Oslo is a beautiful city. All year round. Whether you are a resident or just happen to visit Oslo from out of town you should go to the cocktail bar with the greatest view of the city - Summit Bar.
From here you get to see the Oslo fjord and the whole city. And enjoy a great cocktail as well. The locals visit the lounge bar for a romantic date or business meeting and the ambience is relaxed.
A couple of weeks back I visited the bar that was famous back in the 80's as Oslos premium skybar. I had shied this bar for years but now rumors were going that the bar had been heavily refurbished and had modernised every square centimeter. So finally I went.
You cannot avoid the first impression of the spectacular view. It hits you straight in the face when you exit the escalator on the 21st floor of the Radisson Blu Scandinavia. Unfolding before your eyes, the view of the city and the fjord is magnificent. Once inside the bar you will see the lounges designed by the respected architects at Snøhetta.
Snøhetta have created an intimate yet open atmosphere through contrasting the view with the interior. Interior design choices evidently tie the fjord in the front to the mountains in the back. The colour palette and use of materials is striking and consequently create a modern look and feel.
On a side note I do recommend a visit to the mens room. You better not be shy.
Bartenders are well educated and friendly. They make really, really good cocktails with a modern and Scandinavian twist. I like that they are exploring contemporary tastes and styles rather than going safe and boring.
Summit Bar is all in all a nice place for an after-shopping or pre-dinner cocktail. For now still undetected by most locals.
Testing the Bose QC35 for a couple of weeks reminded me of the title from Kings of Convenience's debut album Quiet is the new loud.
I am an established user of noise cancelling headphones already. I bought the first generation headphones from Bose many years ago and I was kinda curious about how these new and wireless headphones would turn out. Had they improved the noise cancelling system? How was the overall sound quality? And are they still comfortable? Are they worth a premium?
Currently I can not even handle a short flight without my old Bose headphones. They are superb at cancelling out aircraft noise, the person next to me and the flight attendants trying to serve me coffee. There is only one problem. Slight pressure occurs inside the ear cups. And that can be a little uncomfortable at times.
Well, another drawback is that my wife totally banned the use of these after a situation on a flight to Malaysia when I fell asleep while my wife tended to our crying baby. The noise cancelling system was too good.
Bose sent me a pair of the new Bose QC35 to test for 14 days.
First of all the new ones look better than the old ones. Other than that the feel of quality and build is the same old Bose. They both feel sturdy and luxurious. On the new Bose QC35 the soft cushion on the ear cups and alcantara headband give that impression of luxury. There is no play in joints, and I guess the new ones are built as good as the old ones, so they'll hold for years.
So where is the difference, and why would I spend another chunk of cash on the new ones?
Let me start with the most obvious improvement. They're wireless. And they have battery life lasting a full day of use. They connect easily to my iPhone via Bluetooth. The Bose Connect App helps in pairing devices. Other than that the app brings no added value. It is simply put quite uninteresting and unneeded. I hope Bose will work on it some more or just drop the whole thing.
To connect to my computer I need the mini-jack cable that is in the box. An airline standard dual-jack prong is also in the box.
On the old headphones there are two sound settings where I can turn noise cancellation on or off. On the new ones noise cancelling is always on. That made me sceptical at first, but in fact the noise cancelling system have clearly improved over the years.
Sound quality is good, and better than before. But these are obviously not hifi headphones. They have another mission. Mid-tones are a bit too flat, and in general they are very conservative. On the positive side they sound really good in low volume situations with enough bass to enhance a good sound image.
To test the noise cancelling system I took my family to the local playground.
Noise cancellation is still really good. In fact also quieter in a way and with almost unnoticeable vacuum pressure inside the cups. The improvement is that the system block out all background noise but I can still hear what people are trying to tell me. As clear as without headphones. It is remarkable actually that kids shouting and playing is quiet, but what my wife tells me about me looking great with headphones on (no not really) is loud.
So quiet is actually the new loud.
Being on a trip sometimes bring you to places that you never thought to visit. The Mercedes Benz Museum is to me one of those places.
I am not a big fan of museums. I have visited a lot of them, but I usually find them quite boring. And that is why I want to share this special place with you. In just 30 seconds walking through the main entrance and into the grand and welcoming hall my mind instantly went from boredom to enthusiasm. The Mercedes Benz Museum building is looking exciting from the outside because of the architecture, but so many museums do. On the inside on the other hand it is looking like a science fiction movie set with elegant and appropriate time capsules bringing visitors to the upper floors where the exhibition tour starts.
The architecture of the 7 storey building is constructed as a double helix to indicate that you are now inside the DNA of Mercedes Benz. The exhibition halls are also following a double helix pathway connected to lead the visitor from one beautiful car to another. The design of the building is also perfect to show off the heritage and history of MB as well as the evolution of technology and aesthetics through time.
The tour starts at the beginning with Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz and their cars from 1886. In the end you are at present time, but you will have seen everything. Formula 1 cars, Silver Arrows, buses and tractors. A bike, an early boat, emperors limousines and motion picture cars. You will have seen all the icons of car history.
One moment stuck with me from my visit to the museum. The sun was setting while we were looking at the entire history of Formula 1 safety cars. This is both the history of Mercedes Benz and Formula 1. At the moment it is the Mercedes Benz AMG GTS that saves the day at the Formula 1 race track.
In short this museum has it all. You may be interested in cars, but the Mercedes Benz Museum goes beyond cars in my opinion. Beautiful design in a beautiful setting, history and technology hand in hand. Even your wife and kids will have a good time!
Visit this summer. Stuttgart is the nearest airport.
Tickets are only 8.00 EUR for adults and complimentary for kids below the age of 15.
You get what you pay for. That is my mantra. Now and then I have to reconsider. A bottle of Aberfeldy 12 YO is not cheap, but not overpriced either. It is simply put a quality single malt scotch whisky, priced at a comfortable level. But how good is it?
Aberfeldy was established in 1898 and have a long tradition for distillation of good single malt whisky. Owned by Dewars every drop of this single malt have usually been used for blending in Dewars Blended Whisky. Finally they have released their single malt on a wide distribution.
The story of Aberfeldy is also a story of water. This whisky have a rather special water source, the Pitilie Burn, also called "The Pool of the Water God". The bottom of the water stream that runs by Aberfeldy is covered in gold dust and that is why Aberfeldy whisky is known as "The Golden Dram".
If you would like to read more on how whisky is made - read my post on the topic. Review follows underneath.
Region: Highlands, Scotland
Mashbill: 100% Malted Barley
Cask: American bourbon, Sherry
Appearance: Amber color, clear, medium legs.
Nose: Nice and comfortable. Tones of malt, vanilla, honey and caramel. Some dried fruits - is that apricot or the more exotic pineapple? Definite earthiness. When unsealing the bottle there is a rich almond aroma that disappears pretty fast. Pouring a second glass two days later and it is gone.
Palate: On the tongue it is quite rich and start off with a ripe fruitiness mixed with a strong malt. Honey is there, so is orange rind and almonds. Oak aroma appears, with a tiny bitterness. Kind of like chewing your pencil at school.
Finish: A long finish. Dry and well seasoned. Apricots are back with vanilla and distinct cinnamon now.
Balance: Nice balance.
Body and texture: Full bodied with a soft texture.
Overall: An elegant and balanced whisky. Not very challenging or provocative, but a really good everyday single malt.
Goodwood Members Meeting 74th started today on March 19th. Traditionally this is England's most prestigious meeting for classic cars. Every year Lord March invites cars, owners and enthusiasts to recreate the atmosphere of car racing in the 50s and 60s at his Goodwood estate in Chichester.
This year there will be 12 races during a full weekend. To me the highlight is in Group 5 for race cars and Silver Arrows. The event brings lots of opportunities to see classic cars and race cars that really belong in a museum.
A week before Goodwood 74th I joined in on getting the Silver Arrows ready for racing. Before a race like this the cars are separated into parts and then rebuilt and tuned by specialized mechanics with Mercedes in Stuttgart.
The watch manufacture IWC Schaffhausen introduced three classically inspired Ingenieur models at this years Goodwood festival. IWC took upon them the responsibility to ship the legendary W196 og W25 Silver Arrows to England for this event. Since their partnership started with Formula 1 in 2013 the Mercedes AMG Petronas and IWC Schaffhausen have emphasized their fellow values for technical innovation and workmanship. This is also why the Ingenieurs these last few years have had the more modern design expression of Gérald Genta. With the new classic design on the Ingenieur chronographs IWC will connect racing history with watchmaking history. The bond between IWC and Mercedes AMG again makes a lot of sense and in my opinion it grows stronger as we clearly can see the history and tradition from both brands connected.
Ingenieur Chronograph Edition "74th Members' Meeting at Goodwood" is all about this years event at the southern coast of England. The watch is limited to 74 pieces and comes in a solid red gold case at 42 mm. This case have a more classic expression in contrast to the more technically inspired case from Gérald Gentas typical Ingenieur design. The black dial with the three subdials and tachymeter scale is evidently inspired by the dashboard of a classic sports car. (Ref IW380703)
Ingenieur Chronograph Edition "Rudolf Caracciola" is a steel watch measuring in at 42 mm and limited to 750 pieces. Rudolf Caracciola was a legendary race car driver who won three european championships in the 1930s. (Ref IW380702)
Ingenieur Chronograph Edition "W125" is picking up on the design from Mercedes Benz W125 Silver Arrow. During the 1930s these cars dominated all the prestigious races. Now IWC presents a great looking 42 mm titanium chronograph limited to 750 pieces.
All these special edition chronographs will be powered by the new in-House calibre 69370 from IWC. Finally IWC launches a new column-wheel movement from inside it's own quarters. It is nothing more than fantastic news in my opinion. They now have a self-designed and self-built chronograph movement with 46 hours power reserve beating at 4 Hz. How wonderful!
On March 14th Rimowa launched their new Electronic Tag which solves the last problem in the digitalization of travelling. We have had the opportunity to travel paperless for quite a few years now. We can even check in from our kitchen during breakfast on our smartphone. Now finally it is the end of the luggage tag with Rimowa's Electronic Tag.
In the near future airlines will send digital luggage tags with your electronic ticket. Rimowa have now integrated a module in the suitcase where you can upload your luggage tag from your smartphone. The display on the module will show your tag directly on the suitcase and the information is identical to what was on the old luggage tag.
When you arrive at the airport you may place your bag directly on the luggage belt at the check-in and move on towards security. The whole check-in procedure will be over and done with within seconds.
This new concept is called Smart Bag among all airlines but no one have yet to start the evolution of travel. Rimowa is the first luggage manufacturer to provide this concept to their customers. Together with Lufthansa they decided it was about time to implement the future of travelling with the Electronic Tag. All other airlines is expected to follow. Quickly.
Coravin is the tool I have been waiting for. It will probably save my marriage.
In my house, when we open a bottle of wine, it is my responsibility to empty the bottle. My wife enjoys a glass for dinner. The rest is all mine. This may not sound like a big problem to you guys, but I like a glass or two of a good wine. More wine on a regular day will get me hungover. And I do not like to waste good wine. When I want that really special bottle from the cellar I certainly want to enjoy every last drop.
Greg Lambrecht, the american inventor of Coravin, have also had problems with left over wine. His background as a wine enthusiast and developer of medical equipment was a perfect combination to solve the problem. The whole intention of Coravin is being able to enjoy a glass or two without spoiling the rest of the bottle by opening it and exposing the wine to oxygen. It is being said that the bottle is perfect for months and even years after pouring a glass with the Coravin.
I have seen reviews of Coravin and had it recommended by fellow wine enthusiasts for a long time now. But I have never tested it myself. Oslo's best kitchen specialist store Howard Kjøkkenskriveri was kind enough to lend me one.
The geniality of Coravin is that it exchanges wine for gas. Argon gas is used by many winemakers already to prevent oxidation of the wine. What Coravin does is simply to give the bottle a fresh dose of Argon gas when you pour a glass.
The tool itself consists of a gas cylinder, a nozzle with a handle on, a clamp and a very thin needle. My first thought was that the needle would be a weak spot, but the whole thing reeks of quality. It feels solid and there is no play in expected weak joints. The needle is surprisingly sturdy. I find myself to enjoy the exclusive feeling of the Coravin. From the very first tests to daily use it feels safe and solid.
It is so incredibly easy to use. You just clamp the thing to your bottle and push the needle all the way through the cork. A gentle push on the trigger and Argon flows into the bottle, when you release the trigger wine comes out. It is just as easy as it sounds.
When you are happy with your glass you can just retract the needle, place the Coravin on it's base and restock your bottle in the cellar.
I did some tests on a bottle ready for consumtion so when I opened it I could inspect the cork from all sides. I had then done three tests going through the cork. Underneath the cork I could find traces of all three perforations, but as promised they were like microcracks in the cork and had resealed perfectly.
Before my tests I was naturally very sceptical. I can still remember the Vacuvin winepump that stayed in my kitchen drawer for years unused. It was a dreadful product.
I was sceptical to the build of the Coravin and I was sceptical to how well a half full bottle of wine will stay good in the cellar. The first part I am no longer worried about. The latter I will test on a half full bottle of Burgundy that will stay in my cellar for a year.
No matter how that bottle hold up in a years time I am sure that Coravin will be my new wine toy. Finally I can enjoy one glass of wine and keep the rest fresh as new for another day. Viva Coravin!
International wine enthusiasts can find more information on Coravin and your local retailer here.
My first visit to Scotland was sometime back in the mid 90s. I went with a friend to visit his hometown Dundee, and this is where and when I had my first taste of scotch whisky.
If I forget the fact that I almost had my nose smashed in by one of the regulars at the neighborhood pub, and that I almost threw up my breakfast on my friend's mom the next morning. Then the rest of this trip was unforgettable. Before this trip to Scotland I had, like most teenage men before me, tried a couple of bottles in my dad's liquor cabinet. Usually he had some bourbon or blended whisky in there. I remember it felt like my tongue was dissolving and my throat was ripped out when I tasted his brown liquor.
Well, back to Dundee. My friend's father had planned a trip to the Edradour distillery, and we were coming along. Edradour is located in the idyllic highland. But before joining the trip we had to get a whisky for dummies intro course. Remembering my own father's sharp and bitter whisky I had no intention to really enjoy the glass placed in front of me. Little did I know then, that my first sip of real whisky would touch me in such a deep and intense way that it would change my life. I can honestly say that whisky was the starting point of long journey in taste.
It was a 25 yo Glenmorangie we got in the first glass that evening. The rest is long forgotten, but that first sip of scotch whisky is stuck in my taste memory. The soft opening feeling on the tongue, almost like thick cream with aromas of vanilla, caramel and dried berries coming one after another. The end was floral and almost endless. And so light.
This savory experience was so complete that it still is my hallmark when I am searching for my next thrilling adventure in taste.
Throughout the years I've had many whisky favorites, but I am still relatively simple and will always be comfortable with the standard Glenmorangie or Macallan. But it is usually a single malt scotch whisky. Some know-it-all's say they can enjoy a 3 yo as much as a 21 yo. I find that to be nonsense. Of course I will enjoy a 10 yo, but I will always choose the 18 yo or older if I get to. If you ever have a chance to do a vertical tasting you can make up your own mind.
A vertical tasting is when you drink several vintages from the same distillery or vineyard. On whisky it seldom states vintage on the bottle, but the age will always be on the label. The age will be the youngest barrel blended in the single malt, ex 10 yo will be at least 10 years of age, but usually will have content from older barrels as well. Read more on the topic of scotch whisky at the end of this article.
A tour of a distillery will often end with a vertical tasting of their products. Go on at least one distillery tour when you visit Scotland. These tours will also give you a unique understanding on how scotch whisky is produced and how taste and aromas develop.
All scotch malt whisky is made with malted barley. The Malting is a process where barley is soaked in water before being spread out on a large floor, malting floor. There the barley will start to germinate, or sprout as I would say. The germination is necessary to activate an enzyme that will transform starch into sugar. The barley will now be green malt.
The sprouting barley grains now need to be dried again to stop the germination process to consume all the sugar produced by the grain. The green malt is spread out on large surfaces again, but this time it is perforated drying floors that are heated to above 70°C to stop mildew formation. It is during the drying that the green malt can be flavored with a smoke aroma by adding peat to the kiln underneath the drying floors.
After a couple of days above the kiln, the green malt will finally have become malt. The malt will then be sieved and then milled into grist, a very coarse malt flour. The grist will then be mixed into hot water to a mash. After about an hour the sugary malt water, now called wort, is sieved off and transferred into the wash tanks where yeast is added. The fermentation will spend a couple of days transforming all the sugar from the wort into alcohol. The fluid now called the wash is about 8-9 % alcohol.
The wash is pumped directly into distilling in a pot still. All maltwhisky is distilled twice. First in the wash still, then for a second distillation in the low wines still.
After distilling the whiskyen will hold above 70% alcohol and the alcohol needs to be lowered inbetween 64-65 % for storage. When desired percentage is reached the whisky will be transferred into oak barrels and stored for at least 3 years. In my opinion it should be at least 10 years, and most distilleries store most of their barrels for decades. I have tasted directly from a barrel more than 60 years old, and it was delicious!
There are many factors influencing the development of flavor and aromas in whisky. Many of you may recognize the pre-distillation process as similar to that of making beer, and you will find that tastes are developed in the same manner. Water is of course a prerequisite and most distilleries are utilizing their local water source like a river running by the distillery. The quality of the barley is important as it influences the malt, but also the germination process, the drying and the amount of peat all be varying factors influencing taste. The yeast will of course bring flavor, so will the choice of barrels.
Now if you really want to delve into the details of making whisky one of the better sites will be Whisky.com . Here you will find everything from fermentation chemistry to tasting sheets.
You will find several scandinavian whisky distilleries. In Sweden they have the famous Mackmyra, Denmark have Stauning, Finland have their Teerenpeli and in Norway we have Buran and Tautra that will start selling their sales now in 2016. We also have Myken already selling theirs.
Needs no further introduction to the expert of scotch whisky as they are mostly mistaken for scotch whisky in blind tastings. To all the experts irritation. Have a long tradition for making solid quality whisky now. Be on the lookout for Nikka, Yamazaki, Suntory and Hakushu - the latter three owned by Suntory.
A method where you blend whisky from several distilleries or where you use an expensive malt whisky as base and blend in cheap grain whisky to lower the price of the end product.
Whisky produced at one distillery. A blend of several barrels of different vintage/storage. The year stated on bottle is the youngest barrel in the blend.
Whisky of one single barrel from one single distillery.
Whisky where the alcohol percentage of the barrel is kept, usually 64-65 %.
SIHH 2016 was novelty wise a good year. All the major manufactures gave us some challenging watches. Most in a good way, but some in a bad. Audemars Piguet came out with this years most provoking line in my opinion. Who they made these wild colors on the Royal Oak Offshore Diver Chronograph for is beyond me. Usually I can spot what market a watch is made for, but these creatures is impossible to place in any market. Audemars Piguet is taking a risk with these colors and I am anxious to hear how the sales turn out.
Well, it can only be better news from now on. Below I will highlight the watches I really liked from SIHH 2016. You may have seen some already, but I hope to show you a few pieces that you missed.
Timezone watches is a trend this year. The one from IWC turned out better than I had predicted. You may read more on it here.
I already published my A. Lange & Söhne favourites from SIHH 2016 on an other article you may find here.
Audemars Piguet released a lot of beauties this year opposed to the above selection. They are among the most exciting manufactures in my opinion and that is also why they sometimes fail. However they did not fail on the Royal Oak Concept Supersonnerie, a Minute Repeater measuring 44 mm in a Royal Oak Concept titanium casing. Contrasting black open works dial and white gold hands is simplicity in design, but absolutely stunning in execution. A tourbillon and chronograph is a given feature in this price range.
Diamond Fury is a ladies watch with balls. This watch is maybe obvious and excessive, but I find it so attractive with the punk rock appearance and the 4635 brilliant cut diamonds on the bracelet. It took 206 diamonds to cover the dial alone.
The Jules Audemars line is usually overlooked because of the strong Royal Oak line from Audemars Piguet. I am sad to say that this beauty will not be different. Jules Audemars Tourbillon Chronograph in a 18K pink gold case, at 41 mm, with a brown open works dial, is a piece of art in my opinion.
IWC launched so many novelties this year that I had a hard time picking my favourites. A favourite amongst all the journalists at SIHH 2016 was Big Pilots Annual Calendar Edition "Le Petit Prince". One thing is for sure. IWC made this years most gorgeous rotor. I also find the Annual Calendar complication to work very well on this dial. The case is a 46 mm pink gold beauty with the IWC calibre 52850 on the inside.
I have never tried to cover up my anticipation for Timezoner. You can find my first mention here. And I was not dissapointed. This watch is mean. By pressing the bezel down you can turn it to the correct timezone and release. The watch automatically adjust time and date. IWC is the first manufacture to manage such a complication. The date change both back and forth when passing 24:00. If you want to know the time on the other side of the world before you call a friend there, you just twist and check. The watch comes in a steel casing at 45 mm.
This year IWC made a brilliant move with their flagship Pilots. Mark XVIII came back to the simple and trusted dial design and became one millimeter smaller, back to 40 mm. A great entry level watch, but now back to the classic look. Finally.
First of all you should check out the video on top. That video is pure watchporn, and the new Overseas is hot. The new modular interchangeable bracelet are an attractive new feature, but it is also just the start of the changes on this model. The fact that Vacheron Constantin now are developing their own movements on this line is fantastic news. A real in-house chronograph movement from Vacheron Constantin touches a watch fanatic to the roots.
The Patrimony Perpetual Calendar Platine also deserve to be highlighted. Both case and dial is made from platinum. With this remarkably elegant and discreet watch Vacheron Constantin did everything right to honour the 50s moonphase and calendar watches. A modern interpretation in a 41,5 mm case limited to only 100 pieces.
SIHH 2016: A. Lange & Söhne: SIHH 2016 is happening as we speak and novelties from all manufactures are puring into my mailbox. A. Lange & Söhne launched a couple of goodies that I want to share with you. Above you can see the new version of a cult classic, the Lange 1 "Lumen", now with moon phase. A new tourbillon Datograph with a black dial is also very exciting news.
Read more on SIHH here.
A. Lange & Söhne named their new black beauty Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon. They spent a lot of time and resources on combining several complex mechanisms in a movement with the established A. Lange & Söhne feel. I believe it is a smart move to launch this watch with the black dial. The aesthetics of the Datograph is kept and the black plays well with the 41,5 mm platinum case. Inside you will find a L952.2 movement. The watch is limited to only 100 pieces. See a video of the watch at A. Lange & Söhne.
Saxonia Moon Phase comes in both white gold and pink gold. It is a clear cultivation of the Saxonia line. The balance in the dial design with the date at 12 o'clock and the moon phase at 6 o'clock gives this watch an elegant and classic look. The case is 40 mm. One other special thing about this watch is that it will run continuously without the need to reset for 122,6 years. It has a power reserve of 72h, but wind it and it will last two lifetimes. That is impressive for a relatively inexpensive watch.
The classic Lange 1 now comes in a 38,5 mm white gold case. After the relaunch last year of the new and improved L121.1 movement, this edition is a welcomed addition to the pink gold, yellow gold and platinum.
A new Richard Lange watch is nothing but spectacular. The fact that A. Lange & Söhne have wanted to do a jumping seconds is not that unexpected, but when it turns out to be as good as the new Richard Lange Jumping Seconds, then I am all in. The platinum case measures 39,9 mm, and the dial is a beautiful Regulator style dial. A constant-force mechanism keeps perfect time throughout the entire deload of the spring. Power reserve is 42 h, and at 10 h remaining there will be a red indicator at 4 o'clock. The watch comes limited to 100 pieces.
Finally there will be a new edition to the 2013 cult classic "Lumen". Grand Lange 1 Moon Phase "Lumen" discloses that it is a moon phase, but the production of this luminous moon is quite special. The moon dial is cut in glass and there have been 1164 stars embossed in the glass by a special laser technique. The luminous material have been placed on the back of this glass. The main dial is made of a special black glass that only permits the UV spectrum that charge the lumen to come through. 72 h power reserve and a 41 mm platinum case.
Mer informasjon hos A. Lange & Söhne.