Wednesday, December 30, 2015

New Year's Greetings 2015!

Was in bed having a cup of coffee today, leisurely watching the morning news, when I got the most alarming text from Ester the Upstairs Maid! "Can you come over right away?"

She usually doesn't disturb me so early unless there's an emergency. Since I live here on the estate, right above the carriage house, I threw on a robe and dashed over to the house expecting the worst - like no hot water or an electrical malfunction.

Instead, Ester began to lead me through the entire downstairs, pointing out room by room that all the framed photos of our employer and his new girlfriend have been removed!

Now we've both been through this scenario a couple of years back; right before the old man divorced his second wife all her pictures began to disappear as well, much to our alarm. But since neither of us like the new girlfriend very much, we were totally suspended somewhere between being in shock and high fiving each other!

The thing is, Ester and I have successfully reigned in the new girlfriend over the last couple of years as to just how far she can push us. And we both know that someone new will just take her place. So whether this is good news or not, only time will tell. 

In any case, change is always good, right? We might get someone in here we truly adore. The emphasis being on might. Experience has taught that women attaching themselves to rich old men can be somewhat lacking in adorability. Nonetheless, there's high hopes around here today for whatever's coming next. 

I hope 2016 brings happiness and joy to all of us, in one way or another! As always, thanks for dropping by this evening - and Happy New Year!


Thursday, December 17, 2015

Christmas Gifts for the Rich and Famous: Champagne Baths!

I remember hearing some astonishing stories in childhood about Marilyn Monroe bathing in 350 bottles of champagne, of all things. Whether that had anything to do with reality or just Hollywood publicity stunts, I hadn't a clue.

For that matter, I wasn't really clear what champagne was either - but anything involving Monroe at the time made me look furiously forward to adolescence.

As it turns out, it seems champagne baths have been around for a long time, way before the Marilyn gossip began. There's the famous story of King Edward VII and actress Lillie Langtree having a champagne bath together at the infamous Cadogan Hotel in London. There were other lurid tales about a girl in a champagne glass. And in modern times the rock band U2 sprays the audience in a champagne bath before leaving the stage, not to mention that Formula 1 race car winners do the same.

My friend Miss Helen sips a glass of sparkling wine while soaking in a bubble bath, but whether she actually pours the champagne into the tub has not been disclosed. There's a question about what constitutes a champagne bath in the first place; a full tub like the fabled Monroe stories, or just one bottle or even one glass added to the water? There's even a suggestion that the term bubble bath itself originated from the bubbly spirits of champagne being poured into the tub.

Wine and champagne connoisseurs decry this practice as wasteful, shameful, and decadent of course. But as the super rich grow more numerous across the globe with their endless appetites for new experiences, champagne baths are making a reappearance to draw in their money.

The aforementioned Cadogan Hotel (with it's questionable history of renowned playwright Oscar Wilde being arrested there on moral charges, and King Edward and Langtree having their trysts), this quaint property has been renovated into a boutique hotel for the rich and is now offering champagne baths on a big scale.

The prices are astronomical, but if you're rich and looking for that special gift for someone who has everything, this might be precisely the thing. You'll spend about $6,250 in US dollars to bathe in 120 bottles of inexpensive Luis de Custine Brut, up to $39,000 for a Dom Perignon bath. If you don't believe me, here's a link to the Cadogan's champagne bath menu, prices quoted in British pounds. (Of course, this is in addition to your room rate, restaurant checks and room-service tabs.)

For the rich it's not so much about wasting fine champagne as it is about bragging rights as to how much they spent on a frivolous evening. Who am I to judge that? After all, it was F. Scott Fitzgerald who said "Too much of anything is bad, but too much champagne is just right".

Thanks for dropping in this evening. I hope this adds some unique ideas for your last-minute Christmas shopping. :)


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

CHATEAU MARGAUX: The world's most expensive wine?

Apparently there's a raging war going on between auction houses in Hong Kong and New York over the soaring prices of vintage wines - and the battle between Chateau Lafite and Chateau Margaux rages as well, competing to be the most expensive wines in the world.

Thanks to a recent episode of the Filthy Rich Guide on CNBC, Chateau Margaux has hit the news and I thought it would be fun to take a closer look - especially if you're looking for the perfect Christmas gift for that certain billionaire in your life.

It's an ancient winery in the Bordeaux region of France dating back to the 12th Century, but it wasn't until the 16th Century when the wines produced there came into prominence. Indeed, one of their wines dating from 1771 was the first claret ever to be sold at Christie's auction house.

During the late 1700's one of the winery's owners, Elie du Barry, was rounded up along with thousands of other rich people and sent off to the guillotine in the somewhat excessive French Revolution. But following a turbulent and bumpy ride thereafter, Chateau Margaux came back into prominence and survives to this very day. In fact, Ernest Hemingway was such a big fan that he named his daughter after the winery - the renowned and beloved actress Margaux Hemingway.

As you probably know, Thomas Jefferson was a connoisseur of fine vintages and served as wine adviser to President George Washington and successors James Madison and James Monroe. The wines from his famous cellar in Monticello (including Chateau Margaux) have been auctioned over the years in the hundred-thousand-dollar categories!

There's a darkly amusing story about an unfortunate fellow named William Sokolin who claimed he owned a bottle of Chateau Margaux from Jefferson's cellar worth half-a-million dollars! For bragging rights he took it to a Margaux party at the Four Seasons Hotel. But a clumsy waiter broke the bottle before it could be served and the insurance company only paid Sokolin $225,000 - making it one of the most expensive wines never tasted! This event was mentioned in the Filthy Rich Guide episode, and detailed in an article in The Telegraph.

But don't despair. While Chateau Margaux prices can range from the tens-of-thousands down to the mere hundreds, there's also a low-end range where you can have the famous Margaux label (and all the bragging rights) on your dinner table for as little as twenty bucks. Here's a link to Wine Searcher for the best possible prices.

Hope this has been helpful in organizing your holiday shopping list - and as always thanks for dropping in this evening,