Dazzling Watches, Vivid Jewelry, Sumptuous Spirits and More

David Arky for Forbes

Annual Calendar Watches (clockwise from top): Sky-Dweller in stainless steel and yellow gold by Rolex ($17,150); Harmony Complete Calendar in pink gold ($43,000); Heritage Chronométrie Quantième Annuel in red gold by Montblanc ($11,400); Chronograph Annual Calendar Ref. 5905P in platinum by Patek Philippe ($78,248); 1815 Annual Calendar in pink gold by A. Lange & Söhne ($40,400).
Style Editor: Barry Samaha

It’s That Time of Year

Want one less thing to worry about in 2018? How about what the date is? Sure, your phone may have that information but isn’t it easier—and more elegant—to look at your wrist? An annual calendar watch, above, solves that complication for you—providing the month and date (often the day), and only requires adjustment once a year. (In February.) Of course, if the idea of a multi-faceted timepiece has a different meaning to you, there’s always a watch with diamonds. Here are seven bright ideas for someone on your Very Nice List.

David Arky for Forbes

Clockwise from top: Limelight Gala watch in 18k white gold with diamonds by Piaget ($33,300); Panthère de Cartier watch by cartier in 18k white gold with diamonds ($25,200); Slim d’Hermès watch by Hermés in stainless steel with diamonds ($7,225); LVCEA watch with diamonds by Bulgari (price upon request); Classic Fusion Titanium Full Pavé watch by Hublot ($36,600); East West watch in stainless steel with diamonds by Tiffany ($6,900); Royal Oak Quartz watch in stainless steel with diamonds by Audemars Piguet ($15,300). Style Editor: Barry Samaha

David Arky for Forbes

Emerald-cut sapphire earrings with diamonds by Harry Winston (price upon request).

Romancing the Stones

Whether it’s a birthstone or simply a signature hue, colored jewelry always makes a statement, firing up any wardrobe. And when paired with white diamonds, the warmth of precious gems—sapphires, rubies, amethysts—provides balance to the cool ice. Vibrant colored jewels have also been rock stars at auction lately, meaning today’s glittering gift could be tomorrow’s brilliant investment.

David Arky for Forbes

Une Journée à Paris bracelet in 18k white and yellow gold with white and yellow diamonds by Van Cleef & Arpels (price upon request).

Pavé Dome ruby earrings set in blackened 18k gold and detachable drops with Tahitian cultured pearls by Mish New York ($72,000).

David Arky for Forbes

Lady Stardust Large Bracelet in 18k white gold with rubies by Stephen Webster ($27,500).

David Arky for Forbes

Haute Couture ring in 18k white gold with sapphires by Roberto Coin ($90,000).

David Arky for Forbes

Platinum Bracelet with chrysoprase and mixed-cut diamonds by Tiffany ($280,000).

David Arky for Forbes

High Jewellery Collection earrings with pink sapphires and amethysts set in 18k white gold by Chopard (price upon request).

David Arky for Forbes

Ruby and diamond necklace by Nirav Modi (price upon request).

Finishing School

With whiskies—as in business—it’s not how you start; it’s how you finish. Three decades ago, Scottish distilleries began experimenting with maturing whisky in a second cask that once held wine or port or sherry. The result was a richer, more complex spirit with new flavors that complemented the whisky that had already been aging in its original cask. Today the practice is common with Irish, American and even Taiwanese whiskies. And given that there are always new casks to experiment with, there’s seemingly no end to all these finishes. Here’s how to get started.

David Arky for Forbes

Left to right: Port finish (sweet, dried fruit): Kavalan Concertmaster ($99); Sauternes finish (sweet, light fruit): Glenmorangie Nectar d’Or ($69); Sherry finish (dried, spiced fruit): The Macallan Rare Cask ($300); Rum finish (sweet molasses or vanilla): The Balvenie Caribbean Cask ($69); Beer finish (sweet, creamy malt): Jameson Caskmates ($30); Madeira finish (Sweet fruits, spices): The Tyrconnell Ten-Year-Old Madeira Cask ($75). Spirits editor: Karla Alindahao

The XO Factor

David Arky for Forbes

Left to right: Hennessy XO Limited Edition by Marc Newson ($200); Rémy Martin XO ($150); D’USSE XO ($230); Courvoisier XO ($150); Martell XO ($180). Spirits editor: Karla Alindahao

For a complex French spirit, cognac comes in grades with simple English names. Moving up the ladder, there’s VS (or Very Special, with eaux-de-vie aged for a minimum of two years), VSOP (Very Superior Old Pale, aged for at least four years) and then there’s XO, which stands for Extra Old. Traditionally, the youngest brandy in an XO had to be at least six years old, but starting in April 2018, the minimum will be ten years. Think of it as Extra Extra Old.

The Rise of Ryes

David Arky for Forbes

Front row: Hochstadter’s Family Reserve ($200); Redemption 18-Year-Old Rye, the Ancients Collection ($450); Lock Stock & Barrel 18-Year Straight Rye ($230); Ragtime Rye ($44). Back row: Whistle Pig The Boss Hog, The Black Prince IVth edition ($499); Michter’s US*1 Toasted Barrel Finish Rye ($75); Old Potrero Single Malt Straight Rye Whiskey ($70). Spirits editor: Karla Alindahao

Bourbon may get all the glory, but its cocktail cousin rye has also been enjoying quite a boom. Sales of rye whiskey in the United States have increased 900% in the past eight years—or $160 million. Credit George Washington himself for the American renaissance–the founding father (and cause of the Whiskey Rebellion) made his own rye at Mount Vernon, and his original distillery reopened there in 2007. As for the taste, rye is bolder and spicier than bourbon–which is made from at least 51% corn, hence the sweetness. So if you like a cocktail dry, go with rye.

Flower Power

David Arky for Forbes

Left to right: Wildly Attractive Eau de Parfum by Diana Vreeland Parfums, ($250); Jason Wu Eau de Parfum ($145); Twilly d’Hermès Eau de Parfum by Hermès ($130); Gabrielle Eau de Parfum by Chanel ($135); Woman by Ralph Lauren Eau de Parfum ($110); Gucci Bloom Eau de Parfum ($124); Aerin Tuberose Le Jour Parfum by AERIN ($215). Style editor: Barry Samaha

Floral fragrances are in full bloom this fall with some bold new perfumes. Among the high notes are tuberose, Arabian jasmine and orange blossom in scents that are meant for day but, like a hothouse, sultry enough for night. One thing is certain: These are not for wallflowers.