Culture

Summer Beer Review Beers

Finally. Summer. The season that beer was made for. We’ve got the beers that were made for the season. Whether you’re enjoying one (or two) on the couch, the deck, the dock, the boat, the trail or the ballpark, there is no better time of year for a nice cold brew. Here are a few of our personal recommendations. This is by no means an exhaustive list. Today’s magical, burgeoning craft beer world offers more brews and flavors than we could ever hope to quaff in one summer. We do have other things to do, believe it or not. So be sure to do some exploring on your own, too… Here’s to summer!!

 

Victory Summer Love

Victory Summer Love beer

The crew at Victory nailed this one. A light and delightful summer ale. European noble hops provide a gentle and earthy hop profile, pleasantly balanced with clean, crisp German malt. A little grassy, a little citrusy, this beer is mellow and refreshing, like a sunny afternoon in the backyard. The addition of whole flower Simcoe and Citra hops adds a notable lemony zing at the end. Perfect for afternoon sipping at the beach or in the park.

Downingtown, PA 5.2%

Pairs with: Sumac-herbed chicken, pan-fried whitefish, fried clams, coleslaw, potato salad, garden salads and corn on the cob.

 

Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA

Racer 5 IPA

This brew has been winning gold medals since 1997, which in craft beer years is ancient history. Amber-gold, medium bodied, sporting a crisp, almost crunchy carbonation. Columbus and Cascade hops abound in each sip, repping the Pacific Northwest terroir. Pine and citrus notes dominate, dancing across a robust, grainy malt foundation. Touches of fruit, grass and caramel snap along from the sidelines. Refreshingly bitter and full-flavored, but not overpowering. Because summer is too short for anything less.

Healdsburg, CA 7.5%

Pairs with: Barbecue all day — chicken (get some char on there!), burgers, steak tips, sausage, wings, beef shish kebabs, grilled poblanos, as well as robust snacks like cheese fries, pizza and nachos.

 

Bent Water Thunder Funk IPA

Bent Water Thunder Funk IPA

Straight from the tanks of the newest brewery on Boston’s North Shore. Burnt orange in color, this malt-bomb IPA is loaded with jolly tropical fruit notes like mango, stewed orange, ripe pineapple and key lime. The big malt bill adds a toasty, honey-sweet booziness. Herbal and citrus notes flit around the edges of the aroma and flavor.

What sets this brew apart is a notable lack of bitterness to counter all that hop and malt sweetness. It’s unusual for an IPA, to be sure. Some will say the guys at Bent Water missed the mark here, but we argue that they have pioneered a new genre – the malt-forward IPA! Perfect for those who love big, IPA-sized flavor but don’t like bitter.

Cheers to these guys, we can’t wait to see what they do next!

Lynn, MA 7.3%

Pairs with: Chicken Salad, grilled cheese, lamb shish kebabs, grilled swordfish and tuna (especially served with chutney), fish tacos, pork chops, lamb chops, potato chips, sorbet, fruit salad.

Port Wipeout IPA

Port Wipeout IPA

An exemplary West Coast IPA. Dry, bitter, grassy, pithy, and a little floral. The nose is warm, fresh and green, like a sunny hill in Santa Barbara. Each citrusy sip is fresh like ocean spray in Monterey. You’ll catch hints of fruit popping up here and there, too. The brew finishes dry and light for such a full-flavored West Coast IPA. Sips almost like a brut Champagne, but with shaggy hair and sunglasses. Surf’s up!

San Marcos, CA 7.5%

Pairs with: Grilled or fried fish, roasted or barbecued game birds (duck, quail, cornish hen or pheasant), wings, sausage or kielbasa on a roll with grilled peppers and onions, pasta dishes dressed in an oil-based sauce, pizza and flatbreads, and quinoa salad.

 

Bass Ale

Bass Ale

Here we have a beer with true heritage. First brewed in England in 1777, Bass Ale lays claim to the world’s oldest trademark. That iconic red triangle has been featured in paintings by Picasso and Manet, and in James Joyce’s Ulysses. It was also served on the Titanic (talk about ice cold beer!). While the company’s ownership has changed hands and forms over the years, the recipe has survived.

This Old World brew greets the thirsty reveler with mellow caramel, vanilla, herbal and earthy notes. Noble hops and English malt keep it subtle and balanced, with a bit of toastiness. However we were surprised to discover hints of orange and even melon when we allowed it to open up a bit in a glass! All around an easy-to-like beer, right down the middle of the plate.

Staffordshire, England, 5.1%

Pairs with: Fried things — fish and chips, fried fish sandwiches, fried clams, crab cakes, falafel, samosas, as well as hot buttered lobster rolls (toast that bun!), roasted or barbecued chicken, roasted peanuts and buttered popcorn. Makes a great beer batter base too!

 

Boulevard Brewing Love Child #7

Boulevard Brewing Love Child

Because summer is about getting weird, wild and funky. The Love Child series features barrel-aged wild ales fermented with Brettanomyces and Lactobacillus. This latest rendition is tight, tannic and quite tart. We’re talking tart like biting into a lemon — one that was aged in an oak barrel alongside sour cherries, crabapples and wild blackberries, all of which come through in the sip. The big, feral tartness and wild fruit notes are backed by a faint but reliable woody yeast funk. A slight mustiness, fragrant cherries and fresh lemongrass come through on the nose.

This brew has a thin head that dissipates quickly, but it remains effervescent to the end, with a persistent strings of carbonation rising from the glass like prosecco. In fact, the mouthfeel and overall sipping experience is similar to bubbly — light, dry and crisp. Despite the definite fruit notes, there is very little sweetness here. The result is a fireworks display for your tastebuds. Pucker up.

Kansas City, Missouri, 8.2%

Pairs with: Panko crusted chicken, fish and chips, grilled catfish and swordfish, low-spice thai noodle dishes (especially ones prepared with lemongrass), chicken marsala, aged hard cheeses such as Manchego, Gruyere and Asiago, and cherry pie.

Port Brewing bottle cap

News Bulletin

Art on display in Market at Casablanc

Dear friends of Craft & Caro,

We want to take a moment to share with you some of our latest accomplishments, and some exciting things to come!

After a few action-packed weeks of taking part in pop-up events, launching the Maker Profile blog series, planning for the summer, and making new friends all along the way, we find ourselves at the beginning of yet another exciting endeavor.

People walking through Market at Casablanc

Renovations are underway at Craft & Caro’s new store/showroom/lounge/gallery/event space in Market at Casablanc! We mentioned this exciting new artisan collective in the profile of Brothers Artisan Oil a few weeks ago; since then we have been invited to take a studio in the space. The entire place is coming alive before our eyes, and we’re psyched to be a part of it. We’ll be spending a lot of time in our new neighborhood over the next few weeks while we set up. Please bear with us. Decorating is hard work.

Art on the wall at Market at casablanc

By summer, you’ll be able to come visit us in the Craft & Caro Showroom! Contemplate the Boston cityscape from our lounge, browse the inspired products on our shelves, and explore the diverse studios and makers that belong to this curious new community.

Visitors in Best Bees studio

We’ll get back to you soon with more details on the store opening and other events, as well as a full-length article on Market at Casablanc.

Stay tuned for upcoming editions of our Maker Profile series, featuring engineer Ian Schon of Schon DSGN, letterpress stationers Smudge Ink, designer Jeremy Szechenyi of LTHR Supply Co and leather goods makers American Bench Craft. We’ll have to prepare the first Summer Beer Review soon, too! How time flies.

Enjoy yourselves. This is Craft & Caro, wishing you all the best in life.

See you soon!

Neon flamingo in a hall

Filed Under: Boston, Culture, Events, News
Boston Made banner hanging from chainlink fence

Two weeks ago, Craft & Caro had the opportunity to be a part of Boston’s newest craft market, Boston Made. Twenty diverse, Boston-area artisans came together in Somerville for one of the first pleasant, sunny weekends of the season.

The market was received with unanimous delight by curious patrons and vendors alike. For many on both sides of the booths, it was the first time attending such an event in Boston, despite the increasing number of active artists and makers in the city.

Marquee at Boston Made craft market

Boston Made is the brainchild of peers Kathryn Yee, founder of The Everyday Co., and Kate Kellman and Isabel Bonenfant, founders of Of Note Stationers. The three entrepreneurs came together in January to build a comprehensive database of craft markets they had each worked, to plan for the new year. They quickly saw that their combined resources held a much more valuable potential.

“We realized that wasn’t anything local in the Spring after the hustle of the holiday markets” Kathryn explains. “Between Kate, Isabel and I, we were confident that we could create a small market from all the makers we knew. So we just kicked it off and started planning,” says Kathryn.

Sign hanging from vending tent at Boston Made

In keeping with the enterprising spirit that is characteristic of the maker movement, Kathryn, Kate and Isabel saw their opportunity to create something and went for it. Over a matter of just a few weeks, they embraced a “divide and conquer” strategy and used their individual networks to build a roster of vendors, supporters and organizers.

“We started with our network of maker friends and expanded from there. Each of us spent hours reaching out to people for event promotion,” says Kate.

Crowd at Boston Made craft market

As luck would have it, friend and kindred spirit Chas Wagner offered to host Boston Made at his brand new pop-up event space, The Clubhouse. Chas, founder of the culture and apparel brand Rally Sports, recently rehabilitated the vacant Somerville Ave. garage into a bright, mural-adorned, community-oriented space for creative events just like this one.

Just down the street from Union Square and within eyesight of the Artisan’s Asylum studios, The Clubhouse sits in the heart of one of Boston’s most creative boroughs. Only New York City boasts more artists per capita than Somerville, according to the city’s official website. On-street parking, steady pedestrian traffic and high visibility made it the perfect location for the incipient market. In turn, Boston Made was a great chance to showcase the colorful new venue.

Shoppers at Boston Made craft market

Kathryn, Kate and Isabel put special attention on curating a well-rounded selection of vendors, for a robust shopping experience where every table offered something unique.

“It was important that the experience of the shopper felt cohesive and curated. We made sure that each maker would be highlighted and we didn’t have overlapping products” says Kathryn.

Spoons on display(Spoons by Annie Meyer Studio)

“Our aim was to have a well-balanced group… If we allowed any overlap in the type of goods showcased, we made sure their aesthetics differed enough so that all of the brands would compliment each other,” adds Kate.

That effort was not lost on the vendors, who agreed that the diverse selection of products really elevated the experience for everyone.

Kitchen & Kraft booth display and signage

“It’s a good group, a good variety of products,” said Tori Kendrew of Kitchen & Kraft, maker of natural kitchen and home goods, or as her slogan reads, “rad things for mindful living.”

Illustrator Shawna Koontz agreed. “This is incredibly well curated. Some of the most top-notch makers in the [Boston] craft industry are here.”

More importantly, it seemed, Boston Made provided a much needed opportunity for local makers to get out of their studios and make connections with each other, and with their customers. For some vendors, this was their first time coming face to face with other craftspeople working and creating in the very same community as them.

Jane Cuthbertson standing at her vending booth

“It’s invaluable for networking. To me that is the most important thing by far,” explained maker Jane Cuthbertson of Grey Green Goods. This was her first time vending at a live market. “Everything I do is online mostly. But there is no substitute for picking something up.”

Amy Seeburger poses at her booth

“As a weaver I’m kind of isolated,” said Amy Seeburger of Aurelian Weavers. Amy opened her website for business just one week before attending Boston Made. “Just being able to understand what the customers’ needs and wants are is huge.”

Despite the burgeoning population of Boston makers and the growing interest locally crafted goods, many voices in the industry lament the lack of regular events like Boston Made. While a few major (and more impersonal) shows like American Field come to Boston annually, and New England Open Markets is gearing up for another busy season down in the South End, many makers feel Boston is far from hitting its saturation point.

Shoppers at Boston made craft market

“A big part of this was about drawing attention to creative small businesses. There is a huge maker movement happening not only in Boston but across our country, bringing back craftsmanship. I’d love to see a change in the way people shop in Boston. Right now there isn’t a cool destination for people to shop local. Everything is sort of spread out and siloed. We see it happening in other cities but not ours,” explains Kathryn.

Designer Erica Feldman, who came out to peruse the market, was excited for that very reason. “I’m from Chicago. There’s a really big [maker] culture in Chicago. When I moved here I couldn’t find any independent brands, so it’s nice to see this.” Feldman is the owner of HausWitch, a boutique home goods store in Salem, MA, where a similar craft scene has developed.

Alaina Montuori smiles at her vending booth

“The pop-ups and markets are where customers are really meeting us,” says artist Alaina Montuori, proprietor of Extras By Alaina. “Its nice when people can discover what’s happening.”

Surely, the biggest reward for Kathryn, Kate and Isabel was the incessant inquiring by patrons about when the next Boston Made would be happening.

“We didn’t expect the overwhelming response from both vendors and attendees to this market. People kept asking if we were doing it every weekend or when the next one would be,” beams Kate.

A vendor makes a sale at her booth

“From just one show, Boston Made has created a brand for itself. We’ve been talking about keeping it small and curated, but approachable, encompassing and supportive. I think this will set our market apart from some of the larger ones.” reflects Kathryn. “The possibilities are endless.”

Kate is just as optimistic. “It’s an exciting time for the Boston maker scene. Lots of cool people are doing really cool things. And it seems, as this community is growing, so too are the opportunities for new markets.”

Pillow depicting the word "Boston"

(Pillows by Salty Oat.)

Filed Under: Boston, Culture, Events, News
Natural perfumer Jennifer Botto of Thorn & Bloom

Jennifer Botto is a pioneer in the field of all-natural luxury perfume. She creates her intoxicating blends by hand in Somerville Massachusetts. We visited Jenn in her studio to learn about the detailed process of hand-blending a fragrance. Jenn shared her inspirations with us, as well as some insightful reflections of her own. 

1. How did you come to start a natural perfume company?

I grew up on a farm in upstate New York. Working with botanical aromatics is a way for me to connect with nature, something that I’ve been missing since moving to Boston. I also grew up with many allergies and chemical sensitivities. When I made the switch to all-natural products, I was underwhelmed with the selection of natural perfume. I mostly found aromatherapy-style blends that lacked the complexity and sophistication I desired. Thorn & Bloom was meant to bridge the gap between these aromatherapy-style natural perfumes and synthetic luxury perfumes.

2. What passions inform your work?

I’m influenced by nostalgia and memory. Many of my blends have some reference points from my past and conjure strong emotions in me.

Jenn Botto of Thorn & Bloom with Paul Jackmauh of Craft & Caro3. Tell me about your product. What makes it special?

My perfumes are Eau de Perfums in a base of organic grape alcohol. Many natural perfumes come in roller-ball bottles, in an oil base, but I find the combination of an organic alcohol base, bottled in an atomizer spray bottle, is ideal. This combination works best to aerate each blend’s volatile notes, allowing the scent’s full spectrum to shine through. So much time and effort has gone into growing, harvesting, processing and blending them and I want to pay homage to those efforts.

4. Why all-natural?

The skin is the largest organ in the body, and certain substances are even more readily absorbed through the skin than our digestive system! While people are focused intently on eating organic food, they often don’t realize that they are giving themselves a daily dose of synthetic chemicals when they apply cosmetics.

The reason why synthetic perfume lasts longer on the body than natural perfume is because synthetic chemicals have a longer degradation period, both in the body and in the environment. Sometimes people tell me they don’t like natural perfumes because they fade faster than synthetics, but natural essences work more gently on your body and on the environment. The delicate tendencies of natural extracts provides a more intimate user experience. You have to get close to the wearer to fully enjoy it, and it won’t interfere with a delicious meal or cause others in a tight space to inhale an imposing odor.

Thorn & Bloom Perfumes

5. What is the story behind the name Thorn & Bloom? 

The name Thorn & Bloom refers to the notion of holistic living and consumption. Similar to the trend of ‘nose to tail’ eating (making use of the whole animal), Thorn & Bloom strives to include all the elements of a natural aromatic, ‘from thorn to bloom’.

This is in direct contrast to synthetic perfumery, which tends to artificially reconstruct only the most ‘desirable’ molecules of an aromatic, leaving out less ‘perfect’ molecules. They lack a tactile quality.

Take Jasmine, for instance, which has a high degree of naturally occurring Indole, a molecule also found in human feces. Indole is often described as ‘animalistic’ and ‘musky’. Synthetic perfumers can choose to create a Jasmine perfume with as much or as little Indole as they like, simply by adding or subtracting synthetic Indole. Natural perfumers, on the other hand, will use the whole Jasmine essence. That means they will work with the level of Indole that occurs naturally, which can vary due to the growing conditions and species of Jasmine used.

By keeping our ingredients as whole and as pure as possible, we are allowing a given aromatic’s full, natural spectrum to shine through. Sometimes, this spectrum can include unique nuances which, to some, may be an acquired taste. We see these nuances as essential elements, knowing they’ll impart depth and character to an otherwise mundane blend.

“To embrace imperfection is to embrace authenticity, something that is often lost in our modern world. I believe that imperfection can elevate beauty in surprisingly profound and spectacular ways. Thorn & Bloom’s 100% natural blends vibrate with energy and soulfulness, allowing you to fully appreciate nature’s incredibly varied palate.”

Thorn & Bloom Wild Rose scent sample under glass bell6. What are some pros and cons to working with all natural ingredients?

A major con to working in the natural products market is the ‘greenwashing’ of consumers by companies that either don’t know they are using synthetics or don’t care. The term ‘natural’ is yet unregulated by the FDA, so it is really meaningless. As a result many perfume houses will market as ‘all-natural’. It’s very frustrating trying to compete with their lower price-point and entirely different aromatic profiles. A few ways I like to tell consumers how to differentiate natural perfumes from synthetics:

  1. Color: Many natural aromatics will be (and should be) highly pigmented. This pigmentation results from the plants’ polyphenols (a.k.a. antioxidants) coming through in the extraction process. Perfume houses that have clear perfume will most likely be using questionable aromatics. I always say ‘trust your eyes and your nose’.
  2. Price: Natural aromatic extracts are pricey! This will reflect in the final cost of the perfume. For instance, an ounce of Tuberose extract can reach a price of $400. If you come across a bargain ‘natural’ perfume, it may be too good to be true.

I will often explain to my customers that natural perfume is first and foremost an agricultural product. That’s not something many people associate with perfume! For this reason, a formula will vary slightly from batch to batch, year to year. This is because the raw material used in it will be affected by local growing conditions.

Just as a vintage of Merlot grapes will vary from year to year and yield a different flavor profile, a crop of roses will vary as well and will yield a different aromatic profile. I think this is so cool! This variation is a big reason why natural perfume is not often mass-produced. Large companies are wary of these nuanced shifts in aromatic profiles. They assume customers want consistency above all.

You wouldn’t want to go out and buy a synthetic bottle of Merlot just because it tastes the same year after year! So why would you want to with perfume? In this way, botanical perfume can connect us with nature in delightfully intimate ways.

Hand holding perfume sample

7. Can you tell me a little about the basics of perfume production?

Every scent has base, middle and top notes. Each is categorized by its volatility, or how quickly it evaporates. Top notes are the most volatile, like citruses and peppers. They also tend to be the most effervescent and sharp. Middle notes are usually florals. They’re well-rounded and add body and beauty to the blend. Base notes provide staying power. They anchor the blend and include scents like vanilla, woods, musks and roots.

I don’t have a strict formula that I work with, but usually I tend to focus on a gorgeous middle note and start by building accords (made up of three or more complimentary notes) around it, then I add aromatics one by one, drop by drop to experiment. Lots of trial and error. Or I focus on a scent family (for example, green, wood, floral, or amber) and find aromatics within those categories to bring together. My blending is often fast and furious when inspiration hits.

Natural perfume extracts

8. I understand you even make some of your own tinctures to use as ingredients. What are some of those scents?

I have made raspberry, strawberry, blackberry, peach, pineapple, rooibos, basmati rice, black cardamom, rosemary, grains of paradise and coriander. Each raw material is aged in organic alcohol for a minimum of six months. Most of my tinctures are aged over two years. 

9. Who tends to buy your product and where are they?

As a new company, I mostly sell directly at the New England Open Markets and online. My stockists include Craft & Caro, the St. Germain Boutique at the Fairmont Copley Plaza, and Scent Trunk. Many customers are referred to me through popular niche perfume blogs, such as CaFleureBon, which has given Thorn & Bloom many positive reviews.

My perfumes are popular among both women & men (I offer many unisex blends) and the brand is especially well-received among customers in Dubai and Egypt. I feel this is because they are more familiar with the qualities of natural aromatics and appreciate the sophistication of my blends.

Jenn Botto holding a scent sample for Paul Jackmauh

10. What are your plans for 2016? What are your prospects for the brand?

I have three trade shows coming up this season — Elev8 NY, Indie Beauty Expo, and W.E.L.L Summit. I will be working hard to develop more scents in the fragrance line, along with body, face, and bath oils. I’d love to start bespoke services, and make custom blends for people who want their own personalized scent!

11. What has been your greatest success so far?

I’m so excited that Thorn & Bloom has recently been announced as a finalist for the prestigious 2016 Art & Olfaction Awards!  Thorn & Bloom is among nine other finalists — acclaimed artisan perfume houses from all over the world! The winner will be announced on May 7. This is especially exciting for a 100% natural perfume house like Thorn & Bloom, as blending with botanical aromatics often poses unique challenges.

12. How about your greatest challenge?

My greatest challenge is ongoing: managing limited resources. I started the company with limited funds and time and I have had to be patient with growth due to these constraints. However, it is incredibly rewarding being able to keep the company small and under my own control, which means keeping the quality at a high standard.

Jennifer Botto of Thorn & Bloom

13. What is something you’ve learned from starting your own business?

I’ve learned that finding a mentor and building up a supportive community around you is so important. After every setback or failure, it’s really great to have positive voices encouraging you to keep going. When things go well it’s also necessary to be able to share that with others, as a confirmation and celebration of your efforts. Anya McCoy has been especially helpful as a mentor during my studies at the Natural Perfumery Institute. She heads the Institute and is an amazing resource for natural perfumers all over the country.

14. What do you think of the Boston as a community for the craft/maker scene?
Boston’s craft/maker scene is thriving, thanks to institutions like New England Open Markets, which has been supporting local makers for years by offering them thriving venues at which to sell their creations.

The Artisan’s Asylum in Somerville is another wonderful entity that supports makers by offering them affordable studio and fabrication spaces and shared tools and equipment. I recently read that Somerville boasts the largest number of artists per capita outside of New York City, which is amazing! I’m proud to be a part of the movement.

Thorn & Bloom perfumes on a wooden table

15. What is your favorite Thorn & Bloom scent?

My favorite is Stranger in the Cherry Grove. Originally, it was an attempt to recreate the smell of my father’s cherry flavored pipe tobacco, but it took on a life of it’s own and turned into a blazing cherry orchard!

I love that the cherry comes across as charred and resinous, not sweet and pretty. To me, it represents a wonderful duality between innocence (cherry fruit) and danger (smoke and leather). I love that yin and yang atmosphere it conjures. I also worked so hard to create a cherry wood accord, as cherry wood is not available as a single aromatic, and I think it comes very close to the real thing. Saffron lends a wonderfully smooth, new leather note while amber pulls everything together in a sensual warmth.

Assorted bottles of botanicals extract in Thorn & Bloom studio

Filed Under: Boston, Culture, Groom, News
Craft & Caro's 4/20 Collection

Craft & Caro is always there to help equip you for life’s richest occasions. For all the connoisseurs with cause to celebrate this Wednesday, we present our April 20th smoker’s guide. Show your best buds how much you care, with some artfully designed tools of the trade. Are you experienced?

Storage Solutions

Smoking accessories from Craft & Caro

Herb Preserve Jars (1) $8-$20 There is always room for innovation. Herb Preserve has even made a few improvements to the standard glass jar. Theirs feature light-blocking pigmented glass, an airtight sealing lid, and thick, durable construction. Fragrances stay in, light and air stay out. Assorted sizes, designed to work as a set, make this line the most convenient (and discreet) way to tote your buds, whether you’re walking the dog after dinner or spending the week in Joshua Tree.

Pocket Ashtray (2) $48 Tsubota Pearl provides us with a graceful solution to an eternal struggle. The handy pocket ashtray fits easily in your pocket, purse or bag. Pop it out whenever you need it. Prevents messes and unwanted scents on clothing, cars and furniture. Polished chrome, hand wrapped in leather. The classy way to ash.

Bronson Cigarette Case by Jacob Bromwell (3) $198 A beautiful keepsake from one of our favorite heritage brands. Jacob Bromwell has been making fine household goods in America since 1819. This handsome cigarette case is hand soldered from pure copper. Hot-tinned on the inside for a rugged finish. Easily holds a dozen healthy handrolls. Built to last a lifetime, by the company that patented the first flour sifter.

Lighters and Grinders and Buds (Oh my!)

Herb grinders and lighters from Craft & Caro

Space Case Herb Grinder (4) $30-$44 Aircraft grade aluminum, finished with an anodized non-stick titanium coating. Magnetic seal, low-friction teflon gasket. Precision-machined dull-resistant teeth. Yes, we are talking about a grinder. This space-age unit is built to shred smoothly all afternoon. Enjoy a fine, consistent grind for years to come, with a lifetime warranty to back it up.

Sweetleaf Herb Grinder (5) $26-$32 The trusty vintage herb grinder with the patented “peg” design. Made in Canada since Bachman Turner Overdrive was making hits. No tricks here, just simple, solid construction (from polished aluminum) and an iconic design.

Tsubota Pearl Black Satin Lighter (6) $48 Tsubota Pearl, a family-run business, has been designing lighters with expertise since 1952. Over the years they have designed dozens of lighters that embody the term “modern classic.” This satin-finished brass model is sharp. Each component is manufactured with care, for a smooth, reliable performance. Uses clean-burning butane. Light your fire like a pro.

Tsubota Pearl Onyx & Mother of Pearl Checker Lighter (7) $264 Oh Tsubota Pearl, you shouldn’t have. This gorgeous onyx and mother of pearl-finished brass lighter is one of our personal favorites. A precious keepsake for yourself or the special connoisseur in your life.

The Sweet Scent of Discretion

Scented items from Craft & Caro

Wary Meyers Candles (8) $28.50 These funky candles are handmade by artisans John and Linda in coastal Maine. Fun, all-natural scents like Sea Salt & Watermelon and Honey & Cocobolo Wood provide sensuous ambiance all afternoon. Perfect for setting the mood or clearing the air.

Dyer & Jenkins Shelter Spray (9) $20 Ditch the harsh deodorizers. These rustic scents are made from all-natural essential oils. The most convenient way to refresh any dank smelling room, tent, cabin, closet, pillow fort or Chevelle SS. Available in Walden (cedar & balsam fir), Clemens (vanilla & tobacco) and Whitman (peppermint & tea tree). Portable, fast acting and easy to use. Where were these things back in the dorm??

Sonny Marshall Studios Balance Incense Holder (10) $95 Sometimes there is no substitute for a good Nag Champa session. This unique incense burner is handmade from white oak by L.A. woodworker Sonny Marshall. A small brass weight holds your incense of choice, while balancing the fulcrum-mounted ash catcher beneath it. A beautiful zen curio for your desk, meditation shrine or bedroom.

Filed Under: Culture, Events, Gift Guides, Relax