Branding and partnerships between booze and clothing brands are nothing new. Generally, though, they’re reserved for swag like baseball caps, T-shirts and slap bracelets. There’s nothing wrong with that, but when you’re ready to take your style game to the next level (or buy swanky gifts for a very special person), look to whiskey.
A number of brands have begun partnering with high-end designers, offering upscale apparel and accessories appealing to the stylish drinker. Check out these nine whiskeys and their fashions below. Look cool, drink cool.
Back in the dark ages of the 1980s and ’90s, a lot of traditional bourbon brands were taken off store shelves in the U.S. but continued to sell overseas. I.W. Harper, a Kentucky label that has existed in one form or another since the late 1800s, is back in the U.S. for the first time in 20 years, available as a classic straight bourbon and an elegant 15-year-old, sourced from stock at the Bernheim and other distilleries.
Not dissimilarly, Goorin Bros. has been in the hat-making business since 1895. It weathered the “hatless” decades from the 1960s through the 2000s just fine and now is a premiere destination for hipsters, dandies and sharp-dressed young men and women, with locations in trendy spots like Brooklyn’s Williamsburg, Manhattan’s West Village, and the Linq shopping district in Las Vegas. This fall, I.W. Harper and Goorin partnered to offer The Harper ($160), an exclusive classic black large-brimmed fedora with a gold band and the I.W. Harper name located discreetly inside the crown.
This summer, classic Highland single-malt Glenmorangie teamed up with British eyewear manufacturer Finlay & Co. They unveiled stylish shades with wood frames made from oak barrels that once held the premium scotch. It’s not the first time sunglasses have been crafted from whisky casks, but it’s the first time at such a posh level. The limited-edition Glenmorangie Originals ($450) are individually numbered, come in Glenmorangie-colored packaging and highlight the natural wood grain of the barrels. Only downside? They don’t smell like whisky.
Handsewn cashmere-lined hairsheep leather gloves by Dents
This British gin, which began in 1845 (and was a favorite of Winston Churchill), relaunched in the U.S. two years ago. To help celebrate the revival (and new bottle design), Boodles partnered with luxe British glove manufacturer Dents to create handsewn cashmere-lined hairsheep leather gloves ($195). They feature Boodles’ signature blue in the stitching and lining, along with a small branded button closure—a fine accessory for cooler weather.
Sometimes we think of whiskey as a cool-weather drink. But this (relatively) light-bodied bourbon is perfect for summer sipping or paired with ginger beer. Last year, the brand teamed up with Maine-based Quoddy to offer a handcrafted leather “drinking shoe,” inspired by the Kentucky whiskey. One-hundred pairs of the most comfortable boat shoes you could get your feet on, they are worth keeping an eye out for.
This year, the brand looks to accessorizing for the holidays with a Bourbon Holiday Shop, from an innovative lazy-Susan Whiskey Wheel to copper-encased candles evoking aromatic elements found in whiskey, like citrus, smoke and oak. For our purposes, look no further than The Generous Traveler ($349), a sturdy canvas and leather weekender tote, limited to 50 bags, available at Huckberry and created by Stanley & Sons Apron and Bag Co. of Springs, N.Y. Among the details is an interior sleeve specifically designed to cradle a bottle of whiskey.
Last year, Dewar’s began rolling out expressions of some of the single-malt whiskeys that go into making its classic blended scotch. Glen Deveron (MacDuff) distillery is the northernmost booze maker on the Scottish mainland, located near the rugged wind-swept North Sea coastline. Reflecting its origins, The Deveron arrives in a green bottle evocative of weathered sea glass.
To help launch the new label (along with sister single malts Aultmore and Royal Brackla), it created a series of high-end “tomes” (gift boxes) featuring a bottle and various fine accessories. Titled Calm from the Storm, the oversize book-themed Deveron Tome includes a compass, a glencairn whisky glass and a fashion watch (along with the whisky). The watch features an oversize sea-green face, three complications and a faux-alligator leather band. The easy-drinking, 12-year-old whisky is $45 on its own, but the tome will set you back $515.
Outerwear brand Schott NYC launched in 1913, two years after tattoo artist Norman Collins, aka Sailor Jerry, was born. (The rum was named in his honor.) Worlds collide with a limited-edition collaboration of Schott’s classic black cowhide Perfecto jacket (think Marlon Brando and James Dean). The Motorcycle jacket ($900) features antiqued brass hardware and a red satin linking featuring Collins’ distinctive “flash art” (it’s reflected also on the shoulder patch). If you already own too many biker jackets, Schott has partnered with Sailor Jerry to also produce a limited-edition coaster set made of leather ($25).
The U.K. isn’t the only source for whiskey-barrel spectacles. Woodzee, a California-based brand, also makes shades from recycled generic casks, teaming with Kentucky’s Maker’s Mark. It creates about 200 pairs of its Classic frame ($150) from the staves of an ex-bourbon barrel (the frames are re-charred for extra swagger), and the lenses are an ultracool black polycarbonate. The packaging is also made from recycled materials and features eco-friendly soy-based inks.
This Inverness distillery, and its master blender Richard “The Nose” Paterson, deliberately positions itself as a purveyor of traditional high-end whiskeys, and doubled down this summer with the release of a 35-year-old expression (only 1,000 bottles made), with other elegant expressions on the horizon. Last month, the brand teamed with fashion label Paul Stuart for an in-store event in New York City, Chicago and Washington, D.C. Customers received a bottle of The Dalmore 18-year-old (which generally runs about $150) when they spent $4,000 (!!!) or more on a custom suit.
Keep an eye out for these sorts of promotions: Two years ago, Glenmorangie teamed with Thomas Pink, offering three different shirt-and-whisky Perfect Pairings at various price points and inspired by the concept of “style and substance.”
Before the current bourbon craze, there were stalwarts in the industry, like Jim Beam. Oak barrels can be used to age bourbon only once. Often they’re then sent to Scotland or Mexico to age single-malt whisky and tequila, respectively. Original Grain, a new fashion watch company creating innovate wood-and-steel timepieces, has discovered another use: watch faces. Though the company has been making (less expensive) “barrel” watches from used whiskey casks for a while, The Gentleman’s Kit ($499) is its first branded partnership. The Miyota 8215 automatic movement and a 40-hour power reserve means the watch can be mechanically wound, then it winds itself while you walk. In addition to the grain-enhanced 47mm watch, you receive as part of the kit an alternate band, tools (to change bands) and an Original Grain flask, all in a cool oak box. Added bonus: Original Grain is committed to planting 10 trees through the charity group Trees for the Future for each watch purchased.