First, we like the bad stuff. From wristwatches to booze, we always start at the bottom; but, with a little help from our friends, we find the offerings of simplistic, genuine producers from which we can start to learn to love.
It's a game of patient and thoughtful graduation, and in that endeavor, two producers come to mind. Although they operate in two seemingly polar (although complimentary) industries, Mile High Spirits Distiller and Nomos Glashutte are glaring. Despite their complete separation in product lines, they embody the same core ideals; Simplicity, precise in execution, innovative manufacturing and an err of independence that is crafted into their end product.
Both new kids on the block, Mile High and Nomos are not parts of the establishments that rule their field. Sure, that makes them a little bit harder to find but once you have, as we have, you'll find yourself on the road to become a better, more informed, more grateful consumer.
From Mile High's still, made only of glass, used for some of its distillation that is literally one of three being used in the world to Nomos' in-house Swing Escapement, they're production..
Let's talk product, what ends up in your glass and on your wrist.
Mile High is best known for their Fireside Bourbon, aged in American white oak barrels for 4 years. It's young but meaty - like a light slap from the youthful paw of Mohammed Ali. It is on the sweeter side, so for those of us who like burying our face in a fiery peat bog mess - you might not make this your first choice of brown spirit. If you do like a sweeter, woodsy almost vanilla wafer-like essence with a slight tap to its' sting, then we have a winner. None of its components are necessarily unique, and they surely won't change your life, but there's just enough to chew on. There are distinct elements waiting to be identified and with each sip, its consumer, rather than become overwhelmed, learns both about bourbon and his own palate. Could he do this with Pappy Van Winkle? No, just as I couldn't fly a 757.
Onto Nomos. Their 12 model selection line maintains core consistency throughout its mechanical exploration. Although all models represent tremendous value, we'll focus on one of their most approachable - the Tangente. Like Fireside, the Tangente is fundamentally simple but well detailed, a wonderful representation of its maker. The first element we notice is its dial - a perfectly balanced configuration. This forces a beginner to appreciate fundamental balance before even begining to understand the perfect imbalance of the F.P. Journe Octa Reserve de Marche, for example. Looking closer in, the geometric numerals show how a font can pull a design toward the center of the scale between dress and sport. Even closer, we notice the importance of blued steel hands and geneva stripes - that yes, they're unnecessary in function but truly beautiful to consume. Ultimately, the power of Bauhaus design shines through - It reminds us to love elements in minimalism, like that a simple Italian pesce crudo before buying a plane ticket to Tokyo for 15 minutes at Sukiyabashi Jiro.
There comes a time in every booze hound's existence that they graduate from regular colligate binge plastering, to refinement and occasional inebriation at the hands of the finer things in life. Much in the way great bourbon can be appreciated only after one explorers their palate, a truly remarkable watch only matters after study. From student to master to student again, simplicity, balance, restrain and attention live at the core.
We learn to walk before we run, and in that endeavor, independent, frill-less manufacturers like Mile High and Nomos have our back.
Author: Christian - Theo and Harris
Article created for Proof66