Before we get into the drinking part of this week’s column, I have to share some news about a store that I consider the finest purveyor of leather fashion accessories in our region.
For the past quarter century I have purchased everything from pill boxes to shoes to handbags from Carlos Klejman, the kindly, well mannered gentleman who owns the small, yet exquisite Vigant store inside the Bellevue at Broad and Walnut streets in Philly (215 735 5057). Carlos exudes European charm yet hails from Chile and this dapper diminutive man has a talent for finding fine Italian leather and distinctive accessories for his upscale shop.
Carlos also loves fine wine and we have spent far too many hours in his store discussing the type of fine leather a good Cabernet often imitates in its perfume. We have even worked at events together. I have spoken about the wines I’m pouring while Carlos serenades us with the magical sounds he produces from his violin, as one might expect from this retired violinist from the New York Philharmonic.
Among the many remarkable treasures one can find in Vigant are high-quality leather handbags, hand-dyed and stitched by craftsmen in Italy. Carlos has broken my heart this past week by informing me that at his rather advanced age he has been persuaded to retire and join his son in Israel. And so I am about to lose a good friend and a wonderful source for all my leather purchases. He has decided to move in a matter of months, so I urge you to make the most of the deep discounts he is offering on the treasures still remaining in his store. Take in a bottle of wine and spend a while with a man who has had a remarkable life with many stories to tell.
Every night at 6 p.m. I stop whatever I’m doing, and unscrew a bottle of single malt whisky. I drink a decent amount from a cut glass tumbler. I then break the serious whisky imbiber’s rulebook and I plop a cube of ice into the glorious drink. Ice actually “burns’ the whisky, and the appropriate additive is simply “a wee dram of water.”
Which reminds me. When I was a young lad in the UK the adults would have a syphon of soda on the bar. It would release what we now call club soda, from it’s very 50’s style container. Question for readers: Were syphons used in this country and does anyone know where I can buy one? (I always look forward to the correspondence these questions elicit from our readers).
My particular favorite tipple is McClellan’s Single Malt from Islay in Scotland (approx $22). It is found wherever your wine and spirits buying takes you. The island of Islay is one of the traditional whisky producing regions of Scotland. This product, typical of Islay (pronounced Aye Lah) is full-bodied, smoky, and peaty with a magnificent complex flavor (remember no “e” if it’s from Scotland) This is a good opportunity for me to put an end to a serious insult to the folks from Scotland. I constantly hear people (Jay Leno was one example) refer to inhabitants of that country as “Scotch.” The drink is Scotch, the people, are Scottish. Perhaps you’ll enlighten anyone you hear making that mistake. Slàinte mhòr agad!
Phillip Silverstone’s column appears each week in this publication. “Time Out With Phillip Silverstone” is heard worldwide anywhere and anytime on Tunein Radio. On their app search: Phillip Silverstone or on the web at http://bit.ly/1kqcRmk. New podcasts are available every Saturday. For more information about Phillip: http://www.thesilverstonecollection.com