Livestreaming e-commerce, where an influencer/expert hosts a live virtual shopping experience, is ablaze in nations such as China, raking in billions of dollars as an alternative to in-person shopping—an alternative that accelerated during the pandemic. The influencers or hosts “entertain and inform” while allowing viewers to make a purchase during the experience without leaving home. Now, a UK-based start-up called OOOOO aims to bring the entertainment commerce phenomenon to the wine and spirits industry with the launch of their own live-streaming app that includes a network of channels featuring experts and where everything you see is for purchase. They are presently the world’s biggest owners of .tv domain names, ranging from Cosmetics TV and Perfume TV to Handbags and now, the soon-to-be launched Drinks TV. The primary launch will be in the UK (and soon after Brazil, the US, Israel and Australia)
Founders Sam Jones (formerly of Accenture and Wish) and Eric Zhang (formerly of TikTok) are convinced the e-commerce moment is here. Says co- founder Sam Jones, “Amazon is a lonely place to shop, a place to transact, not to be entertained. And advertising on Facebook costs the earth.” According to Jones, “influencers are transitioning into retailers and shopping malls will become studios. COVID destroyed retail permanently.” He believes the OOOOO bet on entertainment shopping will go all the way into the vineyard, brewery or the distillery. Jones has secured the talents of WSET Educator of the Year, Karen Hardwick, to run the Dinks.TV channel. She’ll recruit experts to stream live from various locations, delivering an educational and entertaining offering that also offer a purchase option, a bit like a documentary film with a BUY button. The hope is that smaller producers without big marketing budgets can reach consumers, tell their story, and bring the viewer into the experience.
Nelson views Drinks.tv as a way to tour far-flung wine regions with an expert, or visit a distillery and have a live chat with the master blender—and then buy what they are making. Other plans include a feature called Hot or Not where the community is asked in real time if they like something as well as scheduled happy hours for the community with experts mixologists and winemakers.
The momentum is there as OOOOO started their first channel, cosmetics.tv, in November of 2020 with 100 brands selling on the platform across two merchants. Now they are No. 1 in UK Shopping Top Charts on iOS in January of 2021—as of this moment the OOOOO App has 200,000+ users.
Whether or not wine, bourbon, and beer lovers will transition their beverage shopping to live-streaming remains to be seen, but Jones and the team at OOOOO are primed to be the leading providers. May 20th they’ll launch from a vineyard in France.
Medina Spirit did indeed “move well” over Churchill Downs’ track, as his famous trainer Bob Baffert said he would at the beginning of the week, to win the Kentucky Derby with a time of 2:01.02. Mandaloun placed, and Hot Rod Charlie, very much among the first tier of favorites, showed. Medina Spirit went off at 12-1 and paid a handsome $26.20. Mandaloun, who admirably duked it out with Medina Spirit in the last eighth of a mile, and who briefly assumed the lead before losing it to Medina Spirit’s furious stretch run, paid a flat $23.00, and Hot Rod Charlie, long among the top favorites, paid $5.20 in show.
For his part, the race’s favorite, Essential Quality ran a decent-enough fourth, after having to recover from a bad bump at the break between him, and, predictably, the race’s ebullient second-favorite, Rock Your World. The lightly-raced Rock Your World didn’t even hit the board, but one has the sense that the collision he caused will be a lesson to him.
Medina Spirit brings Bob Baffert his seventh Kentucky Derby win, the most by a trainer in the race’s one hundred and forty-seven years. With seven Preakness Stakes victories, three Belmont Stakes, and two Triple Crowns to his credit, Hall of Fame trainer Baffert hardly needed any help in the record book, but the win cements his status as America’s greatest trainer, period.
There was a delightful quotient of admiring disbelief in the winner’s circle, even among Medina Spirit’s closest connections, and specifically between his beaming trainer and jockey, Baffert and John Velasquez. Baffert looked frankly surprised, as if his leap into the solitary position of the Kentucky Derby’s winningest trainer had yet to sink in.
“Johnny Velasquez said to me last night, don’t underestimate this horse,” Baffert said. “I knew he was an overachiever, with his heart bigger than his body. But he reminded me a little of Silver Charm, he just wasn’t gonna let anybody pass. For a $45,000-dollar horse, I am so proud of him. “
Perhaps Medina Spirit’s jockey, John Velasquez put it best: “This little horse was ready. You just put him in the game and let him do what he needs to do. Every time I asked him he gave me more. He was fighting.”
First it was toilet paper. Next, it was disinfectants, followed by face masks and other personal protective equipment. Then, it was a whole array of different items, ranging from yeast to condoms to kettlebells to jigsaw puzzles to aluminum cans, not that all of these items are necessarily used together at the same time. Now the latest shortage that the U.S. is facing is, let’s pool our guesses together: chlorine.
Yep, throughout much of 2020, it seemed like every month another household product was in short supply. Things that you had assumed would always be available suddenly disappeared from store shelves and online sites. Often, the shortages occurred simultaneously. So planning that jigsaw puzzle, bread baking, and condom theme party could have been challenging. At times, last year, it may have felt like the only thing not in short supply was angst. After all, the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic essentially ripped the cover off of many existing weak links in our society, including deficient supply chains, like you might rip the plastic packaging off of a One Direction figurine box.
The latest shortage is chlorine, which can come in the form of tablets, powders, and liquids. Chlorination may sound like something you do when you put a crown or tiara on someone’s head. But instead it is the process of putting the right amounts of chlorine in a swimming pool, a hot tub, a jacuzzi, or basically any similar container of water where your hot bod may go. Chlorine is important because swimming pools and similar receptacles can otherwise be filled with algae and dangerous microbes like cryptosporidium, legionella, and brain-eating amoeba. In general, it’s a good idea to stay from anything that has the words “brain-eating” such as brain-eating politician, brain-eating cat, or brain-eating pizza.
The shortage appears to be the result of two issues. One is that the pandemic has seemed to boost demand for chlorine. This is hopefully not because people are injecting and ingesting chlorine. You should never inject or ingest any such cleaning material. Instead, the increased demand may be due to the pandemic limiting some traditional indoor recreational options like standing in a crowded bar yelling “dude”, “wooo”, “YOLO”, and “what the bleep did you just say” to each other. As a result, folks may be opting for other at-home or outdoors recreational activities such as using swimming pools and sitting in jacuzzis while yelling “dude”, “wooo”, and “YOLO” at each other.
The other issue is supply. As reported by Liz Hampton and Jessica Resnick-Aultright for Reuters last August, the Biolab Lake Charles facility in Louisiana erupted into flames after Hurricane Laura hit. This led to the shutdown of one of the major chlorine suppliers until the spring 2022, leaving only two current manufacturers of chlorine tablets in the U.S.: Occidental Petroleum and Clearon Corporation.
Relying on just three suppliers for anything is risky, which is essentially what happens when industries move more towards monopolies. Imagine being told that you only have three options of dates: the guy who posted the shirtless selfie while holding a fish in his hand, the guy who posted the shirtless selfie while holding the even bigger fish in his hand, or the guy who posted the shirtless selfie but forgot the fish. Or perhaps the woman who wants you to be shirtless and hold a fish in your hand, the woman who wants you to be holding an even bigger fish, or the woman who is holding a picture of a guy who is shirtless and holding a fish in his hand. Ultimately, having a greater number of options will help better maintain quality, lower prices, redundancy should demand increase, and the possibility of dating someone who doesn’t post shirtless selfies.
All of this means that chlorine prices will probably jump up and anyone with a swimming pool, a hot tub, a jacuzzi, or a water park may not be able to get all the chlorine that they want or need. Therefore, be extra cautious before entering any such recreational water area that you yourself have not maintained because the operator could be skimping on the chlorine. Check to see if the water looks dirty or if insects seem to be having a “gender reveal” party on the water. Certainly if a mass of algae in the pool asks you “how you doing,” the water probably does not have enough chlorine in it. Make sure that the pool, tub, or water park is being regularly inspected by officials (and not just hedgehogs and squirrels) and has a proper filtration and cleaning system in place.
Moreover, do what you can to keep the pool or tub clean. More dirt and contaminants may mean more chlorine is needed. So, try to shower before entering the pool or tub. This may not be the best time for that “One Hundred People in a Hot Tub” party. Or to invite that “Showering is a hoax” guy into the swimming pool. Keep other animals like dogs, cats, and honey badgers out of the tub or pool. They can carry even more microbes because they essentially run around naked all the time without showering.
You may want to consider alternatives to using chlorine. Of course, one of the alternatives should not be, “don’t use anything” or “use ketchup instead.” There are other options such as saltwater, ultraviolet (UV) light, and other systems to keep things clean. However, just because someone comes up with a fancy name like “Jar Dabs” for a pool cleaning system doesn’t mean that it actually works. Don’t try any new system without first consulting with real swimming pool professionals. It’s not a great idea to experiment on yourself and others with a new system and then ask everyone afterwards, “hey, that was some fun time in the pool, right? By the way, how are your eyes, ears, and intestines doing?” Even worse, you don’t want to end up in the emergency room, saying, “guess that cleaning system didn’t really work on microbes.”
It was official before it was official, but the 2021 Kentucky Derby is, and has been for a while, up for grabs. Race day has a way of opening a race by pressing on it — meaning, to level it, whether for today’s favorite Essential Quality or for any other of the favored horses in the field. That means that they all come face-to-face with their vulnerabilities to their fellow competitors. In short, it’s a horse race and a hard one at a mile-and-a-quarter with twenty highly strung Thoroughbreds gunning it for the $3 million wating at the line.
That sort of weight can be helpful, as shown yesterday by the handle as the odds on Essential Quality came down — presumably as a result of Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale placing all or part of his threatened very large bet on Essential Quality’s nose in nebulous to-be-decided amount between $2 million and $4 million. His odds tanked down into Secretariat territory and then, by the closing of yesterday’s card, showed a measure of resilience in righting themselves and snuck back up to a somewhat realistic 6-5.
Again, the crux of this is that no one — no trainer, jockey or horse-whisperer — has been able to inform Rock Your World, Highly Motivated, Known Agenda or any other of Essential Quality’s lesser rivals of the roller-coaster that the two-legged beings seem to be riding with the favorite’s probabilities. A very good thing.
Before we bring in the Bluegrass Wise Man to help us hone what we think about who might take Essential Quality down, a primer on this Kentucky Derby’s especially entertaining odds, both live track and the morning line.
Suffice it to say that esteemed longtime Churchill oddsmaker Mike Battaglia’s odds will be put under some stress today.
We will update the live odds below until post time.
Post Postion, Horse, Live Odds, (Morning Line)
1) Known Agenda, 16-1, (16-1)
2) Like the King, 57-1, (50-1)
3) Brooklyn Strong, 55-1, (50-1)
4) Keepmeinmind, 53-1, (50-1)
5) Sainthood, 43-1, (50-1)
6) O Besos, 45-1, (20-1)
7) Mandaloun, 40-1, (15-1)
8) Medina Spirit, 15-1, (15-1)
9) Hot Rod Charlie, 7-1, (8-1)
10) Midnight Bourbon, 15-1, (20-1)
11) Dynamic One, 45-1, (20-1)
12) Helium, 51-1, (50-1)
13) Hidden Stash, 39-1, (50-1)
14) Essential Quality, 6-5, (2-1)
15) Rock Your World, 9-2, (5-1)
16) King Fury, 20-1 (SCRATCH)
17) Highly Motivated, 16-1, (10-1)
18) Super Stock, 46-1, (30-1)
19) Soup And Sandwich, 30-1, (30-1)
20) Bourbonic, 33-1, (30-1)
(Source: Churchill Downs, 4/30/2021, 4:09 a.m.)
With no further ado, here’s the Bluegrass Wise Man.
Let’s bear down on Rock Your World. He’s the big boy. Do you look at him and think he’s the man, the way you did with Justify?
Bluegrass Wise Man ™: Don’t think so. Similar in that he’s big and he just wants to run, but I don’t see that extra thing in him that Justify had at this early point in the Triple Crown Season. With Rock Your World, it’s more about his lightly raced status — he didn’t even race as a two-yeare-old. And let’s not forget his very recent transition to dirt. I mean, the first time he ran on dirt, he won the Santa Anita Derby. Not too shabby, and, just thinking about his pedigree, he should be on dirt. They made a good decision. My question about him would be, does he just hafta be up front? In the Derby, it helps if you can take back and then bring a run. So let’s say he doesn’t get a good break and he has to find his spot in the traffic. Is that going to break his mind into a thousand pieces? We don’t know. He’s not confronted that because he just has not raced very much. Three races, all in the front. God only knows. That said, I really like him. Like his energy, looks good, runs fast. I’m gonna use him.
Bluegrass Wise Man ™: Take some of the top five — Rock Your World or Highly Motivated and Midnight Bourbon, and then take some from the second tier — I like Mandaloun — and then box the hell out of ’em with everybody in the field, for a fun trifecta, for instance. Like that. It’s always a boxing year at the Derby.
Do you think Mattress Mack will cause a “flight” from Essential Quality?
Bluegrass Wise Man ™: Jury’s out on that one, but bottom line, no, people who come to the Derby wanna play. It’s bigger than Mattress Mack. I think we saw some resilience yesterday in the pool. But I don’t know what Mattress Mack actually did yesterday, or what he will do today. I can say that race day traditionally a long, long roller-coaster ride until post time, so in that sense, I’m not sure Mattress Mack is accomplishing anything but hedging his bet down in Houston on all those $3000-dollar Posturepedics, or whatever he’s selling.
Move on Highly Motivated for us.
Bluegrass Wise Man ™: Not as fond of Highly Motivated right now as I am of Rock Your World, and don’t quite know why. I mean, he did lose to Essential Quality in the Blue Grass, but he only lost it in the last sixteenth, and he ran a hell of a race that day. I was there, and I liked him in that race. But I guess I have the same questions about him as I do about all of them, can they really take this? Hell, all of them are unproven in one way or another. Meaning, the distance, and especially this competition, this field. Sandwiched in between the also-rans on his outside and Rock Your World and Essential Quality, two stronger horses to his left, Highly Motivated will absolutely have to have a good break. And he’s got to keep it together up the backstretch and into the far turn even to have a prayer. Patience, in other words. I think this is what’s got the trainers worried about pace. Pace is complex. It has to be somewhat reasonable for ’em to have anything in the tank in the last eighth. If one of these front-runners comes out blazing, it stands a chance of burning some or most of ’em out.
“In fact, if you really want to take a deep dive, tequila was birthed out of colonialism because the Spanish-Mexicans owned the land they grew agave on,” Quiñonez explained further. “While mezcal is truly ancestral, because it’s made by the indigenous communities of Mexico, who own their own land and the agaves they cultivate in it.”
It was heady stuff to digest for sure. But it’s no secret that Quiñonez certainly knows much more than the usual spirits professional. And I’m glad she brought up all this historical information, while many others often hesitate to go that far back and shy away from inconvenient facts. In that sense, she’s fearless—talking about heritage, culture, and people without any of the usual marketing jargon. Instead, she used her 20-year career working in the spirits industry—15 of which was spent as a global brand ambassador for Diageo—shedding light and dispensing valuable intel that go way past what’s trending at any given time.
“My romance with agave and Aztec culture began as a teenager in the ’90s while growing up in Eastside San Jose, California—where I enrolled in Mexican and Aztec studies at local colleges to understand the history, language, and mythology,” Quiñonez says. “I’m a first-generation Nicaragüense and I was raised in a diverse and culturally rich community dominated by hard working Mexicanos from Jalisco, Guanajuato, and Michoacán. My first experiences with tequila were mainly during celebratory and joyful occasions: family gatherings, weddings, and holidays. And the brands that resonated with my early years were Chinaco, Siete Leguas, and Tres Magueyes, because they had always represented quality and tradition.”
Today, Quiñones is still in the spirits industry, but she’s made the leap to become her own boss: She’s now the CEO and founder of her own boutique consulting firm, which specializes in global route-to-market strategies—focusing on agave-based beverages, cannabis, and the multi-cultural luxury world at large, where she works only on projects and clients she truly believes in.
“I can proudly say that I’ve had a unique front row seat into the world of tequila, not only within my own career and extensive travels throughout Mexico but through my mother’s as well,” Quiñonez says. “She ignited a new and early passion for the industry—as she was an amazing bartender and cocktail waitress for 25 years. I was learning about tequila, rum, Cognac, and fine Scotches from the age of 14, so my early love for history, culture, and hospitality created the perfect foundation to an illustrious path into the world of fine spirits.”
Here, Quiñonez listed some of her favorite tequilas and mezcals—many of which are not part of the “Big Boys” club she had previously worked with: Beyond that she’s also worked with the the “Big Boys” of tequila—Don Julio, Jose Cuervo, Herradura, Cazadores, and DeLeon. Instead, she wanted to highlight more offbeat distilleries than aren’t going to be in every single big box store or retailer. These picks are more artisanal in nature, and in its own way, truer to the way locals—not Americans—drink.
“The curated list is a tribute to the legacy, art, and craft of the unsung heroes in the industry: the agaveros, los jimadores, tequileros, and mezcaleros. For centuries they have honored a past that connects tradition, the magic of the land, and its people,” Quiñonez emphasizes. “The tequilas and mezcales that I selected are the finest representation of Mexican heritage, in my opinion…not only for their exceptional taste but in the manner with which they’re produced. All use mindful and sustainable cultivations practices. Several continue to use pre-Hispanic milling methods such as the tahona—an art and rarity in the 21st century. There’s the fractional aging of reposado and añejo tequilas; techniques seen in aging fine Sherry wines; and the hand selecting of the most mature agaves to deliver the most remarkable profiles, styles, and flavor combinations. And although Cinco de Mayo is not traditionally celebrated in Mexico, it does represent the most important holiday for tequila and mezcal sales in the United States. I only hope that whatever agave-based spirit that you choose to celebrate with, you appreciate not only its great taste but its unique origins.”
The Best Tequilas and the Best Mezcals for Cinco de Mayo—and Beyond
“El Tequileño Reposado Gran Reserva isa favorite among tequila drinkers, judges, and connoisseurs. El Tequileño, located in the heart of el Valle de Tequila with its 60-year-old tradition and legacy, has created one of the best-tasting reposado tequilas in the market,” Quiñonez says. “This blend of eight-month-old reposados and reserve 18-month añejos create absolute perfection from start to finish. Bold notes of vanilla, nuts, dried fruit and spice. I really enjoy sipping on this with a large cube of ice and great company.”
“This expression comes from an incredible distillery with heritage, using tradition and artisanal methods with five generations of production and history,” Quiñonez says. “‘SS’ is a very special sipping-style blanco at 46% ABV. A must have for any tequila lover, it boasts of beautiful earthy notes combined with bright fruit and cooked ripe agave. I like to sip SS on the rocks or with tonic and a lemon peel.”
“Terroir plays a vital role in tequila production, as it does in most fine spirits and winemaking—and the single estate grown agaves yield some of the sweetest piñas from the highland region,” says Quiñonez. “A wonderful bouquet of herbal, citrus, and floral aromas deliver balance and elegance with every sip. I really enjoy drinking this plata style on the rocks. You’ve got crisp notes of green apple, fresh herbs like basil, and yerba buena and sweet tropical fruit.”
“Cascahuin Tahona Blanco is a true display of harmony, ancestry, and balance,” Quiñonez says. “There are powerful notes of cooked agave, herbal, sweet fruit, and mineral essence. It’s my favorite tequila among the ‘tahona-style’ tequilas for its purity and elegance.”
“I highly recommend that you record the day and time you taste this,” Quiñonez insists. “This is yet another masterpiece from destilería La Tequileña, where only the finest most mature agaves are able to make the cut. Their use of fractional aging, combined with the different styles of barrels used for maturation, such as French Limousin oak, American white oak, and wine casks deliver an exceptional liquid with an even more exceptional finish. Notes of cooked agave, dried fruit, spice and caramel offer a sensational añejo style for any agave connoisseur.”
“This expression, from destilería La Tequileña in the heart of el Valle de Tequila, only utilizes hand-selected estate-grown Highland agaves to produce Don Fulano Blanco, which provides exquisite beauty and elegance. Blanco tequilas—to be properly classified—are typically unaged. So to sample a six-month-aged tequila reinforces the bounty of the land and the maguey. The aging creates more delicate fruit, herb, and spice notes to deliver one of the best tasting blanco tequilas in the market.”
“Fortaleza Blanco is another beauty from NOM 1493. You can pour Fortaleza Blanco in a mixed drink, neat, or on the rocks—and it will not disappoint,” Quiñonez says. “It’s all sophisticated and refined sweet notes—with hints of citrus, butter, and white pepper. Copper pot distilled, alongside the use of the traditional tahona milling method, adds mineral notes—making it a standout tequila for me.”
“This is a true beauty,” Quiñonez says. “This reposado is aged for six to eight months and it’s everything that you would want in a classic ‘valley-style’ reposado. Notes of cooked agave, honey, and vanilla produce depth and body with a silky rich finish. I prefer to sip on this reposado with orange wedges to enhance the spice and honey notes.”
“El Tequileño Reposado Rare is absolutely unique, not only for its aging method—as they blend añejo tequilas that have been aged for over six years in a ‘pipon,’ which is a wooden oak tank that’s able to hold more than 23,000 liters of tequila—but for its depth of flavor and deep finish,” Quiñonez says. “With its elegant notes of dried fruit, ripe pineapple, honey and cooked agave, I recommend using a tequila glass or a champagne flute to truly take in the expression’s bold flavors and luxurious taste.”
“This is the perfect daytime drinking style reposado of the bunch! This reposado is rested for a little over eight weeks in ex-bourbon barrels. It’s got a rich fruit-forward nose with notes of honey cooked agave, tropical fruit, mango, and apricot—the perfect reposado to have neat or in my favorite cocktail, the Paloma.”
“La Gritona reposado is such a special tequila from Distillery NOM 1533, not only for its great taste but for their standout master distiller, Melly Barajas,” Quiñonez says. “Only a small number of female master distillers produce tequila—and an even smaller number have an entirely female production team! La Gritona utilizes nine- to ten-year-old mature agave from the highlands region of Jalisco—so these agaves yield more sugar and tend to be sweeter and more aromatic. This reposado is incredible: so many exploding flavors such as cooked tropical fruit, honey, spice, hints of clove, and aniseed deliver a wonderful reposado style tequila from start to finish.”
“Master distiller Felipe Camarena has created such a refined, elegantly crafted, rich sipping style añejo,” says Quiñonez. “It’s incredibly expressive on the nose with hints of cooked pear, apple, vanilla, cinnamon, and clove spice. It’s a stunning representation of flavor, complexity, and harmony—with elegant hints of oak, honey cooked fruit, and spice on the palate. Certainly one of my favorite añejos on the market.”
“This is the perfect dessert-style reposado, to sip neat or with a large cube of ice,” says Quiñonez. “It has a velvety feel with notes of chocolate vanilla, cinnamon, and butterscotch with complex spices such as chile de arbol and clove. Expressive from nose to finish. The pretty bottles make for interesting conversation as well.”
“I absolutely enjoy the bold earthy, smoky, and herbal notes that this reposado delivers. The honey and white pepper notes carry forward along with hints of fresh cut herb, wood, and citrus peel—creating a rich long dry finish,” says Quiñonez. “I recommend pairing this with oysters or ceviche, on the rocks or in a long drink.”
“Such a great classic añejo style from the incredible state of Guanajuato. This añejo is aged for 12 months in oak barrels, is bottled at 38% ABV, and delivers bold flavors of charred wood, herbs, nuts, and sweet piloncillo. Such rustic classic flavors from beginning to end.”
“Founded in 1873, the Santa Rita factory has been producing tequila for 15 generations,” says Quiñonez. “This jewel of a blanco offers complexity, harmony, and depth. It delivers a range of rich flavors—from wild honey, cooked agave, fresh cut grass, tropical fruit, citrus, and smoke. As a higher-proof blanco at 45% ABV, it creates a long rich finish, one of the best tasting blanco tequilas on the market!”
“I absolutely love this añejo: so expressive on the nose with notes of bourbon, butterscotch, dried fruit, figs, and raisins,” says Quiñonez. “Beautifully rich on the palate with a silky finish. I recommend enjoying this añejo with a dessert or cigar pairing.”
“This expression is the perfect link to bridge the old world to the new. This joven mezcal delivers a well-rounded body and a sophisticated finish,” Quiñonez says. “The floral hints of cooked fruit, smoke, and spice create the ideal introduction to a traditional-style mezcal made in the fashion of tequila. Produced in the small village of Huitzila, Zacatecas, near the Valley of Tequila, master distiller Jaime Bañuelos continues the tradition of pre-hispanic artisanal production methods, while maintaining complexity and balance with every sip.”
“What an incredible treat to have gotten my hands on this beauty,” says Quiñonez. “San Bartolo is produced in the gorgeous village of Yautepec by award-winning mezcalero Valentín Martínez López, who was recently recognized by the CRM (Consejo Regulador del Mezcal) for his historic 50-year contribution to the production of mezcal! So much harmony and balance: a fine blend of floral, citrus, and tropical fruit notes such as pineapple and mango—with light pepper and smoke flavors that deliver a refined and elevated liquid. This made me smile from ear to ear. A wonderfully refined representation of the category.”
“Tosba mezcal from the remote village of San Cristóbal Lachirioag in Oaxaca embodies passion, heritage, and an outstanding commitment to community and the land,” Quiñonez says. “Bold and expressive, its earthy, herbal, vegetal, and smoky notes deliver an outstanding full body and perfectly balanced espadín mezcal. I recommend sampling this neat in a Champagne flute to truly appreciate its rich complexity and elegance.”
“This expression is made with wild agave that naturally grows in the high plateau of San Luis Potosí. From the village of Charcas, the mezcal cultivated in the desert delivers a more sweet, floral, and herbaceous mezcal—unlike in any other place in Mexico,” Quiñonez says. “Maestro mezcalero Manuel Perez showcases the expression’s beauty, balance, and intensity by foraging for dry salmiana leaves and quiotes to use as fuel during the cooking process.”
As every year, but especially this year — with the insane amount of couch time logged across the country and the world on various lockdowns — the Oscar pools take the fore. Will the Academy again embrace the universally beloved Frances McDormand, or will they turn to current front runner Carey Mulligan, pictured above at last year’s nominee luncheon, or her close rival, Viola Day?
Arguably, we’ve had the shot at studying the nominees from the couch perhaps more than is actually good for us, but a fun side effect is that the home Oscar totes will burgeon, and that will sharpen at-home debates of the nominees. Nothing livens up the Oscar betting more than a year of government-enforced lockdowns. Would that it had not happened that way.
As ever, at any global athletic, political or cultural event — defined as anything from a smoking-hot Kentucky Derby to the name of Prince Harry’s and Meghan Markle’s new baby — London’s gimlet-eyed bookmakers are there to help you slay your Oscar pool. Because: London bookies take absolutely no prisoners, which is to say, they bear no pro- or anti-Hollywood freight. It’s all about the money.
The British are judging American and international film from the outside, and they’ve had the benefit of their own British Academy of Film and Television Awards (the “Baftas”) earlier in the month. What we can call the “London Approach To Nuking Your Best Friends And Loved Ones In Your Oscars Pool” is a very helpful handicapping perspective, especially when it comes to something as seemingly obvious as Nomadland’s chances at best picture, (currently 1/4, or an implied probability of 80% of winning on the London tote), or as smart a sleeper as Judas and the Black Messiah’s chances at best cinematography (currently 22/1, or an implied probability of 4.3% in London), which could be a great buy, depending upon how we think the Academy is gonna flop.
Keep in mind: British bookmakers’ odds are, like odds everywhere, defensively priced. That means they reflect what the British bettors are doing with their money, plus a small extra cut in price that the bookies add to protect themselves at payout time. With that in mind, here, what selected London bookmakers are doing this weekend in the five major categories, Best Director, Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Cinematography.
(Nota bene: All nominees are listed here in order of ascending odds, or, put another way, in decreasing order of implied probability of winning, which means: the nominees are in descending order of British hivemind favorites. All odds in bold face below, from the credited bookmakers, are current as of 4/23 and will be updated on Sunday, 4/25.)
1) Best Actress: The amazing thing in this hard-fought, leading category is not that Carey Mulliganis at 11/8 at both William Hill and Paddy Power, or even that Viola Davis is hard on her heels at 7/4and 15/8, respectively, at those same two touts. The amazing thing about this category is that, for all the noise around Nomadland and its buzzy, apt-to-the-zeitgeist gig-economy narrative, the brilliant Frances McDormand is the third-favorite, at a relatively high, lackluster 7/2 at those same two bookmakers. The fourth-favorite in the British hivemind is Andra Day, at 5/1 at Paddy Power, and 6/1 at William Hill. In that order, both Paddy Power and William Hill give Vanessa Kirby a flat 16/1, or a relatively low implied probability of 5.9%to win.
2) Best Actor: A salute to the many forever-noble performances, both on screen and off, by Chadwick Boseman. He currently leads the London tote by a wide margin, at a monumentally low 1/16 at William Hill, ranging to 1/14 at Betvictor and 1/7 at Betfair. To give you the flavor, that 1/16 implies a forbidding probability of 94.1%. Riding a distant second in London is the estimable Sir Anthony Hopkins, at 11/2 at Paddy Power and at 7/1 at William Hill; followed in third by Riz Ahmed, who’s at 20/1 at Paddy Power, and 14/1 at William Hill. What the bookies are telling us is that Gary Oldman’s star turn — laying fourth at 33/1 at Paddy Power — and Steven Yeun’s great performance as a recent immigrant to the promised land of Arkansas — bringing up the rear at 50/1 at Boyle Sports — are not likely to take home the statuette.
3) Best Director: In the British hivemind, this category is nothing if not about choice of narrative, and the Brits are sticking with the very fine Nomadland and its helmswoman, the very fine Chloe Zhao, ranging as low as 1/20 at William Hill. It’s a long way up in the odds from Ms. Zhao to the second-favorite, veteran David Fincher at 15/2 at Paddy Power and a flat 7/1 at William Hill. Rocking in third is Lee Isaac Chung, at 16/1 at William Hill, and in fourth is Emerald Fennell at 20/1 at Bet365. In fifth lies the estimable Thomas Vinterberg, at 40/1.
4) Best Cinematography: This is often the category whose awards honor those engaged in actually making the movies, which is a polite way of saying, the cinematographers can do a lot with the dispensation and operation of their enormous machines to cover for and/or enhance the Oscar chances of the directors and producers metaphorically standing over them, as well as those of the actors and actresses they capture on film. As we might think, the British money is on Nomadland’s talented Joshua James Richard, who leads the low odds at Betfair at 4/9, or with a probability of 69.2%. The Brits’ second favorite is Mank’sEric Messerschmidt, who is clocking in at 1/1, or even money, at the very same book, Betfair. Down a ways in the third-favorite slot, News of the World’sDarius Wolski sits at 10/1, behind whom is Judas and the Black Messiah’sSean Bobbit, at 22/1 at Bet365, followed by Phedon Papamichael, who shot the excellently dramatic Trial of the Chicago 7, at28/1at the same house. What the Brits are saying of the Academy is, hey, we know that gig economy, so your Sunday evening will be a Nomadland sweep.
5) Best Picture: Given the clear probabilities in the Cinematography and Director categories, this one seems a lock to the British hivemind. Nomadland leads the pack way down at 1/6 at William Hill, or at a probability of 85.7% to win. Not an absolute lock, but it’s better than a kick in the head. Best Picture is, also, a crowded category, but it’s not a huge surprise to see The Trial of the Chicago 7 hitting the second-favorite slot with odds of 6/1 being assigned by the William Hill oddsmakers. The British have provided us a rather large surprise in the third-favorite slot with Minari, at 14/1 at Bet365, with Promising Young Woman in fourth at 20/1 at Bet365, while Mank languishes as the fifth favorite, at 25/1 at William Hill. Laying unimpressively to the Brits in sixth place is Judas and the Black Messiah, pushed down in probability of winning by a couple of 40/1 sets of odds at Bet365 and VBet. In the unwished-for seventh- and eighth-favorite positions in the British hivemind are The Sound of Metal, at 50/1 at William Hill, and surprisingly, given the strength of his run for best actor, Sir Philip Anthony Hopkins’ The Father, at 66/1 at the same bookmaker.
In a word: Sir Anthony’s fate is paradigmatic of British thinking. When it comes to Best Picture in Los Angeles on Sunday night, there is zero loyalty to one of their honored knights from the British bookmakers, or from the British players.
Like we say, they take no prisoners in London. And that’s a wrap.
It’s common knowledge in real estate circles that Jay Leno and his wife of 40 years, Mavis, bought a Newport, R.I., mansion for $13.5 million in 2017. But the story of how the former “Tonight Show” host found Seafair, a 15,861-square-foot Louis XIV inspired chateau, is less known.
Seafair was designed and built by British architect William Mackenzie Jr. for Vernor Zevola Reed Jr., heir to a mining fortune and a banker.
The estate sits on 9 acres and features a slate roof and rubble-stone construction. The home boasts an inimitable crescent-shape design that follows the curve of the land and allows for expansive views of the Atlantic. The gated compound has a tennis court, private pool, a carriage cottage, a six-car garage and private beaches.
The 15,851 main home has 12 bedrooms and 13 bathrooms and features a paneled library, a formal dining room and a chef’s kitchen.
In the years before and after Jay Leno ended his NBC “Tonight Show” run in 2014, the comic icon has bought a lot of stuff. Leno’s famed Burbank garage is home to 199 cars, 68 motorcycles and a small team of dedicated mechanics. The admitted gearhead drives every vehicle and is often seen taking a Duesenberg or his McLaren F1 for a spin. So it would be appropriate that Leno, who moved to Los Angeles from Andover, Mass., to pursue show business in the 1970s, would discover the Newport mansion while enjoying a scenic drive along Ocean Avenue.
Michelle Hofmann: How did you come across Seafair? Were you looking for a second home?
Jay Leno: No, I wasn’t planning on moving back east. I was with my wife visiting family in Newport in October 2017. We were driving around Ocean Avenue, which is kind of like 17-Mile Drive, a scenic road through Pebble Beach and Pacific Grove in California. Ocean Avenue is a fancy place. I had my cousin with me and we were driving along and Mavis said, ‘Look at that house. Look at that house. It is unbelievable.’ And I said, ‘You’re right. It is unbelievable. It looks like a castle.’ So, I said to Mavis, ‘Do you want that house? Let’s see if it’s for sale.’ I turned the car around to go back to the house. Just as we drove by, the gate opened and the gardener came out. We all looked at each other and said, ‘The gate is opening. It’s a sign.’ So, I drive in and ring the bell. The caretaker answered and said, ‘Your Jay Leno.’ Then I said, ‘Hey, it’s nice to meet you. Is this house for sale?’ And the caretaker said the house is for sale but not listed currently. I asked if we could look around, and the guy gives me a tour. Then, I asked him to get the owner on the phone. So, we get the owner on the phone, and I said, ‘Will you sell the house as-is, with everything, all the furniture, the ketchup in the refrigerator, the salt shakers and just walk away? And he said, ‘Yeah, I’ll walk away.’ We agreed on a price, and I bought it. We closed in 30 days.
Hofmann:The house had been listed for $19 million not long before you bought it, so it looks like you made a smart business move.
Leno: I have no idea if this was a smart business move. I bought Seafair because I liked it. The thing about me is I don’t buy things for investment. I buy things because I like them, and if they go down in value, I still like them. If they go up in value, that’s fine, but I don’t want a sell them, so it makes absolutely no difference to me whether the price goes up or down. Obviously, I like it when things go up in value. I bought my McLaren F1 in 1998 for $800,000; the last after I got was $17.5 million. And one just sold for $20 million. I have cars that I bought that are not as valuable, but I don’t like them any less than I love the McLaren. Some go up, and some come down. But if you always buy what you like, you’ll always be happy because you did it for the right reasons.
Hofmann: How does Seafair compare with properties in Beverly Hills?
Leno: For the price of a condo on Wilshire Boulevard, I got a castle in Rhode Island on the ocean. There is no equivalent in California to that house for less than $100 million. I’ve got neighbors in Beverly Hills with homes down the street from me that cost $168 million, and there is not even any water. You’re right in the middle of Beverly Hills, but there is no view and the same amount of land, 9 acres.
Seafair is completely furnished. I wouldn’t have bought something where I had the look of swatches of fabric and hold them up to the wall and say, ‘No, not that one. Let me see another one.’ I didn’t want to do that. I like that this house was beautifully furnished with the best of everything, and everything was included in the price. So, when I go there, it’s like going to a hotel. I check in, and I check out. I’m not constantly moving tables and chairs. If I couldn’t have bought it as-is, it would have taken forever to make it a home because I wouldn’t have furnished it.
Leno: Since I’m from the area, it’s a great meeting place for all my relatives to come and have fun. They all get to stay there and it’s great. I love the place.
Hofmann:Can you share a little history about the house?
Leno: Seafair is also called the Hurricane Hut by the locals and history buffs because there was a huge hurricane—in fact, many hurricanes—that killed a bunch of people. There is some fascinating history about the house. There is this impressive steel and lead peacock statute [about 4-feet tall] that was on the front lawn that got wiped out to sea during a hurricane. The owner, who survived the hurricane but lost a very nice peacock statue, sold the property, returned 25 years later to visit and noticed that the peacock statue was back on the front lawn. She rang the bell, told the current owners who she was and said, ‘Did you have another peacock made? How did you know about the peacock?’ And the new owner said, ‘No. We didn’t have another peacock made. We had another hurricane about five years ago, and that lead peacock washed up on the lawn.’ So that is kind of interesting. There are a lot of stories like that about Seafair.
Hofmann: I understand the house is sometimes called a cottage. Can you explain this reference?
Leno: Yes, it was originally called Terra Mae. The second owner named it Seafair. It’s the last of the Gilded Age cottages. During the Gilded Age [from the 1870s to about 1900], rich people used to call these mansions summer cottages. The cottage reference was a tongue-in-cheek joke. Most of them were built in the late 1800s or the early days of the 1900s and the 1920s. Seafair is the last grand one, built in 1936, and I think it would be almost impossible to duplicate today.
Hofmann: It sounds like the house has a bit of magic. It looks like a castle, and even the idea that you were driving by and the gates opened seems mystical.
Leno: Yeah, I mean, it was an impulse buy, but I knew it was right. I’ve only done a couple of impulse buys. Most times, when you’re looking for a house, you’re looking for one thing, and you settle for another. Like in California, I always thought it would be cool to have a house on the ocean, but with many of these houses, you’re right next to Pacific Coast Highway. That always seemed crazy to me. This house is right on the ocean and has a couple of private beaches. I have to laugh every time I go to the house and the gate opens because I feel like I’m in the opening of “Downton Abbey.”
When I asked myself if I could have any house in Newport regardless of cost, this is the one that I would buy. How often does something like that actually happen? The idea of finding precisely what you want is great. My wife loves Victorian novels set on the English coast with the girl with the bonnet and the Fabio guy on a windswept bluff, so it makes me laugh because Seafair is the house I would have wanted. It really is. The nice thing about it is that it looks like a castle. Even though it’s a mansion, with Seafair, all the rooms are small and have individual fireplaces. There are like eight or nine chimneys. When I had the chimney sweep come, the place looked like a scene from Mary Poppins.
Hofmann: Do you have a favorite room in Seafair?
Leno: I like the library. I always wanted to have a proper library. My wife and I have about 4,500 books, and the library can accommodate all of them, so that’s kind of fun. The home came with books. Someone was a Zane Grey aficionado. We’ve also got books by the Brontë sisters [of Wuthering Heights fame] and that whole gang. They are not necessarily my thing, but they are interesting to have. There are a lot of books on art history.
Hofmann:Can we talk about what it takes to maintain a home of this size and stature?
Leno: Of course, I thought about what it would cost to maintain the property when I bought the house. It’s big. I’ve yet to flush every toilet in the place. There’s someone on the property all the time, and it probably costs about $50,000 a month to maintain the home if you count all the expenses.
Hofmann: Does that include washing all those windows?
Leno: Yes. The house is on a peninsula, so you’re right against the sea, and all that salt pounds the windows. Consequently, the windows almost become opaque from the wind and rain and salt, so you do have to replace them every other year or quite often.
Hofmann:Any advice for somebody buying a historic home?
Leno: Yes, don’t buy a house like Seafair as an investment; buy it because you love it. Because if you love something and get stuck with it, you’ll still like it. And that’s my advice on everything. Occasionally, I’ve paid too much for things, but that’s OK because I still like them.
Hofmann:The sea life at the home must be amazing.
Leno: Yes, the sea life is interesting. One day, I was at the house, and I started hearing this noise and thought someone was trying to break in or throwing rocks at the windows. Then, I realized what was happening. The seagulls were picking up clams and dropping them on the balcony off the bedroom that is flagstone. They drop them from some height to crack them open. Then, they come down and eat the clams.
Hofmann:You are famous for your love of cars and your automotive collection. What do you drive when you’re at Seafair?
Leno: The house has a six-car garage, but I don’t keep any cars there because there’s nothing worse for an automobile than to sit in the salt air. It will just rust on its own unless you have humidifiers going all day long. When I am at Seafair, I rent a car.
Hofmann: You spend a lot of time working in your garage in Southern California. What you do in and around Seafair if you are not tinkering on cars?
Leno: Actually, I am working with cars in Newport because I am very involved with the Audrain Automobile Museum. Nick Schorsch [one of the museum’s co-founders] is a good friend, and we work together to pick out cars for the museum and plan events like parties, concours exhibits, and cars and coffee gatherings. The Audrain Newport Concourse & Motor Week was canceled in the fall because of COVID, but it is set to return from Sept. 30 to Oct. 3.
Hofmann:What can we expect from “Jay Leno’s Garage” this season?
Leno: We got a late start because of COVID with “Jay Leno’s Garage.” We just did a shoot with musicians Huey Lewis and Kelly Clarkson and have a few exciting people this season, so it’s great fun. The show focuses on people interacting with and talking about how cars have affected their lives and their first cars or the first car they drove when they went on a date and other personal things as well, so it’s a little bit of everything.
Hofmann: I hear you might be coming back to primetime. Care to share?
Leno: Yes, we are doing a new spin on “You Bet Your Life,” a question-and-answer game show hosted by Groucho Marx [from 1947 to 1961]. We start filming 180 shows in June. The show is syndicated on Fox and Fox affiliates and has sold in more than 85 percent of the country, so it’s doing quite well. It’s exciting. We will see what happens. It should debut in the fall.
As recently as just a few years ago, it used to be that the hardest part about buying a house for most people was going through the financial colonoscopy of getting approved for a mortgage.
Now, that’s the least of buyers’ worries. In virtually every American city right now, many single-family homes hitting the market are selling in bidding wars and the buyer with the most cash who closes fastest wins.
To some extent, people like me are part of the problem.
I frequently write on real estate markets around the country, often assembling raw data from sources like Zillow, Realtor.com, and Redfin, while also interviewing leading economists and experts. Which begs the question of whether I’m feeding into the froth by validating it.
By the numbers, however, it’s becoming harder and harder to argue that America’s housing market isn’t already over-heating. Inventory in many regions has hit record lows. Days on market are now often hours. Home prices are up 15.8% on average year-over-year across the country according to a recent National Association of Realtors’ report (in some places like Park City, UT they’ve almost doubled). And in markets like Miami, Sacramento, Boise and Nashville contractual absurdities like waiving all contingencies are now standard conditions as panicked buyers over-reach to get in on the action before the current boom decelerates.
There are reasons for all of this beyond the pandemic. Home building since the end of the Great Recession hasn’t kept up with population growth, while tens of millions of Millennials simultaneously have recently come of first home-buying age, creating a nationwide generational housing supply shortage that’s been deepening for years (which a ton of “experts”, policymakers, and lenders like Freddie Mac long saw coming).
On the demand side, a dozen years of bullish fiscal policy have just added more combustion to the fire. Mortgage interest rates have stayed at record lows through three successive Presidential Administrations, as the Dow Jones, NASDAQ, and S&P 500 have nearly tripled during the same period. According to the Mortgage Bankers’ Association, 2.5 million mortgages, or 5.1% of all outstanding residential loans, also are still in forbearance, as wealthy buyers continue to snatch up second and third homes (or more) as investments. This has created a “shadow inventory” of millions of homes that never hit the market because it makes more financial sense for owners to hold than sell as long as prices continue to outpace carrying costs (which in most market cases they still do especially when you don’t have to pay).
Then, there are other externalizing factors that don’t get the headlines but are also moving the needle, like technology—including online listing platforms, digital mortgage approvals, and virtual closings—which has fast-forwarded the speed at which homes are marketed and sold, particularly during the recent pandemic, in turn artificially hastening the pace at which demand is outstripping supply.
That this is all happening has been widely covered in the news since the residential real estate market first started to get frothy after COVID hit.
The last time America’s housing industry looked like this, however, the Great Recession followed, concurrent with plummeting property values, widespread foreclosures, and the loss of trillions of dollars of Americans’ equity and retirement savings. This time around, the underlying supply and demand fundamentals might be different in part due the pandemic, but the panic-buying and irrational exuberance looks a lot like it did fifteen years ago (when I bought my first house in a bidding war at a 9.9% interest rate over ask).
Yet, what no one seems to be talking about now is whether America’s housing market is already officially in the bubble zone? And if it bursts, what happens next on the backside of a fragile post-pandemic economic recovery?
“A real estate bubble occurs when home prices escalate beyond what can explained by the fundamentals, like mortgage rates, population growth, or household income growth,” explains Taylor Farr, Lead Economist for real estate website Redfin, “When expectations of price increases become the driver of price increases themselves instead of fundamentals that creates its own feedback loop. Robert Shiller said it best: ‘A bubble is a kind of social epidemic—a period of feedback where price increases generate enthusiasm among investors, who then bid up prices more, and then it feeds back again and again until prices get too high’.”
So does the current national housing market meet the definition of a “bubble”? And more importantly, are buyers getting in on the current housing gold rush at this point over-paying and risking being trapped in another real estate valuation crash?
“The current market doesn’t meet the definition of a bubble yet,” says Marr, “At least not nationally or in most places. According to the Case-Shiller index, home prices grew more than 11% in January from one year earlier, which is definitely more than wages increased, but that’s not the whole picture. Mortgage rates fell 88 basis points during this year as well from 3.62% in January 2020 to 2.74% in January 2021 per Freddie Mac. This drop in mortgage rates almost completely offsets the rise in home prices according to a recent analysis by the Fed. Additionally, most households received stimulus checks and pulled back spending money on things like travel, eating out, and gyms during the pandemic and instead opted to spend more money on housing, which gave a short-term boost to prices as well.”
Translation: the fundamentals of the current housing boom are relatively, structurally sound even in markets where prices ostensibly seem like they’re spiraling out of control because in many cities like Boise, Fort Lauderdale, Sacramento, and Columbus, OH housing was already relatively affordable in the first place.
Demographics are also helping, says Farr, not only because more and more Millennials are poised to enter the homebuying market, but also because many of them can now work from home, which means millions of prospective new homebuyers will likely continue to seek bigger spaces, lower-density, and more privacy no matter what percentage of the world gets vaccinated.
“Current demographics are very favorable to a sustained housing boom, especially in the wake of the pandemic, as more Millennial households enter into prime homebuying age and start families. More and more households are also demanding more space as they work from home more frequently and invest more in things like home offices and gyms. Finally, homebuilding is still playing catch up as housing supply remains tight from homeowners refinancing and staying put in their homes longer. All of these factors aren’t going anywhere in my opinion any time soon.”
As for what happens next, the first—and best case—scenario is absolutely nothing.
A decade ago, countless well-heeled, economic prognosticators didn’t think that the Dow Jones would ever break 30,000 and stay there or that oil could drop below $50/barrel for years. So it’s entirely possible that home values will continue to appreciate and provide millions of Americans with billions of dollars of found money as long as a supply shortage persists and more and more Millennials and Gen Zers have families and amass the financial resources to buy into the American Dream.
Despite the fact that wages long ago stopped keeping pace with the cost of housing, most younger, first-time homebuyers also have locked themselves into conventional loans at historically low interest rates without ballooning adjustable mortgages (unlike I did back in 2005), and buyers paying cash won’t have issues paying off mortgages or risk defaulting on their properties in the first place.
All of which means that even if America’s housing market keeps breaking its own records in the short term, says Redfin’s Farr, it’s also fueled this time around by factors far different than the bubble that preceded the mortgage backed securities crash of 2008.
“The key difference now versus during the housing bubble before the Great Recession is that back then it was easy credit that fueled speculation, not cheap credit,” says Marr. “It wasn’t uncommon for buyers to put nothing down and speculate on real estate because all they had to do was fill out a few pieces of paper and no one cared about the actual numbers. This time around the demand that’s fueling appreciating prices is real—from families, newly remote workers, and companies relocating employees to lower tax, lower regulation states.”
Short of a broad market crash (or “re-pricing” as housing economists like to call it), the more immediate issue when it comes to the post-pandemic recovery is affordability. As housing values have soared recently, millions of Americans, particularly middle class, first-time home buyers, have been priced out.
Which begs the more important in the longer term: if not a crash, what’s going to put the breaks on the current housing boom? And is there a path to deceleration that doesn’t send another decade of shockwaves through the economy like it did during the Great Recession?
“Prices can’t keep going up forever,” says Redfin’s Farr, “Even when the fundamentals are sustainable like they are now. Strong increases in mortgage rates, which are likely coming soon, will inevitably cool home appreciation and bring prices back in line with wages.”
Compared with 2008 that’s great news for everyone whether you currently own a home or not.
There are few people more passionate than car lovers, many of whom are drawn to luxury cars for their immaculate detail, beauty and performance. Bentley enthusiasts can now own a residence that adheres to the same standards as their beloved car.
Bentley Motors recently revealed their plans for the first-ever Bentley-branded residential tower, Bentley Residences, set to debut in 2026 in Sunny Isles Beach in Miami, Florida. Bentley Motors enlisted Dezer Development, responsible for some of the world’s most luxurious branded residences, including the recently completed Porsche Design Tower (just two blocks away) and Armani/Casa, to name a few.
“The collaboration started because of our success with the Porsche Design Tower,” says Gil Dezer, president of Dezer Development. “For us, it’s very exciting to work with Bentley Motors because they have great ideas and come up with an aesthetic that is really beautiful. They’re making sure they are infusing their heritage and DNA into the product.”
Construction will begin in 2023 and will be built by architecture firm Sieger Suarez Architects, who is also responsible for Porsche Design Tower and Armani/Casa. The 60-story, cylindrical tower is set to be the tallest ever built on a U.S. beachfront at 749 feet. There will be more than 200 luxury residences; state-of-the-art amenities, including a restaurant, cinema, whiskey bar, gym, pool, spa and cigar lounge; cabanas; and landscaped gardens.
“The beauty of this project is that we get to curate that from the ground up,” says Chris Cooke, lead designer of Bentley Motors. “Everything from the look of the tower, the layout of the rooms, the spacing, the material, we can make it from scratch, which will enable us to make it the best it can be and the best experience for our customers. We know we are in safe hands working with Dezer, as they’ve done this before.”
Each residence has a multi-car garage (via the tower’s car elevator) so residents can securely store their vehicles, and residences all have a private balcony, sunken pool and sauna. Dezer says each unit was designed for seamless indoor-outdoor living and each unit will have views over the ocean and bay through its floor-to-ceiling windows.
Fans of the marque will be impressed by the car’s design details that are expertly woven into the interiors, including Bentley’s diamond motif, as well as sumptuous leather and sustainable materials.
“We curate experiences for our customers as soon as they shut the door of a Bentley, and everything has been tailor-made to enhance the experience within the car: the drive, noise, sound, smell and materiality,” Cooke says. “This really was an opportunity for us to be able to continue that experience for the customer when they leave the vehicle. They can walk into their apartment and have that same level of detail and design philosophy that can be carried into their entire lifestyle.”
The exterior’s unique façade will make it stand out from other towers on the beach.
“If you look at the exterior of the building, we are trying to do triangular windows that will be convex and concave coming in and create a diamond pattern on the exterior of the building,” Dezer says. “When the sun hits the building in the right way, it will shine all over the place.”
It was important for both brands to incorporate sustainable standards in an effort to project the local environment and is being built in accordance with the Florida Green Building Council certification.
“The development of the interiors was about being in balance with nature and the world around you, so the interiors have been designed to let in the maximum amount of light and view out of the building so you’ll always connect with the outdoors,” Cooke says. “We’ve curated every little element and detail within the building, from the lighting to the smell, the sound and the detailing of the sustainable materials inside. That’s the same care and consideration we take when we work on the interiors of our cars.”