Cutting a Dash through the 21st Century




I blame the weather…

I’m nursing quite a hangover from excessive whisky consumption at last night’s Gentessential event at the Army & Navy Club. I originally blamed this on the free bar with the great choice of spirits including the very fine Glenkinchie malt.

Then I remembered my chat with the esteemed Mr Tim Jackson from Randolphs‘ Butlers.  A butler of many years’ experience, we discussed the extensive training that this noble profession requires. As a veteran of the Royal palaces, where he was responsible for the wine cellar no less, he was able to impart some of his huge knowledge of wines and etiquette – and I even partook in some tasting. I learnt that the word butler originates from the French word bouteiller - he who was in charge of the wine bottles – and that Randolph’s are now fulfilling a very high demand for British butlers from the Middle East in particular. Downton Abbey is no doubt to be commended for this resurgence in a global interest in British butlering. Either that or Batman…

DuringThough it wasn’t just the extra wine.  I spotted the team from Pall Mall Barbers going about some hot towel shaving.  Having not bothered to scrape my beard off for a few days I readily welcomed the opportunity to get the full treatment.  Daniel Davies, their manager, explained how it was a painless, nay invigorating affair. Erin, a small girl with a huge cut-throat blade, smiled innocently – I would be quite safe in her hands I was assured.  As long as I relaxed.  What was that?  Just relax, what’s the worst that can happen with a cut-throat razor?  Well, I suppose it could live up to its name… I’d better relax then. And have a large whisky to help me while I’m at it. I soon relaxed into Erin’s more than capable hands and have now discovered something invigorating and amazing that I’ve been missing out on all my life.  Surely this is the male equivalent of the girly spa treatment!  I recommend this to every man.  Save up your stubble and get a hot towel shave at the earliest opportunity.

There was also a discussion with the knowledgeable David Goggins from Austin Reed, where he advised me on the best material and colour for evening wear.  Midnight blue for most, though if you are of a darker complexion such as myself one can carry off black.  I was sorely tempted to place an order to get one made, then I remembered how my dinner suit tends to end a night covered in food, booze and who-knows-what else and that I’m best off with my cheap one that I can chuck in the washing machine. So that was at least another whisky down.

PurlSurely it was actually the cocktail experience that started off my woes.  Bryan Pietersen, the owner of Purl London cocktail bar in Marylebone, was on hand to dish out his expert advice.  I learnt how to make an Old Fashioned in the correct manner, stirring the Angostura soaked sugar cube slowly.  Don’t order this drink willy-nilly, it will take your barman a long time to do properly. But the result was worth it – delicious and refreshing. So that got me started on the Bourbon Whiskey which led me onto drinking more Scotch.

That still wasn’t the root of the problem.

Ed Lumley, who founded Gentessential, explained to me how he felt that London needed more events such as this. To impart the lost art of gentlemanliness. ‘Why you?’ I asked him. ‘Why not’ was his reply.  Why not indeed. The event was probably just busy enough; had there been too many more attendees I wouldn’t have had the time to talk to so many knowledgeable masters of their craft in such detail. I sadly didn’t get the chance to chat to the chaps from Peckham Rye ties, or the impeccable Shoeshine UK, however this can no doubt take place at the next event. If such an event takes place again, I would heartily recommend it.

So ultimately, I blame the weather.  I’d planned to head into town early for this event, but the torrential rain forced me to stay in for a bit longer.  And what else is there to do on a wet Thursday afternoon when one is dressed up with nowhere to go? Why, crack open the whisky of course…  So it was all the weather’s fault after all.


2 thoughts on “Gentessential
  • Great article on a wonderful event.
    Thankyou to everyone who witnessed how we rejuvinate shoes in a unique way to the UK and I look forward to the next event to meet you all again and I am sure many new faces also

    • Modern British Gent says:

      Thanks for your comment. I’ll make sure to come and see you chaps at ShoeshineUK for some polishing action soon!

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