Chivas 18 is one of the smoothest, most delicious blended Scotch whiskies on the market today. Pininfarina is one of the most celebrated and influential Italian design houses in history. Together, they've created Chivas 18 by Pininfarina, three of the most amazing Scotch whisky sets you'll ever lay eyes on. Chivas and Pininfarina celebrated the launch of the sets at the Maserati dealership in lower Manhattan last night, and you can be sure that everything looked, and tasted, amazing.
I dropped by for what I thought would be a quick pop-in, but ended up lingering much longer than I'd planned, since I was having such a nice time sipping that delicious whisky, chatting with designers, and checking out all the beautiful things. It didn't take long to realize that the two brands are on to something. The quality of Chivas 18 combined with the beauty of Pininfarina design makes a lot of sense, even before you've had anything to drink. I'll explain.
Chivas 18 by Pininfarina is the creation of Pininfarina chairman Paolo Trevisan and his team of artisans, and it's much more than a cool box for a nice bottle of whisky: it's a work of art. The only problem will be bringing yourself to actually open the bottle, but you can always replace it with a new one. As the impossibly stylish Trevisan told me last night, it all started with one drop of the liquid, which became the inspiration for more than two years of ideas, prototypes, and refinement. "Once we came up with the idea of the drop, we all knew we had it," he said.
The shape of the drop has been brought to life in three ways. The first, known simply as Limited Edition 1 (above), has a rich, blue, metallic outer case representing Pininfarina's history of metalwork, and a wood veneer, echoing the oak barrels used to age whisky. Even sitting still, it appears to be in motion. There are 1,500 available in the U.S., at a price of $140.
Limited Edition 2 (above) takes those design cues and runs with them, with a solid wood inlay and space for two Pininfarina-designed tumblers that echo the drop design. It looks like it should have an iPod dock and speakers, but if you've got one of these, chances are your audio needs are all sorted out. Just 120 are available in the States, and they cost $495 apiece.
The third expression, called Chivas 18 Mascherone by Pininfarina (pictured at top), is the grandest by far. It's inspired by the mascherone, which is the original wooden frame that was used to refine new automobile shapes, and it's at once bold and fluid. At 7'4", it's taller than Shaq, and features an oak internal structure clad in aluminum. It's lit from below, giving it an ethereal presence that will no doubt stand out in the high-design living rooms and dens it ends up in. They're made to order for $100,000.
And so we sipped Rob Roys (though I prefer my Chivas 18 neat), ogled the Pininfarina/Chivas sets, and dreamed about what it would be like to drive one of the Maseratis that filled the showrooms. At the prices they command, it's no question that Chivas 18 by Pininfarina is a luxury product for the discerning few, but it's an awful nice one, enough to launch dreams of sports cars, yachts, airplanes, and a life of beauty. But even if you don't get your hands on one, the beautiful life can be found in that one delicious drop.
[Follow Victor Ozols on Twitter; Drink Dewars 18 at bars like New York's Brandy Library; Find other great bars in BlackBook's New York Guide. Read Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna Make Cool Mini-Movie for Chivas Scotch]