I spent my morning coffee time writing an explanation of how to wear a watch chain and fob in answer to a reader inquiry the other day only to find that, as happens all too often, he had mis-typed his email address. And though I am tempted to re-use that work, I should not subject the 99.9% of my readership that will never have a reason to wear a pocket watch to such arcana.
The exercise did however remind me of Lucius Beebe's 1935 Herald Tribune column stating that the well-dressed gentleman wore a fouet on the end of his watch chain, said device being a small whisk intended to eliminate carbonation from champagne. I do not intend to demean Mr. Beebe, whose lifestyle I only wish I could emulate, but this strikes me as an example of unclear on the concept if I have ever heard one. Originally invented to remove inadvertent secondary carbonation, the fouet may have filled a need until perhaps the start of the 20th century. But why on earth would any man go to the trouble to de-gas a modern wine that was designed to sparkle, thereby undoing all the work required to add bubbles in the first place, when he could simply order a still wine? Such are the mysteries of life.
In turn this reasoning led me to a consideration of champagne, to which I say bring it on generally. But given that we were considering Russian leather the other day, it occurred to me that I have never mentioned Hiedsieck's 1907 Diamant Bleu cuvée, 2,000 bottles of which were found in 1998 in the wreck of a freighter sunk in the North Sea on its way to the Czar during the first world war. Being still highly drinkable the stuff has come to a better end than the Romanovs and it has been sold at auction around the world, averaging a price in excess of $3,000 a bottle. That is the very definition of obscurity as none of us is likely to ever come across it of course, but it makes for a good story nonetheless.
We now return you to our regularly scheduled programming.