Holiday Gift Guide For Men

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You all LOVED my husbands Gift Guide For Him last year, so I recruited him to create another one for the 2017 holiday season! James rounded up a few of his favorite things – all tried and tested – that he thinks would make good gifts for the men in your life.

Holiday Gift Guide For Men

1. J. Crew Everyday Cashmere Sweater

The J. Crew Everyday Cashmere sweater is a necessity for any man’s wardrobe. This sweater is relatively thin so don’t expect your significant other to make this a staple for any artic expeditions, but it will keep him warm on a brisk fall evening, especially when it is layered with a button-down shirt or tucked under an insulating outer layer.

The cashmere quality is very good given the sweater’s small sticker price and the overall construction of the garment is consistent with JCrew’s good craftsmanship. My only gripe with this piece is that JCrew only offers a select few colors (at least at the time of this blog posting.)

2. Hudson Maple Cask Whiskey

What happens when you age rye whiskey in a barrel that once held maple syrup? Nirvana.

Hudson Maple Cask Rye Whiskey is an amalgam of two of my favorite things: maple syrup and rye whiskey. This spirit is not what you think it is. It is not a subpar rye whiskey whose crafters slyly attempt to conceal its flaws by adding pure maple sugar to the mix. Instead, this rye is a master crafted whiskey that is aged in oak for four years and then transferred into barrels that once held maple syrup. This rye is not sweet; the maple flavor is very subtle but most certainly noticeable. Don’t worry, you will know that you are drinking a quality rye as the first taste that touches your tongue is the characteristic bready-ness and subtle bite which rye never forgets puts forth on the palate. The maple syrup notes enter the picture late in the game to give your taste buds a quick massage before the next wave of Hudson Maple Cask Rye Whiskey hits the tongue.

3. Norrona Lofoten Gore-Tex Pro Jacket

Being an avid skiier/snowboarding, I’ve always counted my blessings that Christmas falls within the first half of New Englands ski season. Ask anyone in my family, my list is generally littered with things one would need for a successful season. No matter what method your significant other uses to slide down snow, he should not be without a bulletproof outer shell. The Norrona Lofoten Gore-Tex pro technical shell is, in my opinion, the finest outer layer anyone can wear. Its made with Gore-Tex’s top of the line “Pro” material that provided triple layer water protection while allowing a fair amount of breathability for the occasions its needed.

I have been wearing my Lofoten for five years now and it looks, and performs, like it did on the day I purchased it. Norrona cut the shell with an athletic taper but with room where it counts. Layering this jacket is a cinch; a base layer and mid layer will get you through the coldest of days. For sure, your eyebrows will raise at the price of this jacket. Watch for 20% off sales and grab it at a discount. A more affordable honorable mention is the Patagonia Powder Bowl Jacket which still uses a Gore-Tex fabric, has fully taped seams to keep moisture out, and is an army tank of an outer layer for hitting the slopes.

4. Custom Knife

Jen will tell you that I have become a fledging outdoorsman over the past couple of years. One thing I have learned is that the single most valuable tool in the field is a strong, sharp, and durable knife. The uses of a knife in the outdoors are endless: cutting rope and lines, food prep, prying various objects, splitting wood, first aid, etc.

Mike Jones Knife and Tool is a small shop that makes extremely high quality, hand made, custom order knives. Outdoorsman styled knives are just one of the many different forms of cutlery that the shop churns out. An equally as exciting gift idea is a custom made chef or carving knife. The quality of Mike’s blades are superb, but the artistry and imagination that he is able to pour into his 100% customizable handles are what really set his pieces apart. Mike has some great recommendations for his handles, but will craft really anything you want. For example, I asked Mike to make my handle out of African ironwood and elk antler. A Mike Jones knife is the best of the best.

An honorable mention knife would be the Benchmade Sibert Bushcrafter Knife. Go this route if you cannot decide on a series of grip materials, or if you would prefer a less demanding purchase experience.

5. Nespresso Machine (Citiz or Verturo)

The most used countertop appliance in our home is, by far, our Nespresso Citiz espresso maker. This machine makes gourmet espresso with the flip of a lever and push of a button. There are many things I love about this machine but the fact that it is a relatively small unit and does not monopolize our counter space takes the cake. Nespresso machines work off of the same one-time-use insertable “pod” models as a Keurig: insert an espresso capsule into the machine, select your beverage type by pressing a button, and voila – piping hot, delicious espresso!

The Citiz makes delicious espresso and lungo (think mini coffee) beverages using one capsule per shot of espresso. Ordering capsules is incredibly simple, and shipping is generally free. Nespresso has a wide variety of flavors and espresso intensities to choose from so your tastebuds will never get bored. Additionally, Nespresso offers seasonal flavors and roasts that are generally superb.

Nespresso released a new style machine a year or so ago called the Nespresso Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Machine with Aeroccino. It looks like this new machine was developed as a strategy to take a portion of coffee market share from Keurig. The benefit to the Vertuo machine is that it makes full cups of coffee in addition to espresso. To compliment the new type of machine, Nespresso released a new line of Vertuo capsules that will not work in a traditional Nespresso machine such as the Citiz.

6. Bonobos Stretch Washed Chinos

I remember when Bonobos was strictly an online direct to consumer business model.  The Bonobos difference is that they provide a much more flattering cut pant.  They reduced any bagginess in the butt and groin while designing several different fits that can accommodate men of all different builds.  When I rolled the dice and bought my first pair of Bonobos washed chinos, I partially though these claims were marketing “hocus pocus” but, to my pleasant surprise, their claims of the perfect fitting pants are 100% justifiable.  

When I bought my first pants from Bonobos they offered one thing: Washed Chinos.  A lot has changed as Bonobos has blossomed into a major mens fashion brand but, in my opinion, the best change is the increase in variety of pants offered on their site.  The best, by far, pant you can buy from Bonobos is the Stretch Washed Chino.  It is the more sophisticated cousin of the regular washed chino in that 2% of the fabric of the pants is Lycra.  The small amount of stretch fabric makes these pants insanely comfortable; there is no pull on the knees or thighs as you sit or squat down.  As always, Bonobos has a offering of several different pant fits; they range from very tight around the legs to relatively loose.  My preferred cut is slim-spright, but a safe bet is to go with the straight fit pants.  

7. Rugged and Dapper Facewash

I wrote about Rugged and Dapper’s Facewash last year.  I needed to include it again because it really is an incredible product.  I recently ran out of R&D and needed to use a different product for a few days while I waited for it to come in.  My wife was nice enough to let me use one of her organic  face bars and after two days my face was a oily, broken-out mess.

I tend to have skin that is on the oilier side, and if you are anything like me, keeping it free and clear (and matte as opposed to shiny) can be a challenge.  I tried a boatload of other face products and R&D was the only one that did the trick.

8. Bobos Mountain Sugar Maple Syrup

Aunt Jemima’s may have cut it when we were youngsters, but now only the best will do.  All 100% real maple syrup is not equal.  There are different grades (usually classified by their color) and then qualities within the various grades.  Taste may vary from region to region and some purveyors sneakily add chemicals or stabilizers to their syrups in order to cut corners and maximize profits.  My wife will tell you, I am a maple fanatic.  Out of every possible flavor in existence, Maple is my favorite.  I know its pure sugar, but if I have one vice it is, for sure, maple syrup.  

Bobo’s is the best.  Hands down.  Order up a pint as a stocking stuffer or, better yet, buy a quart for the family refrigerator.  Go for the extra dark bold flavor if you are serious about your syrup and like a really strong maple taste.

To read last year’s gift guide for men, click HERE


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