Sandeman's Vintage Port With Velvet Belt
That's the belt from today's smoking jacket. I'm cheating but I think velvet pairs well with Port. Eight years ago I secured a 1966 vintage that was not too dear and simply delightful. Those days are long gone with the '66 pushing it's way upwards of $400. This delightful '77 is just a smidge north of $100 and it amazes me.
I was first introduced to Port whilst working in London. Lunch for two back then consisted of a couple pints of bitter each before eating. A shared bottle of wine with lunch and port with cheese afterwards. Then it was back to Lloyd's of London where the common practice amongst brokers was to pitch their risks to underwriters who were pissed from lunch. Of course, almost everyone was pissed from lunch.
I returned home, somewhere in the Midwest, and my Midwest wife told me if I didn't stop talking like an affected asshole she was going to knock the crap out of me. You may desire to do the same just about now.
I decant Port and instead of a candle I use a torch. Makes the process a little less charming but far safer. Ports have a lot of sediment. More so than a claret but it doesn't have to be wasted. I was taught by a budget minded Scot to eat it on a bikkie. The aroma of Port sediment reminds me of Cusson's Imperial Leather hand soap. Distinctive and comforting but how that little decal stays on the soap is nothing short of magical.
Port with Stilton cheese and some walnuts after dinner beat the bloody trousers off a pudding any day. A creamy Stilton cut with the velvet sweetness of Sandemans whilst munching on walnuts is something in life to cherish. It's... civilized. Like that velvet smoking jacket. Two luxuries that have become necessities.
Another luxury I enjoy in the states is catching up on the London social scene via Tatler magazine. My English friend Mutley and I were on the train in that Midwest place and discussing his insurance retention on a recent mishap where a stone kicked up by a lorrie cracked his windscreen.
Once that was settled, I pulled out the latest issue of Tatler and pointed to the page with the party photographs. "Oh, if we were only back in London, Mutley" I said, admiring a photo of Alice Beer's cleavage wrapped tight in some gauzy fabric resembling a cummerbund. Mutley took a sip of his Old Style, looked at me disapprovingly and said, "Tintin, those people would never talk to you." And rightly so.