Futagami Frame Bottle Opener

Who can say no to cheese and beer?

I may have a bit of an obsession when it comes to bottle openers and most people would probably say that I own way too many. Actually, they would probably say I'm crazy, but I just like bottle openers. The thing I like is that in its core, the bottle opener is such a simple thing, but it can still be designed in so many different ways and no opener has the same feel as another. So when I find a new opener I like I just can't help myself, I need to buy it!

My latest purchase was this opener that I got a couple of weeks ago while I was visiting Gothenburg. I first saw this opener online in December last year, but have waited until I could have a look at it for real before I bought it. A couple of weeks ago I finally got the chance to do so at the store Artilleriet, and I bought it immediately! Even though it was quite expensive at around 51€ (63$).

The opener is named Frame and it's made by the Japanese manufacturer Futagami. The quality of the opener is amazing and the design really speaks to me. But I do like Japanese design overall as most items have a design that really puts focus on the usability. A bit like the classic Bauhaus school of design.  Do I need to say the the opener also opens bottles like a dream?

As a last note, it's not strange that the quality of this opener is as good as it is, as Futagami is a company that has made brass items since 1897. The Swedish readers may know of Skultuna and Futagami is like the Japanese Skultuna. I recommend everyone to have a look at their site, because they have so many beautiful things. 

I love Ink bottles

One of the things that I like the most about fountain pens is that I can buy nice looking ink bottles to put on my desk. There are just so many beautiful bottles that I often buy new ink just to show them of as decoration at home. Of course I also try to find an ink I like and “need”, but the bottle design actually comes first sometimes.

Just take a look at the bottles above!!

 

De Luze XO Tres Vielle Reserve Cognac

Cognac was the the first type of barrel aged fine spirit that I really liked, and it is what got me interested in all the wonderful alcoholic beverages in the world. It is still one of the types that I enjoy the most and also pour up a glass of the most often. It’s probably tied in the top with whisky and bourbon.

One of my latest acquisitions for my drink cabinet is this De Luze XO Tes Vielle Reserve, so I thought I should write a couple of sentences about it. For those who don’t know, cognac is almost always a blend to speak whisky terms. That means that you take different cognacs from different years and blend it together for the perfect taste. This particular cognac is an XO, which means that all the different spirits that it’s made of have been aged for at least 6 years in oak barrels. According to the maker though, most of the components supposedly have been aged for around 20 years and the oldest ingredient is from 1980.

I do like this cognac quite a bit, it’s not the best, but it is really good, especially for the money (I paid around 35€ for a 50 cl bottle). The taste is sweet, but not to sweet, it has a bit of spiciness and a hint of dried fruit. The one thing that I don’t like that much is that it has a very prominent taste of oak, it’s not to bad, but a bit to much for my taste.

As said, a good cognac that I would buy again.

My favorite beginner fountain pen

This is the Kaweco Sport and it may be my number one tip for anyone who wants to buy their first cheap fountain pen. It is cheap, it has a great 30's design, it writes well and it comes in a bunch of different colors so there should be one that matches your style. If you like it you can even get a couple of pens in different colors to match your different outfits.

Sure, it's not a super classy pen, but for a first fountain pen I would say it's perfect because of the reasons mentioned above. Another great thing about the pen is that it's made of durable plastic and has a secure cap so you just can throw it in your bag without thinking to much about it.

My Kaweco Sport on the pictures has a nib in the size fine which is perfect for taking notes in small notebooks or if you generally write small. I would however say that for most people a medium sized nib would probably be better as it writes more like most "normal" pens. A broader nib also shows of your ink of choice way better so if you like showing of all your cool ink that is also a better choice.

But now to the "bad" part. As the pen is so small it is made for using cartridges of ink and not ink from bottles. The boring thing about that is that cartridges really limits what ink you can use. You can buy what is called a converter to the pen, which lets you use ink from bottles, but the converter is so small so you will need to refill the pen quite often. But for a first pen I would recommend cartridges anyway as they are easier to use. Even if I really would like to recommend bottled ink just because of the pretty bottles you can put on your desk.

Las but not least, the pen also comes in a very cool looking retro tin box.

One of my favorite cigars

The Diplomaticos No.2 is one of my absolute favorite cigars and one of the few I would buy a whole box of. First of all, as a disclaimer, I'm a big fan of cuban cigars overall and I rarely smoke anything else. They may have some quality control issues sometimes but there is something special about them that I like, both flavour wise and "feeling" wise. 

The Diplomaticos No.2 isn't a cheap cigar, but for what you get it gives you amazing value for your money. At least I think so and I pay around 13€ a piece when I buy singles. I would highly recommend anyone to try this cigar as it's well balanced taste should be nice for both experts and beginners alike. 

It is as said a very well balanced cigar. It has a nice body, some earthy notes and just the right amount of spiciness according to me. Also it has a hint of sweet milk chocolate to really round of the taste. I recommend you to try it, but remember that it is quite a big cigar so you need to have the time to sit down for at least 1,5 hours.

Spaceware from the 50's

What you see in the photo above is my boring flatware from the Swedish pride IKEA. They are super plain looking and I have been in the hunt for new cutlery for quite some time. I want something that stands out and not only looks nicer then the above mentioned knifes and forks, but that has been really hard to find. One trend right now is to have black cutlery but I do not like that at all, because it makes the table setting look way to dark.

But then I found this amazing set and now know what I will be getting as soon as I can to replace the IKEA cutlery with. 

This set of flatware are from the Danish design house Georg Jensen and they are designed by the legendary designer Arne Jacobsen. I'm completely in love with the design and I wanted them as soon as I laid my eyes on them, but after some research I do not only want them, I NEED them!

Even though they look a bit hard to actually eat with hehe.

Now to the cool part

Arne Jacobsen design designed this set of flatware in 1957, and still they look very modern, almost futuristic. So futuristic in fact, that Stanley Kubrick used these as the cutlery in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, in 1968. That is 50 years ago and they still look as cool and futuristic today. Now that is a sign of good design.

Also, if that wasn't enough to make me want them, they also appeared in Star Trek Voyager AND Enterprise. So as the big Sci-Fi fan I am, I can't not buy these. Right?

My first vintage pen

A while after I started to get into fountain pens I turned to the Swedish version of eBay, Tradera, to see what could be found there. I found a bunch of cheap pens from brands I hadn't heard about, and brands I had heard about, so I started to bid. I really wanted to try out some cheap old pens to try different filling systems and learn more about how the pens functioned so I could fix them if I needed to. I also wanted more pens to be able to try out more inks.

The first pen that I got in the mail after a winning bid of about 17$ was this blue Esterbrook J and after I got a some more vintage pens I quickly realised that this pen stood out from the crowd. The pen is from around 1950 and except from some scratches on the nib it is in almost unused condition.

The most interesting thing about the pen isn't how beautiful it is though, it is that it writes amazingly! It is actually one of my absolute favorite pens and it is actually much better than many modern pens I have, and have tried. 

It is a small pocket pen and after some research I learned that it has a nib that can easily be swapped out. There are apparently a huge number of different nibs to choose from and mine (with the number 9550) is one of the extra fine nibs for small notes. I think that is perfect because of the pens size and it happens that I take this pen with me as a note taking pen instead of my Pilot E95S (a 140$ pen) because it is at least as good. 

Of course I also matched the color of the pen with the ink (Pilot Iroshizuku Shin-kai) because why not? 

Cut your cigar in style

There is a plethora of different cigar cutters on the market and some of the best that I have tried are the Xikar Xi series. they have super sharp blades, a good action and they are also quite affordable. But there is one thing that they lack and that is style! Except for maybe the Xi3 made out of fossilised Mammoth Ivory, because seeing someone cutting a cigar with a 10 000 year old mammoth tusk is just not something you see everyday.

My Xixar Xi1

But as that one is a bit expensive I had a hard time finding a cutter that had what I would call "style". Most cutters are modern mechanical contraptions that sometimes has small pieces of wood on them. There are many that aren't ugly, but they aren't anything special either. That is until I saw that the French manufacturer Laguiole, famous for their knifes and sommelier tools, made this amazing looking cigar scissor. 

This cigar cutter may not be the best cutter out there and using a scissor is also a bit more tricky compared to a double bladed guillotine like the Xikar. But I still think it's worth it just because how stylish it looks, and isn't at least part of smoking a nice cigar about style?

If you don't like the wood mine is made of you can of course get it in a couple of other types of wood.