resources to execute it, but they’re working in that direction for it to be a success. It’s textbook business, what you should expect in business. It's easier to conduct, like if a person is extremely successful, they'll have a team. So there are lawyers and other people that would catch things, and be like ‘you've got to change this.’ Lawyers think a little differently. They think about everything that can go wrong. So you have to balance that. I have general counsel, but I didn't have that in the very beginning.

LS: You have to direct them sometimes, too, right? If not they'll kill a company within seconds.

50 Cent: They'll kill an idea before it even takes off because they're exploring everything that could go wrong when everything's going to go right … If you know instinctively that this is something that will work, it's a no-brainer, then you just go do it. I've done it against my lawyer's wishes at that point.

LS: And that's either the entrepreneur in you or the hustler in you.

50 Cent: I'm like, ‘you don't know everything. I'm telling you this is going to work.’ And when it works, he goes, ‘yeah, you're right. You made the right call.’

LS: Of those three, hustler, entrepreneur, or businessman, which one do you think you are most today?

50 Cent: Well, I'm still an entrepreneur.

LS: Which is true. You’re a producer. You have your spirit brands, cognac, and champagne. You just got the World Series.

50 Cent: Every time you see me, it's something different, right? But I'm always there. You have other guys that have been around for a long time, especially in the culture of hip hop, which is connected to youth culture. They have very low attention spans. So it’s out with the old and in with the new. The guys that stick around have significance, they have been able to transition and maneuver themselves through everything that goes on. Let’s say there’s a new guy that's coming up that was extremely influenced by the material you created when you came in. He loves you, he still likes you as an artist, but he goes, ‘Yo, you heard his new [music]? Yeah, it's hot, but it's not like when his first music came out.’ This is because if you stay in that position you were in when you first came out, how does he have his shot? How can he have his chance at it. They do that instinctively, the clouds that come over established artists are being created by the new talent, even the ones that didn't make it yet. They go, ‘Oh, that's cool.’ But they want the new one, the new thing that just happened.

LS: You're always evolving.

50 Cent: When you have a moment, it feels like magic with music because it's something you preconditioned yourself for. Some of these guys are better than me at making music. They're better than me because they don't have to work as hard as me to get where I was when I made the best music that was happening at that point. I’ve been writing music since ‘97 full time. I thought I was ready with Columbia Records, with my 1999 album. I didn't have any success till 2003 with Eminem and Shady Aftermath and Dr. Dre. It took four long years of already creating music that was up to standard and that people clearly appreciate it, but it's not the hit music that people recognize. It took going through all of the things that I went through in [those four years] for me to be ready for 2003.

LS: Was it like a camp for you, going through that process, especially with Dr. Dre?

50 Cent: It's all a camp. It’s not my time is not when it's going to happen, it's always God's time. Whatever your higher power is, I don't care, it's your higher power’s time. You'll feel like you're ready because you're working at it. Some people, they can rap the way we speak, it comes out that easy. Then because it's so easy, they don't know exactly what to rap about, they can't write a song to save thier fucking life. They don't know exactly which one to write or what energy to try and capture in the material. When you have moments and it's like, ‘go shawty, you should birthday,’ it's not rocket science, bro.

LS: How did that come up? Where were you sitting with that came up? Or were you at a birthday party and you were like, ‘oh, shit, this could be a song’?

50 Cent: You know, every day it's someone's birthday when you're in the nightclub environment. It’s a reason for you to enjoy yourself on the highest level. ‘It's my birthday, I’m going to go out, I’m going to have a good time.’ Your friends are around, you go out. It just popped into my head while I was hearing the music and I just said it. Simplicity is the key to a lot of the hits, a lot of the great things. When you stop trying to be a scientist with how crazy you articulate it, the metaphors, and you just… and overthinking everything.

LS: Put it out there.

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"Simplicity is the key to a lot of the hits, a lot of the great things."

50 Cent: You put it out there and it works. It’s kind of cheating when you have Dr. Dre and shit, when you have producers that proliferate around you. That is where the work is, positioning yourself to be next to things that are so great that you can achieve greatness. Producing records when Quincy Jones is the man, the baddest man in music. It's saying, ‘Give me that guy from over there to play the bass because that boy is bad and bring him in here with the keyboardists that we've met over there in Louisiana, because I ain't never seen nobody play the keys like that boy.’ When he's in the room together with that bass and the keyboardist and the drummer, they can make something that you're like, ‘Whoa, those are the hits for Motown.’ But they were live musicians doing it at that point and stages later I watched it being done without understanding what it was when I was seeing it. I watched Jimmy Iovine go, ‘Who produced that record?’ A new Chief Keef record comes, it goes, ‘Fuck nigga. That's the shit I don't like.’ He was saying stuff on the record that was so Chicago, so who he was at the moment. Fake true religion jeans, shit he don't like. But Jimmy would say, ‘Who produced that record? Get me that guy, bring him here. Put him in a room with Dr. Dre.’ And when you put him in a room with Dr. Dre, he’ll make his first trip to LA and he's in the room producing records with Dr. Dre, and they'd be doing it from a machine. There are distorted versions of the beats and stuff like that. And Dre can even hear where to use plug-ins to make the real drum sound so it has that vibe and that energy and can because he's just been in there for so long.

LS: Do you think it was his natural talent or do you think it was work?

50 Cent: I think that's a gift.

LS: You think it's a gift?

50 Cent: I think Dre has something that God just gave him.

LS: People are sometimes just born with it.

50 Cent: He's the guy… He’s grumpy, though. He's a grumpy old man. He might not be the guy you wanna hang out with, but he's the guy you want to get music from. Trust me. You want to listen to him and you want to learn from him.

LS: What are you enjoying the most right now? You're producing television, you have your music, and then you have your businesses. Which one are you enjoying the most? Which one is still your passion? If someone were to say you only get to pick one of the three, which is the one you're going to choose?

50 Cent: I would choose television.

LS: Really?

50 Cent: If I had to pick one of the three. I really enjoyed touring recently. It was because I was able to go outside of the country on a world tour. The tour started with four shows and Live Nation didn't believe in the run because they felt like something might go wrong from COVID because it's early, internationally. So I financed it, I went straight to venue with it. I didn't have any support acts.

LS: You bet on yourself.

50 Cent: I traveled 36 countries. We sold out the whole thing.

LS: That's unbelievable.

50 Cent: Yeah. And it was because they weren't moving like they would regularly move. There weren't a lot of competitive things happening at the same time, and people were ready to come back.

LS: When you're producing now, are you pitching the shows yourself? Do you have a team?

50 Cent: I'm in development, the whole thing. When you immerse yourself on one side of entertainment, the other side is exciting. My only entertainment has been film and television because I’m in music. With music I hear the artists, I was like ‘Oh, ok, I hear the creative choices they made and what they did. And I said, “Oh, but he could have done it like this, there's a version of it that I could have made.’ There's another version of that song of every song. Some musical elements, you’ll go ‘Now that was dope.’ That doesn't happen a lot. It excites you when you hear things that aren't in other records because it makes producers think outside the box. It makes artists pick different things.

LS: On your tour are you doing most of your classic music?

50 Cent: Yeah, I’ve done a lot of material, I performed some of the newer stuff as well.

LS: A lot of people when they go on tour, they'll drop a new record. But what I’ve found is a lot of people, especially huge fans, they want to go hear the classics.

50 Cent: Yes, like Prince, I would have rather hear Purple Rain than a lot of the shit he was performing. When you got that album that you go ‘this is the shit, I want to listen to the whole shit,’ that's a special period. You can't be that fire, nobody can. My core audience, the people who were influenced the most by that time period when the music came out, are now older. They're growing with me.

LS: Thirties, forties.

50 Cent: Now they're at home watching television. They'd have to drink they used to have in the nightclub, at home. Fucking wine cellar, they’re successful, bar at home. They have to drink at home instead of having it in the club. When you're 21 and you're in college and you're having your adult experience for the first time, the music at that point, the things that are dominating, are the theme music to your life. It was that night you saw her, the experience. She was the hottest thing you ever saw in your life. She wanted to suck your dick, like your dick specifically. And you knew it and you felt it to the point where you were going to talk to her, like you were sure. And then when it happened, you were like, ‘Oh my God, what the fuck just happened? Oh my goodness, I'm the best. This is the best night of my life.’ But when that happens, I was playing in the background. I wasn't involved in the transaction, but he never forgets that shit for the rest of his life, bro. And this is where you make a connection. Now, I'm not going to lie, that time period when he was the thing that no one could deny at that point, was the window where they were transitioning from a boy to a man or from a girl to a woman. That is monumental in their life. So I'm not finding a new audience. I'm finding my core audience when I’m on television. I know some of the things that were impressionable on me, on my run, and some of the things that they were exposed to that I can offer through film and television.

LS: The reason we invited you for The Enthusiast is because you're definitely an enthusiast, an enthusiast of music, business, you’re an enthusiast of life. So what's next as we wrap up?

50 Cent: There’s so much more. There are no limitations to how far you can take it, I'm enjoying it. I think there are some people who know how to live better than others. We just said the most expensive thing you spend is time, and [those people] are free-spirited, they just live. And they get a chance to really embrace things, to enjoy where they’re at, to travel the world, to see different things, expose themselves to different environments. If you're doing it with the right people, at the right times, I don't know how you can look at things and regret it at any point. We only do this once, there are no do-overs.

LS: There are no re-dos, you’re living the live act, you're on stage. You only get one life.

50 Cent: Let me get a redo, I’d go back to 18 to start over with this information, I’d fuck them up bad, bro. Give me a ‘back to the future’ right quick.

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"I’m a good luck charm. They signed the deal and ‘poof’ everything goes the right way. Who does that?"

LS: What do you think changed your mentality on life? Have you always thought that way? Or was there a pivotal point in your career or your life where you had this [realization]? I think the same way, by the way, I haven’t worked for anyone since I was 17 years old. I understand the hustle, I understand entrepreneurship. That was a pivotal point. You're like, this is it, there are no redos. There are a lot of people that don’t get it, they take life for granted. They wake up every day, especially the younger generation, they'll sleep until 2pm and half the day is gone. I wake up stoked every day, don't you?

50 Cent: I find myself in crowds by myself. They're not necessarily thinking the same thing I'm thinking, what we're doing as a group. I think when you don't necessarily train yourself, you know how people say, ‘Oh, I'm an independent thinker,’ when it's already in you to just have your opinion on which way, which direction you should go. I'm not sure if you can train someone into…

LS: That mentality.

50 Cent: Right.

LS: I agree with you. I think a lot of times it’s just inherently in you.

50 Cent: Yeah, I think it's in a natural character. There's a point where you've achieved so much that its like, why exactly are you getting up this early? Why are you getting up this morning? You already have money in the bank.

LS: You're not that motivated.

50 Cent: Right. Why are you getting up today? You should just chill. Some people would choose to chill [but I will get up and] work because I find my interest and my enjoyment in the process. A lot of entrepreneurs they'll achieve something, and it'll only be until a new idea comes that they're after something completely different. Some guys make it to the top of the board and then don't know what the fuck do.

LS: They get content.

50 Cent: Yeah. They start saying, ‘okay, let's go to the moon, I want to go to the moon.’ What the fuck? If fatality is connected to something that is so beyond the normal behaviors, I go ‘oh, now maybe I shouldn't. I don't need that.’ People can create their own path, and do unnecessary things all the time and get comfortable with having the freedom to do it because the finances are there. I used to really like to ride motorcycles and I stopped because I couldn't afford to fall off and slide down the street and not be able to go on tour.

LS: I can't even get insured.

50 Cent: When I came back, I was like, ‘No, I'm cool.’ But before that, I had that daredevil energy in me. I would ride and see somebody else do something and go, ‘Oh, I want to try and do that too.’ Now it’s like you see a guy here, Willie, he has his foot on the back seat and then he’ll take his foot off and get off the bike. He's like, flying the bikes over here and he's still holding the shit and get back on it. And you go, ‘What the fuck? I didn't even know it was possible for you to do that shit, but I'm glad I'm not doing it anymore.’ When he falls.

LS: Not worth it.

50 Cent: When he falls it has to be because that was all that mattered. Those things are like public perception of you, there's points where people promote things that are not necessarily real. But because the public is aware of it in that way, it adds to your aura. So it's like when they say, this person is a billionaire. I've been a billionaire since 2007. I'm that far from where I came from that I've been a billionaire, financially. Everybody around me is being paid, the resources that I've compensated for them to be there. I really don't see things that I want that I can't go get. Except that building right there. That building right there, I can't just go get it.

LS: Not yet. You've still got plenty of time, right?

50 Cent: That's the shit. But everything else, you can get it, you can have it, I can have it if I want it. I don't want that building, I don't have that urge to have that, it's just who I am. This is why I'm saying I felt like that the whole time. You've got givers and takers, right? So when you’re with people, you'll feel them looking at you like, ‘I'm excited because he's such and such.’ They told you he's from the enthusiast report, and he's this guy. They’ll go, ‘Well, I want to meet him so I can talk to him and maybe this will happen for me, or maybe he'll finance my idea.’

LS: Yeah.

50 Cent: Those people are ‘takers’ because you see them wanting something.

LS: They just want something from you.

50 Cent: And then you have the guy that hears you talking about the idea and says, ‘Yes, that's a good idea. Let's do it. I'll finance it.’ He’s a giver. Financing means nothing to him. [He has] multiple other things going on, he just hears a great idea. When we talked about the golf course earlier, a lot of times that's what's happening on the golf course. The skill is acquired over time by the person that actually plays. The skill is going to matter, not now how many weights you picked up or anything else, and they're going to kick your ass out there because they've been out there…

LS: For years doing it.

50 Cent: Doing it and working on it and working on it.

LS: Like any other craft. The more you give, I believe, the more you get. A lot of people do not understand that. That's why takers are always like, ‘Why am I broke?’ It's because all you do is take.

50 Cent: I think it's an unwritten law to not need anything, to appear to not need anything. That would be one of the laws of power that they didn't put in the book as far as Robert Greene is concerned. We did the 50th law together, and I think he's an amazing writer. The significance in him is how he can run parallels through things that are going on today with historical figures. He’s an amazing history buff. The 50th law is me being fearless because I’ve already been in the worst circumstances. These new situations are so minor to me. When I say that appearing not to need anything is probably the only law unwritten, that’s what allows Bernie Madoff to have a $50 billion Ponzi scheme.

LS: I don't need you. I value you.

50 Cent: My portfolio is full. So you can leave after he told you his portfolio is full and talk to your other wealthy friend and he says, ‘Yeah, I've got a few dollars put over there with him.’ You say, ‘Damn, he just turned me down.’ You [go back] and say, ‘Ok I know it used to be five, but let me give you ten billion.’

LS: It’s called a takeaway pitch.

50 Cent: They give up giving him more.

LS: I humbly thank you for coming out, I appreciate your time very much. We will sit down with you again. Your cognacs are doing amazing, your show are kicking ass. We're very excited. Thank you so much for your time and I appreciate it very much.

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Vintage Watches to Inspire Your Own Collection 5

When it comes to accessories, watches are a staple. They are functional, but watches also contribute to your overall presentation. Style options for watches are as limitless as your budget, but for something especially different, many collectors opt for vintage. You’ll not only have an object that’s more likely to be unique, but it’s also a way to celebrate the legacy of fine timepieces. Moreover, it’s a great reason to dig into the world of watches and explore their heritage, how they’ve evolved, and their cultural influence. Once you develop a taste for classic watches, it can easily become an obsession.

The Omega Speedmaster has quite the history behind it. In 1965 it became the first watch NASA qualified for manned space flight. In fact, the Speedmaster became the official watch for NASA’s Gemini and Apollo programs. As part of the Gemini 4 mission, on June 3, 1965, astronaut Ed White became the first American to walk in space. For about 20 minutes, White floated in space with the help of a 23-foot tether and 25-foot umbilical. What was on his wrist during this historic moment? The Omega 105.003 with a handwound Caliber 321 chronograph movement. These days, collectors can still purchase the Omega Speedmaster Caliber 321 — which is still associated with White. For one like the man himself had, go with the ’65.

IWC Schaffhausen (1950s)

There were big changes in how the world operated after World War II, and watches were no exception. After the war, with Eastern Europe under the control of the Soviet Union and Germany’s economy in a dismal state, IWC International Watch Co. AG, or IWC Schaffhausen, regrouped. At this time, the Swiss company launched its Caliber 89 movement, which remained part of the collection until the 1990s. These days, the 1950s models are noted for their timeless elegance and classic good looks.

Since its release in 1976, the Nautilus collection from Patek Philippe has been a favorite of serious watch connoisseurs. In 2006, the 5711 debuted and was instantly a hit among fans of the brand. The company surprised the watch world by announcing the intention to discontinue the now-iconic Nautilus 5711 in 2021. Patek Philippe was true to its word — Nautilus models are still available, but the 5711 has officially been retired, making it extremely collectible. Over the years, the 5711 was offered in various precious metals and with different face colors. For the 2021 edition, though, Patek Phillipe gave collectors a special parting gift in the form of a collaboration with Tiffany & Co., and just 170 were created. If you can find one, you’ll join the likes of Jay-Z and Lebron James, both of whom are proud owners of the Nautilus 5711 with a Tiffany Blue face.

Patek Philippe Nautilus
(2021) Omega Speedmaster 105.003 “Ed White” (1965)
5711 in Tiffany Blue
Image Credit: Patek Philippe Image Credit: Analogshift.com Image Credit: Chrono24.com

Rolex Daytona (1968)

One of the most famous watches of all time has to be Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona. A gift from his wife, actress Joanne Woodward, the watch sold at auction in 2017 for an astonishing $17,752,500. Part of that particular watch’s appeal was the inscription on the back from Woodward to Newman, who was a racing enthusiast: “DRIVE CAREFULLY ME.” Newman’s influence on the Rolex Daytona’s reputation has always remained strong with fans of Hollywood history, racing, and watches. He wore the timepiece so frequently that the watch became synonymous with the actor, earning the nickname “the Paul Newman.” The 1968 model is noted for its Art Decostyle influence and Valjoux 722 movement.

Vacheron Constantin American (1921)

In 1919, Vacheron was inspired to release a watch designed especially for the man with everything — that is, a car and a fine watch to wear while driving it. It was a time of change. World War I had ended, America was about to enter the era of the skyscraper, and cars were now the backbone of transportation. Among the features of the auto-inspired watch was a dial situated at a right slant. The idea was that it would be easier to read while cruising in a car with hands on a steering wheel. The concept of wristwatches was still relatively new, and they would have been much easier for keeping track of time while driving instead of having to check a pocket watch. Two years later, the watch gave way to a new look and model, the American. Now with refined numbers and different slant to the left, the American was just as ideal for formal attire as it was for driving. If a vintage model isn’t in the cards for you, there’s a modern reinterpretation of the design, known as the Vacheron Constantin American Historiques 1921.

Image Credit: Henry Leutwyler for WSJ Magazine
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Image Credit: Vacheron

Tailor Made

Scotland’s Oldest Suit Maker

The scenic views of the popular television shows Outlander and Shetland may have fans booking trips to Scotland to take in the brilliant highlands, the intriguing history, the unique culture, some great Scotch whisky, and maybe a few pints of beer. Or maybe that bucket list includes attending a genuine Highland Games to check out some real feats of strength and displays of Scottish pride.

There is much to do on an excursion to the land of William Wallace and Sean Connery — including getting fitted for a new suit. A trip to one of the best-known Scottish tailors involves a bit more than wheeling into Men’s Warehouse, however. Stewart Christie & Co Ltd, located in Edinburgh, has been in operation since 1720 and is the oldest tailoring company in this tradition-rich country. Whether you’re looking for traditional tweed or something more modern, this shop offers the perfect fit for that perfect night out.

“We have serviced four generations of the distinguished gentry of Scotland’s capital and beyond,” the company states. “Supplying the likes of the The High Constables of Holyroodhouse, the Royal Company of Archers, the Moderators of the Church of Scotland and many family estates to name but a few. And always growing. After four generations in the same family, a new era has dawned under careful and respectful new ownership. A new future for SC&Co.”

It may be a new era, but Stewart Christie also works to preserve its heritage and legacy. The Starz network’s Men in Kilts offers viewers a real firsthand look at life in Scotland. Hosted by Outlander stars, both Scotsmen themselves, Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish take viewers on a trip around Scotland, and, fittingly, a trip to the famed clothing maker is part of the journey.

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“There’s nothing more traditional than a well-dressed Scotsman,”
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Heughan says.

Entering SC&Co is like a step back in time, although the shop isn’t located on the Royal Mile as it once was. It’s a good bet a few Jacobites, the 17th- and 18thcentury Scottish revolutionaries who supported restoring a Stuart king to the British throne, stopped in for a fitting.

The tailor makes use of Scottish mills, weavers, and materials, and remains one of the only tailors in the entire country sewing custom jackets and trousers on site. Heughan and McTavish, who play Jacobites on Outlander, are fitted for their own custom tweed suits as part of the Men in Kilts travelogue fun. But don’t look for modern technology; Stewart Christie uses generations-old tailoring skills and craftsmanship. That includes using garment shears that are more than 200 years old.

No trip to Scotland would be complete without a stop in the shop. There’s a feeling of regal elegance when slipping on a Stewart Christie suit. It’s as if you’ve been transported back to old Scotland, also a big part of the Outlander series, and these garments will always come with a story to share.

And when in Rome, er…Scotland… why not go all out? The shop also offers custom-made kilts, ceremonial wear, sport coats, and country outfits. Visitors will also find much more, including dress shoes and boots, ties, scarves, suspenders, belts, gloves, and everything else imaginable for a gentleman to look his best. A nice bag or blanket might also be a nice purchase to commemorate that trip to Edinburgh.

And what doesn’t say “cool” like a Scottish baker boy hat? Whether you’re out on the town for a pint, heading off for an adventure in the lush green Scottish countryside, or trekking through an ancient castle, it’s a look that will bring a feeling of being part of something uniquely special. If the clothes make the man, then sporting some from Stewart Christie & Co certainly make a man connect with this historic country.

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Far from your typical rustic lodge, the Chatham Bars Inn is an elegant luxury destination and a local staple, built in true Cape Cod-style.

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Originating as a semi-private hunting lodge in 1914, the distinguished Chatham Bars Inn is a Cape Cod landmark and a well-known tourist attraction. Far from your typical rustic lodge, the Chatham Bars Inn is an elegant luxury destination and a local staple. Built in true Cape Cod-style architecture, the Chatham Bars Inn is nestled near the heart of Chatham, Massachusetts, on 25 scenic acres overlooking the majestic Pleasant Bay. This awardwinning resort is well known for its world-famous hospitality; the staff will accommodate any guest requests with a smile. The property has an impressive 217 guest rooms and offers 10 stately cottages with sweeping water views. Each guestroom and cottage is uniquely designed with seafaring decor and nautical paintings, antique-style turned-leg furnishings from the early 1900s, and upholstered wingback chairs. The impressive grand lobby is encompassed with dark mahogany wood and has a vast spiral staircase, with an oversized great chair on the top landing that serves as the perfect photo op.

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Treat yourself to a day of luxury and relaxation at the world-renowned The Spa at Chathams Bars Inn. The Spa has individual massage treatment rooms and couples treatment rooms, your choice. They offer facials and massages of the hot stone, deep tissue, or sports variety that caters to your particular needs and will leave you in a state of tranquility. Guests are granted access to the sauna, shower room, hot tub, and fireplace with any spa service. The Spa also offers aromatherapy and ayurvedic treatments as well as an entire line of lotions and oils for purchase.

Throwing a private party or wedding? The Chatham Bars Inn is the perfect locale for the wedding destination of your dream. With its famous grand, oceanside staircase and its impeccably landscaped grounds, it offers the perfect backdrop for wedding photos. Only looking to plan dinner? Reserve the elegant Captain’s Dining Room for a more intimate meal with friends and loved ones that accommodates up to 18 guests at the captain’s table. Planning a family getaway? The Chatham Bars Inn is an idyllic family vacation retreat with a quarter-mile of private beach and an impressive oceanfront swimming pool. It will be hard to pull the kids out of the water. Some of the amenities that are offered include private charters to Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard, ondemand complimentary CBI Lexus available for your sightseeing trips, and for the golf enthusiast, it is only a quick 3-minute walk to the neighboring and famed Chatham Seaside Links Golf course.

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At The Sacred Cod, Executive Chef Anthony Cole serves up traditional New England and local seafood fare with his own twist. Serving up culinary delights such as crispy Point Judith calamari, local Chatham oysters (harvested less than 5 minutes away), Gioia burrata, Prime Steak Frites, and the delectable lobster roll; these are just a few favorites of both guests and locals. The sophisticated yet rustic Sacred Cod has an extensive craft beer menu and offers a creative cocktails menu to enhance the mood. All vegetables used at Sacred Cod are locally grown at the Chatham Bars Inn Farm in nearby Brewster, Mass. Chatham Bars Inn Farm is a self-sustainable farm that grows fruits and vegetables for the resort and its two restaurants. The 8-acre farm produces over 100,000 pounds and 125 different varieties of vegetables each year using traditional, but more

importantly, innovative hydroponics farming techniques. Farm Manager Joshua Schiff is leading the way, pioneering self-sustainable farming, while teaching other local farms how to increase their crop yields and produce more produce (pardon the play on words). The Farm Stand serves the community selling locally grown produce to the public. The breathtaking property can also be leased for private parties or weddings and features a long rustic table underneath twinkle lights wrapped trellis, surrounded by flower fields, truly a perfect location for any event.

The Chatham Bars Inn is a historic and iconic Cape Cod destination, offering magnificent views, endless amenities, and unmatched personal service. This resort is a must for the well-traveled Nobleman.

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Should You Add One to Your Collection? 1952 Bentley R-Type Continental? $1.2m What’s It Like to Drive a
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Throughout their history, Bentleys have always been legendary. From the Bentley Boys, Blower Bentleys, and 4½ Litres to today’s incredible Continental GT and Flying Spur, Bentleys are cars that have always been at the top of, well, just about everything in the motoring world.

It’s often said there’s no point discussing how a car looks, because beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But there can’t be a single car-loving soul out there who wouldn’t say the Bentley R-Type Continental is one of the most beautiful vehicles ever made.

Look at it. It’s a stunning, elegant piece of art; the work of designer John Blatchley and engineer Ivan Evernden, who were both Rolls-Royce alumni (it shows a little, right?).

It’s not all about the looks, though; even we can admit that. The Bentley R-Type Continental can hit 115 mph and cruise happily at 100 mph with four occupants plus luggage. It was built in 1952. Let that sink in a minute. There weren’t many cars around at that time that could achieve anything approaching those impressive figures.

Apparently, that speed wasn’t enough, however, and Evernden thought more could have been achieved, estimating the car could have hit 120 mph. In 1962 he wrote: “Much more could have been done…but the purpose of the exercise was to reduce the aero drag of a conventional car and not to make a space capsule for an astronaut.”

Only 208 of these cars were ever made, and Enthusiast Report has been behind the wheel of one of them.
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Firmly back down on Earth, coachbuilders Mulliner set to work on creating the new coupé, with weight saving the name of the game. The bodywork is aluminum, along with the window frames, windscreen surround, backlight, seat frames, and bumpers. Naturally, to keep the weight down, a radio was considered superfluous. But you don’t need music ruining the majestic sound of the car’s engine running.

When the R-Type Continental originally went on the market — after Evernden eventually persuaded Bentley it wasn’t “too sporty” — it cost $8,193 (£6,928), making it the most expensive car on sale in 1952. For a bit of context, the average U.S. salary was $2,300, and the average house cost $7,254. Orders came in from all over the world.

It was in production for just three short years, and only 208 were made. All but 15 were bodied by Mulliner.

What’s it like to drive a Bentley R-Type Continental?

The car we got behind the wheel of is now worth around $1.2 million. Literally getting behind the wheel of such a thing is a task in itself. The vehicle may be 17’2’’ long, but it’s a bit of a squeeze to get in. It turns out people had smaller thighs in the 1950s.

Most of the cars produced were right-hand drive — including the one we drove — although 43 left-handdrive models were created for use abroad. You have to maneuver yourself past the floor-mounted gear lever down to the right of the driver seat, not in the middle, and attempt to wrangle yourself underneath the humongous steering wheel. The seats are not adjustable, and, of course, there are no seat belts.

Sitting pretty in the sofa-like seat, you’re faced with a beautiful piece of walnut with a few large and small dials. The handbrake is a lever, down to the right of the dash, which is not particularly easy to operate. While there is a tiny key to get into this huge car, you push a button to start the engine.

Setting off, a bit of panic kicked in, as we realized there’s no synchro in first gear, and the clutch biting point is incredibly close to the top of the pedal’s travel. It was to be an interesting ride.

However, we were not alone. We were accompanied by the delightfully calm Keith, who looks after Bentley’s heritage fleet. When he’s not casually driving around in the R-Type Continental, he’s often found piloting the Bentley Blower, which is worth around $35m.

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Despite the R-Type Continental having a 4.6-liter straight six engine and 153 bhp output, we weren’t going to push it to its limits — or anywhere close. Steering the R-Type Continental is...a bit of a guesstimate. It feels like you’re driving in an old movie — you know when an actor is driving in a straight line and wildly moving the steering wheel around? But it was also heavy, and slow.

Picking up the pace (to an earthshattering 27 mph) almost felt less daunting. Changing gear is a delicate affair too, and, of course, you have to remember the gear lever is down to the right so you’re not grappling around and accidentally touching your passenger’s knee.

After a couple miles, we eventually piloted the beautiful boat up the magnificent driveway of Castle Ashby House, the ancestral home of the 7th Marquess of Northampton. It was pretty special, winding up the extensive path in what felt like the most perfect motor for the moment.

If you’re thinking about adding a rare Bentley R-Type Continental to your collection, it could never be a daily driver. This is a very-special-occasion car, to be sampled from time to time, enjoyed always, and marveled at every day. It truly is a piece of automotive art anyone would be lucky to own.

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The unstoppable rise of English sparkling wine Pop CULTURE

You may be surprised to learn that winemaking in England isn’t a new phenomenon. Although there’s been a meteoric rise over the past few years — especially for sparkling wines — the practice dates back to Roman times.

And while you may immediately think of Champagne when you hear the words “sparkling wine,” the first documented evidence was, in fact, written by Englishman Christopher Merrett, who presented a paper to the Royal Society in London in 1662 outlining the process of making traditional-method sparkling wine. This was a fair few years before Dom Pérignon, the French monk, started his experiments at the Benedictine HautvillersAbbey.

The industry has come a long way over the past few hundred years. There are now nearly 900 vineyards in the U.K. and almost 200 wineries, ranging from incredibly small patches of land with just six vines to larger estates of around 100 hectares. The classic Champagne grapes — Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier — account for the top three varieties planted, with 8.95 million bottles produced in 2021.

Sparkling is by far the most popular style of wine made in the U.K., making up 68% of total production, and while much of the wine produced in the U.K. is consumed there, 4% of sales in 2021 were for export markets, with the lion’s share going to Scandinavia, the U.S., and Japan. It seems other countries are finally getting a taste for the quality fizz being produced in England.

Although Champagne may still have the most prominent reputation, English sparkling wine is catching up, and in some cases overtaking its French rivals. A few years ago, several English sparkling wines were rated more highly in a blind taste test conducted by London-based food and wine publication Noble Rot.

It wasn’t the only time English fizz came out on top, with another blind tasting in 2020 rating wines from Westwell, Nyetimber, and Hambledon in the top three spots against Champagnes. The tasting was led by wine expert Neil Walker, along with sensory scientist Dr. Heber Rodrigues of Plumpton College and Professor Nicolas Depetris Chauvin from the Geneva School of Business.

The market shows no sign of slowing down. Quite the opposite, in fact. In September 2022, Gusbourne Estate released Fifty One Degrees North, the most expensive sparkling wine ever produced in the U.K. It highlights the ambition of the country’s producers and the potential future for further prestige wines down the line. The 2014 vintage wine costs $235, with just 2,000 bottles produced. It’s made from 64% Chardonnay and 36% Pinot Noir grapes, with 10% of the base wine fermented in oak. Bottled in April 2015, it stayed on its lees until December 2021, and was then disgorged with an 8g/l dosage.

Gusbourne’s Fifty One Degrees North isn’t the only ultra-premium English sparkling to be produced. Chapel Down released Kit’s Coty Coeur de Cuvée 2013, which was the first to retail at £100 ($120), and Nyetimber released its 1086 prestige cuvées in both white and rosé, which cost $180 and $210.

It will be fascinating to see how the English sparkling wine industry develops over the coming years and decades. If you’re looking to expand your sparkling horizons and try something different from your usual glass of Champagne, here are five fabulous English sparkling wines we recommend.

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Five English Sparkling Wines You Need to Try

Gusbourne Blanc de Blancs 2018

Gusbourne planted its first vines in 2004. It grows Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier grapes across 60 hectares in Appledore, Kent, and 30 hectares in West Sussex. Its Blanc de Blancs is made with 100% Chardonnay grapes, handselected from Gusbourne’s Kentish vineyards. The wine is matured for a minimum of 42 months on the lees, and a further six months in the bottle. It’s a very elegant wine, with fruity aromas of tart green apple, citrus, and apple pastry. On the palate, that fresh green apple and pastry continues, with a long, lingering mineral finish.

12% ABV.

Find out more from Gusbourne gusbourne.com/wines/blanc-de-blancs

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Louis Pommery England Brut 2017

Louis Pommery is one of the French Champagne houses investing in English sparkling wine. Its 2017 wine incorporates 10% reserve wine into a blend of 50% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir, and 20% Pinot Meunier. There are around 20,000 bottles made each year, with plans to double this to 40,000 for the 2018 release onward. The nose is full of apples, pears, white peach, citrus, and some pastry notes. On the palate it has more of that citrus, mixed with some flinty minerality. Then there’s a really long finish with even more citrus. It’s very well balanced and elegant with great acidity, and it’s fabulously moreish.

12.5% ABV.

Find out more from Louis Pommery fennycastlevineyard.co.uk/shop-online

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Blanc de Blancs 2014

Sparkling wine grapes were planted at the Nyetimber estate in Sussex in 1998, so this is an English vineyard with a longer history than most. The vineyard — one of the most iconic names in English sparkling wine — is now under the ownership of Eric Heerema (who took over in 2006), working with head winemaker Cherie Spriggs, who was born in Canada. The wine is crisp, clean, and packed with flavors of citrus and brioche, with some light summer floral notes, too. A little nuttiness, along with fine, soft bubbles, make this a wine to savor. It’s drinking fabulously now, and it will also age very well indeed.

12% ABV.

Find out more from Nyetimber nyetimber.com/product/blanc-de-blancs/

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Bluebell Vineyard Hindleap Rosé 2016

Bluebell Vineyard is in the heart of Sussex, on the edge of Ashdown Forest. This rosé wine is made with 79% Pinot Noir grapes and 21% Pinot Meunier. It’s super fruity, with lovely aromas of cranberry, raspberry, strawberry, and brioche — like a big fruity summer pudding. It’s also very elegant, with a long, dry finish. As you might expect, it’s the perfect picnic wine if you’ve got an excellent cheeseboard filled with goat cheese, other light and creamy cheeses, and a few strawberries to nibble on. It’s also a lovely aperitif. Basically, there’s never a bad time to drink this wine.

12% ABV.

Find out more from Bluebell Vineyard bluebellvineyard.org/hindleap/hindleap-ros-2016

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Fenny Castle Blanc de Noir 2017

This vineyard, based in Somerset, planted its first parcel of Bacchus vines in 2011, with the main vineyard of Ortega and Pinot Noir vines the following year. Fenny Castle’s Blanc de Noir is delicious. It’s made with 100% Pinot Noir grapes grown on the steepest part of the vineyard. It then had four years on the lees. This basically means the dead yeast cells left over from the fermentation process are left in the bottle for a specific period of time. The particles are very small, and the process helps the wine develop lots of extra flavor and aroma, giving the wine more complexity and body. The flavors you might expect from aging on the lees, such as bready and brioche notes, really come through with this wine, along with some red apple and pear. It’s like tasting the southwest of England in a glass.

12% ABV.

Find out more from Fenny Castle fennycastlevineyard.co.uk/shop-online

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The 10 best luxury SUVs on the market

For a long time, luxury SUVs — apart from Range Rover — didn’t really exist. But today, almost every premium car manufacturer offers one in its lineup, giving owners the best of all worlds: space, versatility, comfort, refinement, a great driving experience, and performance.

The best examples of luxury SUVs tick all the boxes and mean you never have to compromise, no matter your demands. Whether you want your family’s crest or your favorite constellation to be hand-sewn in LEDs into the headliner of your new Rolls-Royce Cullinan, you want the color of your favorite nail varnish as the exterior paint on your Bentley Bentayga, or you want to be able to start a party at the touch of a button with your Tesla Model X, the bar for personalization and sophistication continues to be raised. Here are the 10 best luxury SUVs, from a tech-filled electric toy to an Italian thoroughbred.

Aston Martin DBX

Rolls-Royce Cullinan

Named after the largest diamond ever found, the Cullinan is Rolls-Royce’s first SUV. As such, it brings together all the elements that make the British company’s sedans so special — namely, space, refinement, and class — but it adds some off-road capability and heaps of presence to the already appealing mix. With a 6.75-liter V12 under the bonnet, it’s very powerful,

very quiet, and very fast, not to mention very comfortable. But what really sets it apart is the detail. Our favorite is the Starlight Headliner, which can be specified to display a chosen night’s sky in tiny LEDs housed within the roof lining. It can even display shooting stars.

Bentley Bentayga

Offered in a choice of two different lengths, the Bentayga is Bentley’s take on a sporty 4x4. No matter which version you choose, the Bentayga is ultra-luxurious and perfectly built. Bentley even scans the leather to check for imperfections before upholstering the car. And if you want a particular color that isn’t in the standard palette, Bentley will simply mix it for you. More impressive than all that, however, is the way the Bentayga drives. Considering its size and weight, it’s incredibly light on its feet, and it’s a surprisingly enjoyable car to drive quickly. That said, the looks won’t appeal to everyone.

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Range Rover

The Range Rover has become synonymous with luxury 4x4s, and for good reason. Reliability issues aside, the Range Rover has always been a spacious, capable, and comfortable mode of transport over any terrain. The latest version looks more modern and feels more high-tech than any before it, and it’s set to become an instant hit. There’s plenty of space inside, and it feels very light and airy. Customers get a choice of engines and vehicle lengths, while standard equipment is generous, and there’s a huge range of optional extras with which to personalize the car. Whichever version or specification you choose will be quiet and smooth.

Lamborghini Urus

The Urus is not Lamborghini’s first SUV, but it’s already the biggest commercial success. Pairing typical Lamborghini styling and performance with the space and off-road capability of an SUV, it’s the ideal family supercar. And customers have lapped it up. But Lamborghini’s ability to make something striking and spacious is not a surprise. More surprising is the quality of the interior, much of which is borrowed from parent company Audi, and the car’s ability to handle corners. With even more performance-oriented versions on the horizon, the Urus success story looks bound to continue for years to come.

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Aston Martin DBX Cadillac Escalade

Europeans might think their SUVs are spacious and luxurious, but they’ve got nothing on the Escalade. The big Caddy has loads of space and a classic wood-and-leather interior, as well as an imposing external design. For those behind the wheel, there’s a big V8 engine to enjoy — even if you choose not to buy the range-topping, high-performance Escalade-V — while those in the back get to relax in the massive seats. The latest version of the Escalade is the most technologically advanced so far, but it’s thirsty, and Cadillac’s build quality isn’t as good as that of European rivals.

Quintessentially British brand Aston Martin may not be the first name that comes to mind when we talk about luxury SUVs, but the DBX is a stunning piece of kit. Powered by a V8 gasoline engine sourced from Mercedes-AMG, the DBX is fast on the road or on a track, and it’s comfortable, too. Even the most powerful DBX707 model rides smoothly, and it comes with even more aggressive bodywork and powerful brakes. The Aston isn’t perfect — the in-car entertainment technology feels outdated compared with that of its competitors — but it has more charm and performance than most of its close rivals.

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Porsche Cayenne

Porsche’s flagship SUV is available in a choice of two different body shapes, with the practical SUV model joined by a fastback Coupe model. Neither car is especially sexy, but both are brilliant to drive, offering an incredible combination of agility and comfort. With V6 and V8 petrol engines, as well as some eco-friendly hybrid options, it’s also very fast in a straight line. The high-performance Turbo GT model does 0-to-60 mph in around 3 seconds. Add in Porsche’s impeccable build quality and the clean, easy-to-use in-car technology, and you’ve got one of the best luxury SUVs on the market.

Ferrari Purosangue

Ferrari doesn’t call the Purosangue an SUV — the Italian company says the five-door car is much more than that — but this is the Prancing Horse’s answer to the Lamborghini Urus. Powered by a huge 6.5-liter V12 motor, the Purosangue (which means “thoroughbred” in Italian) is fast enough to outrun most Porsche 911s, but it can still carry four people over rough terrain. In fact, Ferrari says the car is designed for use among the snowy Alpine peaks and on the gravel roads that crisscross the Tuscan hills. But with rear-hinged back doors, it’s also the first Ferrari that’s really capable of carrying the whole family in comfort and style.

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Mercedes-Benz G-Class

Commonly known as the G-Wagen — an abbreviation of the German “Geländewagen” name, or overland vehicle — the G-Class began life as a military vehicle. But the boxy 4x4 has matured in recent years, becoming ever more luxurious without sacrificing its allterrain capability. Today, it’s one of the most desirable luxury SUVs,

dominating the road with its tough styling and massive wheels. Perhaps it isn’t the finest car to drive, but the latest-generation version is much better suited to on-road use than its predecessor, and it’s still available with an unapologetically powerful V8 gasoline engine, as well as a huge trunk.

Tesla Model X

The Tesla Model X is instantly recognizable, and not just because of its striking “falcon wing” rear doors. Elon Musk’s electric car company is known for its pioneering technology, and the Model X is full of clever features. From the touchscreen on which you can draw to the Celebration Mode that plays

loud music and “flaps” the doors, you won’t run out of toys. But the Model X does grown-up stuff, too, with seating for seven and luggage compartments at the front and rear. It also has plenty of range, covering up to 348 miles on a charge. And because it’s electric, you need never visit a gas station again.

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Smoking Gun

Matt Booth, Founder & Creative Director of the ROOM101 family of brands, is a jack of all trades who understands that you earn your stripes.

LS: I'd like to start from the beginning, for you to introduce us to Matt Booth. Who is Matt Booth and how did ROOM101 begin and get to where it is today?

Booth: I think the real genesis for all of this began long before the brand was conceptualized. Long before the brand was conceptualized, I decided to put somewhat of a delinquent lifestyle behind me. I joined the Marine Corps Infantry when I was 18 years old, which changed my life and afforded me the opportunity to have a future that was very unlike the one that I was headed towards. Through hard times you become annealed. This environment afforded me the time and space to evolve. When I got out, I moved back to Hollywood and I immediately started pursuing a career as a performing musician. I bounced around town for a while, I worked in the private security sector providing protection for some of Los Angeles’ most wealthy and influential individuals. I ended up deciding that I wanted to do my own thing. I had become not only intrigued, but

obsessed, with jewelry design. That's when ROOM101 was born, behind a small jeweler’s bench at 7th and Broadway in Downtown Los Angeles, and on top of my coffee table in my apartment on Melrose and Gennesse. So over the next few years, I basically apprenticed unofficially in a factory downtown with the idea that we could build this multi-category, multiclass lifestyle collection, not unlike Alfred Dunhill or the other jet-set European lifestyle brands of the 1950s and 1960s. Something that had all the finest appointments for the modern-day gentleman and gentleladies, but done in today's style, and done in my style. So although the skeletal structure of this brand, if you stripped away all the meat and flesh may look very much like Alfred Dunhill, with his skin suit on it may look nothing like it at all - aesthetically, of course. Building the brand in the bespoke jewelry category brought us to a point where we were ready to evolve into another category in another industry. Over the course of 2008, I worked with some executives in the premium tobacco business to build the framework to become ROOM101 cigars. »

“A cigar is a vessel to deliver tobacco in its purest form and to deliver the fullest enjoyment.”

LS: What was the inspiration for the jewelry? When you founded ROOM101, what was the inspiration behind everything? Were you working at the time? Were you planning on getting into the business?

Booth: I had multiple jobs [at the time], for example, I did sound and lighting at Whiskey on Sunset, and I worked there off and on for two years part-time. I had a blast working there under my mentor, Leonard Contreras, who taught me the beginnings of sound engineering. But while I was working there, I was getting assaulted by fashion and lifestyle, and artists and people throughout Hollywood were all wearing this crazy big, chunky, aggressive silver style, you know, big skull bracelets. I was obsessed. Like, I was literally obsessed. I would get the courage up to go into the Chrome Hearts showroom knowing very well that I couldn't afford anything in there and just ogle everything and obsess. At the time there was an up-and-coming clothing and lifestyle brand that had its flagship retail location on Melrose. I used to do the same thing, I used to come into their store and eyeball all the handmade silver products. I keep a journal by my bed, right? I use it to capture ideas because a great deal of time when I'm just beginning to separate from consciousness, right before I go from being awake to asleep, I start to have these very aggressive visuals of, at the time, ideas for songs, musical expression. I realized that at that moment I was no longer designing riffs, but I was designing rings. I realized my heart was taking me in that creative direction. That was running parallel to a very fast and aggressive learning exercise, being next to other creative industries in LA and coming to an understanding very quickly that if I wasn't going to be doing one specific thing, if I wasn't going to be writing, playing and performing music, I wanted nothing to do with that industry. In fact, I went as far from it as humanly possible. Simultaneously this was something that I felt that I could shoulder on my own, not necessarily because I had this idea that I just wanted to make a couple of things and see how it turned out. My vision at the time was that I wanted to build a body of work that I could monetize and support myself so that I could be completely independent and free from any schedule from an employer and pursue very freely a career in music. A couple of years into it I found my entire life wrapped around the axle of the 101 brand with no time to do anything else, because before I knew it - and long since before I knew it - I was building a brand. Which takes a life's investment, especially from ground zero.

LS: How did you end up going from fashion to cigars?

Booth: I think visually the optics of that transition, even at the time, were difficult for people to accept. You saw them as two very, very different things, opposing categories almost. My point was that they're not opposing whatsoever. They're highly complementary because they're both reflective of ‘the good life.’ They're part of, in my opinion, any fully-baked lifestyle collection. The landscape is not as it was in the 50s because now we are encumbered by regulation. It makes it far more difficult to offer certain things that effectively share the same brand, when back then it didn't matter. So it was, and continues every day to be, a creative exercise, not only to design products, but to design products that can live in the world together cohesively, and survive regulatory scrutiny.

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LS: What was it that got you into cigars? Were you smoking cigars at the time? What is the story behind the foundation of that aspect of ROOM101?

Booth: Well, to go back to the very beginning, my Uncle Lee introduced me to cigar smoking when I was a teenager, and he was by far the coolest guy in our family. My grandfather smoked a pipe and [Lee] elected to smoke cigars. I saw that as being the way that tobacco was truly enjoyed. Not injected, a cigarette is like an injection, It's like a syringe. A cigar is a vessel to deliver tobacco in its purest form and to deliver the fullest enjoyment. Fast forward a little bit, if there was another lifestyle brand active in Los Angeles that had anything in their offering that was connected to tobacco it was typically something to embellish a Bic lighter or a cigarette case. There was no focus on cigars whatsoever. I thought, ‘this is ridiculous because this is the most luxurious expression that can be offered in this category. It 100% should be part of my collection, inspired by the introduction from my uncle.’ Over the years I’ve become what I would consider to be an enthusiast. It made sense to me. It didn't make sense to a lot of people around me, even in my inner circle at the time. But when I put the first box of cigars down on a table in front of them, all the question marks evaporated. When there was a physical realization of that idea in front of them, they understood.

LS: Did you start with cigar accessories or do you start with cigars?

Booth: We started with accessories, which led to cigars.

LS: What do you think was one of the biggest challenges when you started, not only on the fashion side of 101 in the early stages but also the biggest challenge when you got into the cigars?

Booth: I think one of the biggest challenges is across the board in any of these areas, because they're all what I would refer to as a craft category. Even though we’re operating in fashion and jewelry, we're operating in kind of a subculture sect of that business with the types of items that we’re offering and coming into a craft universe where there are already established players. In the same breath, I would say with no formal family connectivity, not having any doors opened for us, but having to kick every door in as we as we come in. I think not only achieving placement but earning - and I would emphasize earning - the respect of my peers in the business upon entry. It wasn't the most challenging to earn their respect once I got in front of them, but I think anyone coming into a craft space like that is going to get a great deal of scrutiny.

LS: You have apparel, you have cigars, and now more recently you’ve added Room 101 Gin. I can see why someone in the cigar industry could want to have some kind of spirit as well, but why did you choose Gin?

Booth: A craft spirit to me was an absolute necessity to round out the brand’s offering the way that I envisioned it. In terms of craft spirit, I was obsessed with making ROOM101 gin. Although I enjoy other spirits, for our brand it had to be gin, and there are several reasons why. I started thinking very seriously about craft spirits in 2015, and in 2017 we realized first proof of concept with the product in the market. I believed at the time that gin was next up in terms of its day in the sun for its own boutique-ification. I knew that gin was hyper-versatile, I knew that you could modify and alter the blend drastically by tinkering with the mixture of botanicals that you applied to it, that it didn't have to be the stereotypical juniper-dominant personality to be gin. So I set out to make a gin that was as universally loved as humanly possible, both in its stance on the shelf as well as how it effects the palate. This, along with everything else we've done with our brand, people couldn't wrap their heads around. I know that many people hailing from the premium tobacco segment would view gin as the anti-spirit of any cigar-smoking experience. That's because they have this preconceived notion that all gin is made the same and it's absolutely not.

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LS: When you came up with the gin, were you thinking of the cigars in mind as pairings?

Booth: 100%. I had to make a gin that would mix well with the smoking experience. That was one of my chief missions when developing the formula for ROOM101 gin. What we came up with is a formula that's heavily driven by citrus, allspice, and a higher level of proof, which all provide fire. The brown spirit enthusiast that wants to pair brown spirits with smoking is looking for [that fire]. Gin has that fire without having a lot of weight on the tail end because it's a clear liquid, and we made it work.

LS: Would ROOM101 be considered craft jewelry or boutique jewelry? Would you still consider it craft? You guys are in Nordstrom's now, correct?

Booth: Here's the deal, just like in the cigar business the word ‘boutique’ has been applied to a myriad of products so many times over that you don't even know what it means anymore. I think that boutique and craft, they're rooted in the idea that there's an intimate level of production of any product where the production numbers are lower. The focus and attention to detail and quality are escalated. That's what you're paying for amongst many other things.

LS: What would you consider boutique or craft in these industries?

Booth: Quite frankly, I'd say it's aesthetics, it's based on aesthetic and it's based on brand presence. Off the cuff, I couldn't name any major league craft beer brands, but there are craft beer brands that are owned by some of the largest companies in the world. Their production volumes are tremendous, but they're still craft beer. The only reason that they're craft beer is because of the way they look.

LS: You just did a deal with STG, can you tell me a little bit about that and what it means for ROOM101?

Booth: First and foremost, I know that the sale of ROOM101 cigars to STG secures and solidifies a place for ROOM101 cigars in the industry globally and into perpetuity. I believe that by positioning the brand with such a major player, we've put ourselves on the road to becoming the world's first globally recognized craft brand in that space. It's super exciting.

LS: Do you believe that the deal with STG could change the heart of ROOM101 or change the product? It’s such a large corporate company, will that mean changes will be coming with this transition?

Booth: As part of the arrangement with them, I have remained as a creative director for the brand specifically. So I will continue to pilot product development, design, and brand direction. Everything that I have always done for this brand I will continue to do. The chief purpose of that is to maintain the brand's authentic nucleus and grow outward from there in a healthy and responsible manner.

LS: How did this deal come to fruition and what is the deal today? How much can you talk about that and what it means for our readers?

Booth: I think we had an authentic opportunity to test drive partnership as a byproduct of some design projects I was tasked with by their company a few years ago. I worked with one of their key creative guys, Justin Andrews, to rebuild two of their company-owned brand assets - Sancho Panza and Los Statos de Luxe. It was unbeknownst to me and, I think in the beginning, unbeknownst to both of us, this was not only a really fun and provocative set of projects, but it was also a way for us to test drive our relationship and what it would be like with each other as a partner.

LS: How have the critics responded to this? Especially because you have one of the biggest cult followings for ROOM101 cigars. What was the feedback you got from the consumer?

Booth: I think if you're not receiving some level of static, especially as a brand builder and a market disruptor, you're not loud enough and you're not creating enough waves to create that type of static. I think there was a minute amount of turbulence from people that were aware of the market and aware of the move. But our core supporters stood by us. I think that they are assigned to the idea that whatever I'm going to do is in the best interest of the brand. If it's in the best interest of the brand, it is in their best interests as well.

LS: You are one of the most influential, if not the most influential, market disruptor in these industries. Was that something that was done on purpose or something that just ended up happening?

Booth: I think it's just a byproduct of my authentic mission. I approached these components of our business and these industries authentically, in every way, shape, and form. It was a byproduct of that type of approach that began to disrupt in the first place. Disruption is just a natural byproduct of what I do.

LS: Tell us about the brand rebuild you’ve been doing

Booth: As a consultant, I was tasked with reimagining, some might say resuscitating, two of their company-owned brand assets, one is Sancho Panza and the other is a brand called Los Statos de Luxe.

LS: How exciting is it for you to work within the STG family on other brands as a creative director?

Booth: It was a lot of fun. I have a great time, that's one of the things that I do best. I perform that type of function very organically and have a lot of fun doing it. For me, this is not the end-all-be-all, but it is nice to be able to apply what I do with my own brand outwardly with other brand projects and to watch that touch and that care produce results in the market, it's been a lot of fun for me.

LS: Who are some of the key players at STG right now that you're working hand-in-hand with?

Booth: I work with all the guys in the marketing department on a regular basis, Matt Wilson as well as Justin “Fuzzy Wuzzy” Andrews, as well as cigar industry legend Chris Tarr, vice president of marketing.

LS: Where do you see the future of ROOM101 as a brand? Are there any other categories you want to expand into?

Booth: For now, we have our hands full with these three main categories, the pillars of the ROOM101 offering. There are definitely things that I have my sights set on for the future, but we're going to have to wait to see how that all plays out. In terms of my vision for ROOM101 in the near future, It's very simple. It’s for us to continue to take our place on the global stage as a recognized and respected underground luxury lifestyle brand.

LS: Do you feel that you'll still be able to hold the same craft with the companies that you are merging with?

Booth: Well, Lincoln, you’re speaking with one of, if not the most stubborn person you have ever encountered in your life. If there was one person that could make that a reality, it would be me. But we’ll see, we’re going to give it our best shot.

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LS: Is there anything else that you want to add or touch on that we haven’t spoken about?

Booth: I think my major focus was to highlight the idea that at the hood ornament of all of this branded effort is actually myself. The idea that my ability to create design disrupt transcends category. I'm pretty confident that we covered that, to be honest with you.

LS: You're very much an artist. Am I wrong?

Booth: Look, I have the blessing and the curse of having both the right and left lobes functioning as cohesively as they can. So you could say I'm an artist and a business person.

LS: Which one do you feel you identify with more?

Booth: It fluctuates. It fluctuates because there are days that are super left-brain heavy for me, and then there are other days that are completely right-brain dominant. I think if I was going to have to choose one, I would definitely pick artist because I would chart my way back to my roots in music. That's what started this whole thing, but I can hold my own at the boardroom table.

LS: Which one do you think is more important for the brands?

Booth: They're both critical. Without one, the other one is lost. If you’re only a savage business guy, you have to go out and seek out creatives to help you fulfill that side of your business and round out the picture. If you're completely an artist, many times you are lost without a business partner.

LS: There’s a credo that I live by that I've learned through my years, it’s called the hustler, the entrepreneur, and the businessman. I say that you have to be all three of these things in order to be wellbalanced because if you're a hustler, you're usually thinking shortterm. You want that quick cash, you're trying to make things quick. If you're an entrepreneur, you're usually more artistic, you're about the art of it and the vision of it. If you're a businessman, you're about the numbers and you're about the projections and you're about the forecasting…But you have to have a percentage of that hustle, you've got to get things done and you got to move quick. You have to have that entrepreneurial vision and the foresight of a businessperson to see that we do need to have systems, we do need to have projections, and it all creates this well-balanced person. I think people are in different stages. Do you feel that you started as an entrepreneur, a businessman, or more of a hustler?

Booth: I think I started as a hybridized animal, an entrepreneur and a hustler. But the hustler can never lose that dilithium crystal that powers them. That's the insatiable appetite for progress and for forward upward momentum. The entrepreneur brings in some heart-driven, more artisanally sculpted planning, maybe some passion project-level stuff. I get what you're saying and I agree. That's also giving the entrepreneur the nod as the creative in the trio too.

LS: I believe that most people start off as hustlers and entrepreneurs and then develop into business people, and that's based on the times you get slapped around in life, that businessman grows and is always growing.

Booth: You earn your stripes.

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Mario Andretti Has a Passion for Life, Cars, and Wine

Mario Andretti’s name is synonymous with car racing. Few drivers have achieved the titles and name recognition he has. Now retired from competitive driving and focusing on business ventures, such as a thriving wine brand, Mario’s love for cars and racing is still at the heart of his existence. Over the years, he’s managed to create a world for himself that balances his passion for life with his love of family.

Born in Italy in 1940, Mario and the Andretti family moved to the United States after World War II, when Mario was fairly young. His Italian roots would later play a big part in his taste for wine, but his enthusiasm for cars blossomed in his youth. Both he and his twin brother, Aldo, loved cars as little boys prior to leaving Italy. Before they really understood what cars were, the Andretti twins ran around the house yelling vroom! vroom! as though driving highpowered autos.

As Mario grew into adulthood, he embraced his love for cars and connected with his family’s heritage and taste for wine. “I’m a child who was born and raised in Italy. Wine was at the dinner table every day. That’s part of life there. It was a natural thing for us,” he says. In Italy, the Andrettis grew their own grapes and fermented their own wine. “My grandparents had a small hotel near the train station. These were their house wines.” It took a while for Mario to respect his family’s expertise when it came to wine. “Did I appreciate that? No!” he chuckles. “I thought soda pop would have been a lot better.”

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“Whatever I’m involved in, I try to continue enjoying my work. I’ve been fortunate in my career to do something I love very much, so it was never really work. And I continue to try to do that in my life and stay active.”

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Things changed once Mario grew up and began to understand the finer things in life. His racing career helped in his evolution when it came to appreciating fine wine. Oftentimes after a race, Mario and the crew enjoyed a nice dinner. “That’s the natural thing to do,” he says. “You always look for a reason to celebrate, and if the reason is there — you win a race — you obviously try to relax. And what’s better than to have a great meal among friends and enjoy some good wines? That’s the best way to close a successful day.”

Throughout his racing career, Mario Andretti has had much to celebrate, so good food and wine were abundant. And because his high-speed occupation took him around the world, he received a fine education when it came to food and wine. “As you grow and as you travel all over the world like I have, you experience the different wines that are offered in different continents and different countries. You develop a taste and appreciation for it. To have it around is a matter of pride.”

In addition to wine, Mario would occasionally enjoy other types of beverages, too, though his Italian heritage looms large when it comes to his tastes. “I love a little glass of grappa every now and then,” he says. “It’s part of the area where I came from. I used to enjoy some malt liquors, but I was never a big social drinker. I enjoy beer, as well. But primarily, I’d rather have a glass of wine to relax than just about anything else.”

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Now out of the cockpit, Mario has channeled his extensive knowledge of wine into a successful second career. His insight into the nature of success comes from experience in both driving and the wine business, but it can be applied to nearly anything. He works closely with his winemakers, knowing his expertise doesn’t translate into the actual process of making the beverage. He surrounds himself with a team of experts, just as he did in his racing days. “That’s a lesson I’ve learned from teams I’ve driven for. There are experts in every area,” he says. “Really make it a point to try to get the best people that you can to be part of your team. That’s the only chance you have to excel.”

In Mario’s case, his team also included his family. He thanks them, especially his wife, for creating a solid foundation that enabled him to excel in his careers. “Never lose sight of things like the family,” he says. “With all the travel I’ve had to endure throughout my career, I had the most wonderful person, my wife — she was a rock. She handled what the family had. We stayed together properly. You look at your priorities and try to keep that in mind. It all matters. If you have a tranquil life, you will be able to enjoy what you’re doing.”

Looking back, Mario recognizes he’s had an extraordinary life. His success is not lost on him. He’s humble and grateful for his good fortune. “I’ve been a very blessed individual,” he says. “Even as a young lad I had very ambitious dreams from the beginning of the time I could reason. I worked very hard to try to accomplish that. Somehow, I was able to. I’m just a guy who has enjoyed his life and gave 100 percent. That’s me.”

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“I will have a cigar once a month. It’s a relaxing thing. I basically don’t smoke, but when you get together sometimes with friends and you have a nice glass of wine and you’re celebrating a birthday or anniversary, you pop up a cigar. Ashton is one I enjoy the most. It’s fairly light.”

In His Honor

Don Doroteo Cigars are a Legacy Crafted with Purpose and Passion

Don Doroteo Cigars may have been established in 2021, but in actuality, its roots date back beyond the 20th century. It was 1936 when Doroteo Fermin Delgado decided to follow in his late father's footsteps by growing tobacco in the heart of Santiago, Dominican Republic. At the age of 16, he began his legacy – for his family, community, and ultimately, for the world.

Doroteo had many descendants, one of which was his grandson, Juan Lugo, who had fond memories walking alongside his larger-than-life grandfather as he swung his machete in fields to clear paths. After developing a taste and passion for cigars, Juan would smoke tobacco from the Yaque Valley and think of his grandfather, his story, his legacy, and how proud he was of Doroteo’s accomplishments. Years after Doroteo passed away, Juan’s mother notified him that she found tobacco plants on

the land that she inherited, plants that his grandfather had planted ages ago and continued to sprout year after year. Juan was compelled to continue Doroteo’s legacy in his honor.

Don Doroteo is a brand with both purpose and passion, whose deep seeded heritage holds impressive weight. By cultivating and growing on its own land, the brand is able to own the entire process throughout a plant’s life cycle. Don Doroteo methodically carries out each step, ensuring that the final product is of the finest quality. A limited quantity will be released each season to preserve its exquisite quality. Born out of passion and legacy, Don Doroteo is tremendously proud of its deep roots and recognizes the importance of creating a conscious organization, built on the shoulders of those working the fields day in and day out.

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El Legado:

Wrapper: Sumatra seed grown in Ecuador

Binder: Sumatra seed grown in Ecuador

Filler: Colombia, Cibao Valley (Dominican republic), Nicaragua


14 years

Tasting notes:

An outright beginning, dominated by spicy notes like black pepper. It opens the smoke to give way to more complex and delicate flavors. Wooden presence is evident all along the smoke, but getting richer with bright cinnamon shades, nuts and even citric tips. It finishes powerful and creamy, up to the heights you have expected.


Robusto 5 x 50

Sumo Toro 5.75 x 54

Corona 5.50 x 42

Churchill 7 x 47

Belicoso 6.25 x 52


Robusto 20 count wooden boxes

Sumo Toro 3 Count Sample packs

Corona 20 count wooden boxes

Churchill 20 count wooden boxes

Belicoso 20 count wooden boxes

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for the


Check Out the Caribbean’s Five Best Golf Paradise Islands

Your childlike wonder has reawakened since becoming a homeowner in a Caribbean golf course community. Maybe this has something to do with your morning ritual of sipping freshly squeezed fruit juice as you pull back the sliding glass door for the day’s grand unveiling. Your heart leaps a bit as you step out on your deck and gaze at this morning’s version of the turquoise Caribbean Sea.

The juice, the view, and your golf clubs are all you need before embracing the signature perk of your new residence. One of the reasons you chose this home, next to this golf course, on this island, is the calm. No rush hour — only friendly “hellos” from fellow island enthusiasts as you hop in your golf cart and motor to the first tee box.

What’s sublime about golf in the Caribbean is there’s a chance you’re playing 18 holes on a course designed by one of the game’s most legendary names. Nicklaus, Norman, and Trent Jones have all staked a claim on this region of pristine beaches, palm trees, conch shell tee markers, pink flamingos, and Paspalum fairways. The question is: If you love to golf, which island is right for your dream home?

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Punta Espada in Cap Cana, Dominican Republic

So which golf course is the Caribbean’s best? A strong case could be made for Punta Espada in Punta Cana. After winning the 2010 Cap Cana Championship at Punta Espada, Fred Couples declared this 7,300-yard layout as Jack Nicklaus’ best-ever course design. That’s saying a lot when you consider that the Golden Bear has designed more than 400 courses in 43 countries.

If ocean holes make your heart go pitter-pat, realize that eight of Punta Espada’s spectacular golf holes hug the Caribbean Sea. Punta Espada is the golf jewel in a Cap Cana gated community that also includes a cliff-top restaurant, a marina, a spa, and residential choices at St. Regis Cap Cana The Residences. Choose from 15 Golf Collection residences. The real estate options in Cap Cana, and Playa Serena just down the road, offer a wealth of luxury living opportunities — from beachfront condos to marina villas and luxurious homes perched next to a golf course. Want more choices? The Dominican Republic is also home to Teeth of the Dog, Playa Grande, Corales, and La Cana Golf Courses. All offer amazing championship golf and best-in-class amenities.

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Abaco Club on Winding Bay, Great Abaco/ Bahamas

If you have any doubt that Abaco Island is the Bahamas version of golf utopia, all you need to know can be found at The Abaco Club’s practice area. If it appears this massive practice range seems like something the professionals would love, you’re right; it is.

Not only is the Abaco Club a great place to golf; the resort comforts are so high-end that several PGA

players own second homes there. The ocean views encompassing the golf course, the restaurants, and the luxury villas are second to none.

In addition to Cabana Suites and Cottage Villas, you have the option of building a four-bedroom estate as your Caribbean long-term escape. Amenities include tennis, a spa, a fitness center, and a personal chef.

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Aurora International Golf Club in Anguilla

When Anguilla’s Aurora Anguilla Golf Club opened in 2006, golf was a new sport for this cricketloving 18-mile-long island. More than a decade after Aurora burst on the golf scene, the course has garnered a wealth of awards heralding it as one of the Caribbean’s best.

A reimagined Aurora Anguilla Resort and Golf Club was unveiled under the management of

Salamander Hotels and Resorts in 2021. The 7,100yard championship course was accompanied by a signature short course, also designed by Norman.

A Greg Norman design on an island with 33 of the most beautiful beaches in the world may feel like heaven on earth for the golf enthusiast. In addition to world-class golf, guests can anticipate an on-site spa, tennis, water sports, five restaurants, and a

hydroponic farm. Also, for the first time, guests can fly to Anguilla directly from Miami International Airport.

Aurora has a long-term solution for those who fall in love with its golf course. For those looking to invest in a turquoise-ocean-meets-fairway-green lifestyle, Morgan Hill Villas are the answer. It’s your chance to own a private villa on a remote beach.

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Royal Turks and Caicos Golf Club in Turks and Caicos

Location, location, location is the ultimate real estate mantra. On the Turks and Caicos island of Providenciales, the island’s lone golf course is positioned next to what many consider the best beach in the world.

Year after year, gorgeous Grace Bay Beach is ranked as number one, not just in the Caribbean, but on the entire planet. This stunning five-mile-long stretch of beach is located just a driver’s length from Royal Turks and Caicos Golf Club’s first tee box.

Golf enthusiasts seeking a dream home near the Royal Turks 6,700-yard championship layout will find oceanfront living on Long Bay, Grace Bay, Leeward, and Turtle Cove. Now, in 2023, The Strand offers private residences, villas, and custom homesites. For second-home explorers who find great golf and endless beach to be a best of both worlds situation, then Providenciales is as good as it gets.

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Which Caribbean Golf Community is Right for You?

If world-class golf and living the island life is your idea of heaven, owning a home in Punta Cana, Great Abaco, Anguilla, Riviera Maya, and Turks and Caicos could be your ticket to paradise.

El Camaleon Mayakoba Golf Course in Playa Del Carmen

When playing El Camaleon for the first time, you’ll discover that Greg Norman designed one of the world’s most awe-inspiring sand traps on the very first hole. In the middle of the fairway is a huge, centuries-old cenote that was uncovered during the construction of the course.

El Camaleon’s course conditions are pro-worthy to the point that the PGA’s televised World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba is held there annually. For the golfer yearning for nearperfect temps and five-star accommodations, El Camaleon is surrounded by some of the most famous names in luxury hospitality.

New homeowners will relish environmental beauty worthy of Audubon certification, canals reminiscent of Venice, and the ultra-turquoise Caribbean Sea. Home choices abound while choosing a beachfront villa residence within the Banyan Tree, Fairmont, or Rosewood properties. The private villas and penthouses at Mayakoba Residences feature full and fractional ownership.

Par for the Course
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Photo Credit: Paul Smith


Funny Man Donnell Rawlings Is Back In Action

A conversation with Lincoln Salazar

LS: Hey, Donnell! You’ve been up to a lot lately. Give me an update on this year.

Rawlings: I think that I'm going to be in a different time zone every other day. I've just finished a Southern California tour with Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle. We extended it to include Memphis, Birmingham, Charleston, South Carolina, and we just did St Louis. After that tour ends I start a tour with Dave in Australia and New Zealand. I'm going to be on the road very aggressively for the next five weeks.

LS: What's the name of the tour?

Rawlings: Well, the first part of the tour is the Chris Rock and Dave Chapelle tour, and then the next part is Chappelle's tours of New Zealand and Australia.

LS: Are you opening with Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock as well?

Rawlings: Yeah, It’s me, Rick Ingram - funny, funny guy out of California, Dave Chappelle, and Chris Rock. And it's been amazing.

LS: From my understanding, you've known Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock for a while now. Tell me how that has come to fruition with you guys all ending up on tour together and the history there.

Rawlings: Chris Rock is a comedy legend. I grew up watching him. I'm a fan of all his specials. Dave Chappelle and I are both from Washington, D.C., and we became close when I moved from D.C. to New York, which led me to be on the Chappelle Show, which led me to be a part of comedy history. I think yesterday was the 20-year anniversary of his show’s debut on Comedy Central. So I just feel honored and blessed that I could be a part of history and work with two comedians who will go down in history as two of the best to ever do it.

LS: The Los Angeles Times published an article about the rise and fall of cancel culture and comedy. From my experience with both you and Dave Chapelle, I feel like you guys kind of go above cancel culture and just say what’s on your minds. What are your thoughts on cancel culture and comedy?

Rawlings: I think that cancel culture is going to cancel itself. I understand people have some concerns about certain subject matters. But you’ve got to keep in mind that this is an art form and you should be free to say whatever you want to say. I went on stage the other day and said, “Listen, I'm going to say whatever I want because I can deal with the consequences.” I think that cancel culture is getting too much of a spotlight. Usually, the people that are offended [or find it] outrageous are only a small percentage of the people that enjoy standup. And for those people that enjoy exercising their freedom of speech, I think it's unfortunate because [cancel culture] is really watering down comedy. At the end of the day, if you go see a comedian it's not like back in the day where you didn't know a comedian's history until you went to see him live. Now you can Google a person, you can get a sense of their style of comedy, and you can choose to support it or not support it. I think going to places, being offended by people that are telling jokes, we're not trying to change the world, we're just trying to make people laugh. You’ve got people like Dave Chappelle, you’ve got people like Chris Rock that don't want to defy cancel culture, but they're going to feel free to say whatever they want to say.

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"I think that cancel culture is going to cancel itself."
Photo Credit: Paul Smith

LS: In the last three years you've been touring, have you seen any changes within your audience? Have you had any situations where you've seen more of people being offended?

Rawlings: I haven't noticed it much because, going back to my point earlier, people know Dave's brand of comedy. They know my brand of comedy. They know Chris Rock's brand of comedy. So you know what you're going to get. And you have the option to choose comics that don't push the envelope, comics that don't walk that line. Personally, I haven't seen too many people that were outraged over anything I said. You can't please everybody all the time, I'm sure there have been people at my show that say he's not my cup of tea, but I haven't had anyone walk out, anyone write me letters, or anyone marching outside of the venues. I haven't experienced that, but it's not to say that other people haven't experienced it.

LS: You're currently on BMF, can you tell me a little bit about your character and what you’re doing on the show? Have you had the opportunity to work with 50?

Rawlings: I actually worked with 50, maybe three or four years ago. He had a comedy show that aired on BET. One of the directors on the show, Tasha Smith was a good friend of mine, we worked together on HBO’s The Corner years ago. The role of Alvin [on BMF] is a mortician with an interesting life, to say the least. He’s fascinated with dead bodies in an inappropriate way, so I found that to be very interesting and dark. But, you know, that’s what they wrote. My character is cousins with Lamar, who people are comparing to Omar from The Wire, a villain type. Every good show needs a villain, some people root for him and other people want him to go. We find out that guy keeps coming back, he has more than nine lives, and it will be interesting to see that I’m pretty much one of Lamar’s only friends, and he doesn’t treat me like a friend or family. It makes for great drama, and I think he really captured the culture that was BMF in the late eighties, and I think he has another hit on his hands.

LS: Do you prefer to be on the stage or in front of the Camera? I know you have a podcast right now as well, are you looking to do more acting or do you enjoy going on tour and being on stage?

Rawlings: Well, I'm in more control of my career and the things I do through stand-up. With producers, directors, I don't have to worry about people picking me when I do stand-up. I don't have to worry about an audition, I don't have to worry about people beating me for a role. Acting is more challenging for me. I think after doing stand-up for 30 years, I pretty much know how to do that. I'm really good at it. When I act, it's still me playing make-believe, and I’m still going to class and learning more. I’ve learned so much by watching people that [act] for a living. I think acting is more fun, it’s a pastime. It doesn’t really feel like a job to me and I get to learn every time I hear ‘action’.

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LS: Tell me a little bit about how you got involved in stand-up comedy and what your passion was for going on stage. Is this something that you planned your whole life or is this something that you fell into? How did you end up getting involved with Dave Chappelle?

Rawlings: Everything that's happened in my life in regard to doing stand-up and acting has happened out of nowhere. I'm a military vet, I was in the Air Force for four years. When I got out of the military I was waiting to be a D.C. police officer and doing in-between jobs to help me prepare myself. I worked as the head of security for a grocery chain in D.C. called Safeway, and there was a guy named Mike Washington who was a stand-up comic at night, and a Hostess rep in the daytime, and he would give me and everyone I worked with free tickets to his comedy show. I would go to the comedy club not even thinking about doing standup, but just as something to do with my coworkers. I started heckling the comedians, I was a loudmouth. The club owner wanted me to shut up, and he dared me to go on stage. He was like, okay, you're funny from your seat, but what about when the light is on you? And he challenged me to go on stage. I didn't do it then, but two weeks later, I went on stage and I got a standing ovation the first time I ever performed, and I never looked back. Stand-up led me to take a couple of acting classes and my relationship with Dave and my relationship with Neil Brennan, who was also doing well for himself in the comedy world. Both of those guys greenlighted me to be on the Chappelle show, and I've maintained a relationship with both of them for 30 years. Everything that’s happened for me, it’s just been chance, I was never prepared, I was never the guy sitting in front of a mirror saying, ‘I want to be a stand-up comic.’ I was always the funniest guy in the room but I never thought I would be the funniest guy in the room. It all happened by chance and I followed it and never looked back.

LS: When you first started, did you write your own jokes or did you have someone write them? Do you still write your own jokes today? Tell me the process.

Rawlings: That process isn't really writing jokes, I just try to get jokes just from real-life situations. My comedy is reflective of my life, who I am, and who I want to be. Some people write jokes like - beginning, middle, and end. I just come up with a premise that I think is funny, and I just keep working it out. Every time I just add more to it, and the next thing you know, I’ve gotten a 30 or 45-minute routine. My comedy is more observational than anything else, I think that’s the best way. Everyone has a different way of doing it, but I like to bring my life experience to the stage and add some punch lines to it.

LS: When you’re on stage, how much would you say is improv, and how much is practiced beforehand? Do you rehearse alone or do you rehearse with the other guys on tour before you go on stage?

Rawlings: I would say that I do know where I want to be, I know the things I want to talk about, but I don't necessarily know how I'm going to get there. I would say 60% of the stuff that I say I already know that I want to talk about, but also try to leave an improv element so things can happen on the spot. There's only a certain type of laugh you can get from your routine, but there’s that explosive laugh when people feel like it's something that's happened in a moment, whether it's something that happened from an audience member or just something that's in that moment. I find that people really like your routine, they like your show, but they also like when you're off the cuff. And that’s something that just had to happen in the moment, and there's no way you could have planned it, so there’s always somewhat of an element of surprise.

LS: What is your favorite place to tour?

Rawlings: The one that [writes] the biggest check is always a good place! But being from D.C. and spending most of my career in New York, I really feel something special when I go back home and I consider both New York and D.C. to be my home.

LS: Have you been to Australia before this tour?

Rawlings: Yes, I was here for the Rottofest Comedy Festival maybe seven or eight years ago. I did two cities, Melbourne and Sydney. This tour I think we're doing like seven cities in Australia, and this is a much bigger play. When I did it, I was part of a festival and I think my biggest audience was around 500 people, and now we're playing arenas for anywhere from 10,000 to 17,000. So I’ve never experienced Australia on this grand level, but I’m super excited about it.

LS: How many people are you guys performing for right now, between yourself and Dave Chapelle?

Rawlings: I would say there’s been a range from 10,000 to upwards of 25,000.

LS: What do you think the premise of a good joke is?

Rawlings: It's hard to say. There’s a phrase I use. People always ask me, ‘how can a joke be too soon?’ And in some cases, a joke could be too soon, but it's never too soon for a funny observation. As testy as some jokes may be, you know, going back to my style, it's just what I observe and what I think is funny. You never know what's going to be a good premise until you go up there and you try it out and you can tell if it's going to hit or not.

LS: Do you have any other acting coming up or any other shows that you're going to be on?

Rawlings: BMF was just renewed for another season, but the thing about shows like that is that you never know when [your character] is going to die. If I'm lucky enough to make it through this season, there's a chance they build on my character, and I think there are a lot of things that could be told about his story. But again, acting isn't my life, stand-up is my life. I never know what project is going to come down the road, but I'm prepared for it if it happens. Throughout my acting career, for some reason when I'm involved with a project it’s usually something that becomes a part of history and people really love it. From HBO’s The Wire, The Corner, Winning Time. I’ve just gotten lucky enough to be a part of some good projects and work with some phenomenal actors, directors, and producers, including 50 Cent.

LS: Growing up, who was a comedian that you looked up to?

Rawlings: I was a huge fan of Martin Lawrence. I was a huge fan of Robin Harris. Louie Anderson was a guy I liked watching because of his storytelling abilities, he wasn't a guy that was overtly physical or anything, he was probably sitting in one spot for an hour. But the way he told stories, his facial expressions, and the way he captivated an audience, I was always intrigued by that. Richard Pryor goes without saying. Almost every comedian you talk to was a fan of Richard Pryor. I was also a fan of Bill Cosby and the way he would tell stories. For me it was a mixed group, you know?

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LS: Tell me a little bit about your podcast, how often are you doing it and what should people expect from it coming up?

Rawlings: I’m going to be relaunching it. I was really aggressive with getting [episodes] out every week during the pandemic because I wasn't doing that much and that was my way of being creative. But I haven't done it in about four months, and everywhere I go people tell me that I have to bring it back. For any podcast, if you want to make it work, you have to be consistent. I do think that I have stories to share, and people are interested in the way I share my experiences. So I think within the next couple of weeks I'm going to reboot the Donnell Rawlings show and give people that unedited, outrageous style of comedy that they've grown to love me for.

LS: Tell me a story that you've had with Dave Chappelle, something crazy you guys did on the tour that most people haven’t heard.

Rawlings: We were traveling in the Midwest somewhere and we were all on a tour bus. And for the most part, when we go touring Dave is always staying in five-star hotels. And there's one particular day we pulled the bus over at a Days Inn, and I was like ‘what the hell is this? We never stay in Days Inns.’ The tour bus driver gets out and goes inside and comes back with a key. Dave takes the key, and I thought that Dave was going to check in at this one-star hotel. But we pulled over just so he could take a crap and we pulled off right after that. So that's the most baller shit I’ve ever seen, literally and figuratively speaking.

LS: When you were on Dave Chappelle's Show, how was it for you when he decided to leave?

Rawlings: For me, I was more concerned about his mental state and how he was doing than whether he came back to the show or not. It didn't matter to me because he had already given myself, Charlie Murphy, and so many other people a platform. I had done a lot of shows before Chappelle's Show, but that was the one that hit home. At the time, myself and Bill Burr were doing a tour and we were selling out smaller theaters and clubs everywhere. So when [Chapelle] left, it gave us the opportunity to go out there and make some pretty decent money. I never questioned the reasons why he left, he’s a good friend of mine and I support him and the decisions he wanted to make. At the end of the day, he made the decision that he thought was best for him and for his family. He came back bigger and stronger, and he came back to the business on his own terms. He became one of the most powerful comics in the business by doing it, in the words of Frank Sinatra, he did it his way.

Credit: Stephanie Aquino
» ISSUE 1 – 119

LS: Over the next 3 to 5 years, what are some of your goals or things you'd like to accomplish within the business?

Rawlings: To be quite honest, I think that I've accomplished what I wanted to accomplish in this business, to create a good lifestyle and make an honest living doing something that is a God-given talent and something I'm passionate about. So anything from here on out is just icing on the cake. I've been able to sustain a pretty decent living by telling jokes while a lot of people are working jobs that they hate and that aren’t lucrative for them. I don't have any of those issues and I'm enjoying it. My goal is to be a successful comic, and now I can only do more of it, make a little bit more money, build more relationships, and make people feel good.

LS: Is there anything you’ve done over the years whether that be a show, a character, or an arena that you would say is something you had always wanted to achieve?

Rawlings: I’ve had some success on the small screen, even the big screen every once in a while. More importantly, I'm working comic, but the one thing that I've achieved that I really appreciate is being a dope dad to my only son. I mean, I love comedy, but being a good example for my kid and trying to give him the best life I can means more to me than any of this career stuff.

LS: You have a very humble approach and mentality when it comes to what you do. Have you always had that mentality?

Rawlings: At the end of the day, all of us are born here, We have the beginning and then we have the end. And the end is when we expire on this earth. And the thing that people really need to focus on is that dash in the middle. The dash in the middle is the most important thing you can do. What are you doing with your dash? Are you living your life the best you can? Are you doing good by people? That's the only thing we can do, and that's what I aspire to do, to get the most out of that dash.

LS: Our brand encompasses the best of luxury lifestyle. What are you an enthusiast of? Is it cigars, wine, spirits, or travel?

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Rawlings: It's travel, It's lifestyle. I don't know if you follow me on Instagram, but, people always say about my character “Ashy Larry’ that it looks like I'm finally going from ‘Ashy’ to “classy’. That's the way I present myself, the way I dress. I like a spirit every once in a while. I'm just starting to get into the cigar world because you can't have tailored suits and not have a nice cigar in your hand. Every time I see guys like Steve Harvey and Daymond John they have on these nice suits and what compliments them the most is that nice cigar. I'm being introduced to that world and I'm embracing it and I'm loving it, and I get to cross my legs in a very distinguished way when I have a cigar, too.

LS: Is there anything else you want to add? Anything that you want to be able to talk about?

Rawlings: Going back to cancel culture, I said cancel culture is going to cancel itself. We need to get back to letting people express themselves the way they want to express themselves. At the end of the day, as a comedian, all we want to do is make people laugh. There are two types of people, people that want to laugh and people that need to laugh. I get the best feeling when after a show, someone comes up to me and they say, ‘You know, I've been experiencing some bad things in my life. I really wasn't feeling excited about going out, but seeing you perform took me away my problems for at least 45 minutes to an hour.’ I think that that's when the job of a stand-up comic really comes in, when you can make somebody feel good at a very down time in their life. When they say laughter is the best medicine, it really is true.

Photo Credit: Stephanie Aquino
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The Enthusiast Guide To Best Hidden Beaches MALTA’S

Visitors from all over the world flock to the islands of Malta, Gozo, and Comino to experience the unique blend of antiquity and modernity found in the country’s quaint towns and villages, bustling cities, and countless medieval dungeons and archaeological sites. In addition to a plethora of historical and cultural attractions, these islands boast a staggering number of beautiful beaches that dot their tremendous coastlines. Malta’s beaches with their astonishing azure waters are an ideal holiday destination, perfect for those who value time spent basking in the sun and dipping their toes in calm, inviting waters. Malta’s shores include both sandy bays and rocky cliffs. The waters surrounding the islands are among the clearest in the Mediterranean, with many of the beaches having earned the coveted Blue Flag designation for meeting stringent standards in areas such as environmental protection, visitor safety, and infrastructure upkeep. The abundance of exciting diving areas, thrilling watersports activities, and traditional feasts of fresh fish and other local specialties send travelers into a frenzy. As anticipated, the country’s most famous spots are often booming with beachgoers. The good news is that there is still a profusion of stunning alternatives for those who prefer to avoid the madding throng. Here is our take on the six best-hidden beaches around the Maltese islands.

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#1 Ix-Xatt L-Ahmar, Ghajnsielem

Situated on the island of Gozo, Ix-Xatt L-Ahmar (which translates as “red beach”) gets its name from the reddish-brown soil in the terraced fields that slope down to the bay. The wreck of the historic Malta-Gozo ferryboat ix-Xlendi, which was sunk intentionally as a diving attraction, can be found in the depths just outside the bay.

This picture-perfect cove is well-known for its pristine waters and breathtaking scenery. It’s frequented mainly by locals, and the place is rarely busy — perhaps because of the challenging winding road that gets you down there from the village of Ghajnsielem.

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#2 Mgarr ix-Xini, Xewkija

Mgarr ix-Xini served as a haven for knights’ galleys, and in 1551, during the biggest attack of the islands’ history, it was used by the conquering Turks to load captured Gozitans aboard their vessels. Fast-forward about 450 years: The bay became an overnight sensation due to its prominent role in the 2015 film By the Sea, starring Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt.

Nowadays, a small pebbly beach sits at the mouth of the bay, providing a gradual slope into the water. Locals often prefer to use the small cliffs on the edges as a platform from which to impress their peers with their diving prowess. Mgarr ix-Xini is rarely crowded, making it an ideal site for travelers to immerse themselves in local culture while also experiencing historical significance firsthand.

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#3 Qarraba Bay, Mgarr

If you’re looking to avoid the crowds yet still be close to Mgarr’s striking scenery, water activities, and historical sites, Qarraba Bay is your best bet. Many people refer to this as the nude beach, and although public nudity is forbidden in Malta, the remote location allows for an unfettered environment filled with peace and tranquility. Getting there requires about a 20-minute trek through rocky terrain, but once you arrive, you’ll be rewarded with a calm environment perfect for sunbathing or swimming in the bay’s pristine waters.

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#4 Coral Lagoon, Mellieha

In the northern part of Malta lies the Coral Lagoon, commonly referred to by locals as Dragonara Cave. The lagoon is a paradise for swimmers and divers alike and is widely considered one of Malta’s most magnificent spots.

#5 Dahlet Qorrot, Nadur

Thanks to the grotto’s exposure to natural light, the water temperature within is somewhat higher than that of the surrounding waters. This stimulates underwater biodiversity, which is excellent news for anybody who enjoys snorkeling or scuba diving and appreciates colorful marine life, including dozens of varieties of starfish and magnificent corals.

Reaching the Coral Lagoon requires traveling a bit off the beaten path, but the payoff is well worth the time and energy. The beach is close to the Chapel of Immaculate Conception and is a somewhat walkable distance from Armier Bay Beach.

Dahlet Qorrot is not officially a beach but a fisherman’s port. A few local fishermen still utilize the cove, having converted caves at the foot of the cliffs into boat homes and warehouses for their fishing equipment. No traveler should miss the opportunity to observe the islanders at work on their colorful boats and traps, especially since it is a piece of Maltese culture that seems to be slowly fading away with time.

The pebble-studded beach is inaccessible by public transport. Having your own rental car is ideal, as the road leading down is relatively well maintained, and decent parking space is also available. For those who do not, there is a clearly marked circular route that begins and ends in Nadur. It leads to the peak of Il-Qortin Isopo, where the Ta’ Sopu Watchtower may be visible facing the sea, flanked by a spectacular landscape of wild rock roses and exotic Maltese spurge.

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#6 St. Peter’s Pool, Marsaxlokk

Favored by both locals and visitors, this swimming spot is at the end of Delimara Point, not far from the tall chimney tower that overlooks Marsaxlokk Bay. A large flat slab surrounds this natural pool, making it an ideal spot to soak up some rays. Go for a leisurely swim in its calm, crystal-clear waters or indulge in a couple of daring dives. Snorkeling is the ideal method of exploring St. Peter’s Pool and discovering the unique aquatic flora and fauna. There is an unofficial parking lot close to the bay, and expect a bumpy ride getting there. Those who prefer to skip the off-road experience may be better off taking public transportation, with the nearest stop only a 30-minute stroll away.

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Cigars For A Cause

OC's Annual Toast for Toys Event Was A Huge Success

Brought to life by Drew Estate & Fuente Cigars, an evening of sampling from premium cigar and spirit brands helped raise toys for children in need this past Holiday Season. Hosted at one of Orange County’s premier social clubs - Hot Rods & Handguns, it was certainly the season's ultimate holiday party and toy drive that gave back to the community. Over 500 toys were raised and festivities included delicious food, live music, giveaways, raffles, and best of all, camaraderie and a friendly atmosphere that only an incredible spirit and delicious cigar can create.

A few attendee favorites included: Cigars from Drew Estate, Arturo Fuente, Nat Cicco, Hiram & Solomon, Miami Cigar, JM Tobacco, Tabac Cigars, and craft samples/cocktails from Brother’s Bond Bourbon, Uncle Nearest Whiskey, NEFT Vodka, Comisario Tequila, NOLET’s Gin, Doc Swinson, Don Q Rum, Chicken Cock Whiskey, Eterno Verano Tequila, Elvis Whiskey, Dos Carras Tequila, Smoke Lab Vodka, Mule 2.0, among others. Can't wait to see what's in store for next year! Join us.

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The most beautiful and unique event venue in Orange County. Presenting a spectacular panoramic view of the Back Bay on 3.5 Acres . · WINE TASTING AND TOUR PARTIES · BRIDAL SHOWERS / BABY SHOWERS · CORPORATE EVENTS · ENGAGEMENT PARTIES · BIRTHDAYS Wine Goat Brunch on the 1st Sunday of each month. 2128 MESA DRIVE • NEWPORT BEACH, CA 92660 949-645-2200 www.nbwine.com PLAN YOUR NEXT EVENT ON NEWPORT’S BACK BAY The Wine Cave

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#6 St. Peter’s Pool, Marsaxlokk

page 129

#3 Qarraba Bay, Mgarr

pages 127-128

#2 Mgarr ix-Xini, Xewkija

page 126

The Enthusiast Guide To Best Hidden Beaches MALTA’S

pages 124-125

BIG LAUGHS Funny Man Donnell Rawlings Is Back In Action

pages 115-121

for the Par COURSE

pages 108-114

In His Honor

pages 106-107

Mario Andretti Has a Passion for Life, Cars, and Wine

pages 102-105

Smoking Gun

pages 92-94, 96-97, 99

Mercedes-Benz G-Class

page 91


pages 86-90

Fenny Castle Blanc de Noir 2017

page 85

Bluebell Vineyard Hindleap Rosé 2016

page 84


page 83

Louis Pommery England Brut 2017

page 82

Five English Sparkling Wines You Need to Try

page 81

The unstoppable rise of English sparkling wine Pop CULTURE

page 80


pages 66-69, 71-73, 75, 77

Scotland’s Oldest Suit Maker

pages 63-65

Hate It Love It OR

pages 46, 48-49, 51-55, 57-59

Vodka & Gins Gins

pages 28-35

4 5 Davidoff of Geneva Cigar Bar

pages 27-28

Casa Fuente 2

pages 25-26

THE TOP 5 Men’s Spring Fragrances

pages 22-24

THE TOP 4 Men’s Spring Style Investment Pieces

pages 18-20, 22

Morgan Plus Four

page 16

Drop-Tops for Spring Cruising

pages 12-14

You must push forward.

page 6
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