Eye Candy: Cherry Vintage Ferraris

How about a little eye candy this Friday?  Here are some incredible vintage Ferraris…some of the finest automobiles in the world.  And some of the coolest:

Images: Google Image Search

Allow Me To Introduce: J.T. Spencer Belts

Do I like belts?  Yeah, probably a little too much.  Good belts.  A new player has entered the arena and is making HUGE waves.  J.T. Spencer is a belt company that is popping up all over the place.  They do whimsical embroidered belts and custom belts for some great golf courses.  They are impossible to miss…

I’ve recently come to know Steve DeWalle, the guy who runs the company, and besides being another golf fanatic like me, he’s a super cool guy with a GREAT story.  He was nice enough to sit down and give us some background on J.T. Spencer:

What is your back story?  I guess you could say that I’ve always been an entrepreneur. I got my first job delivering newspapers when I was 9 and I’ve been gainfully employed ever since then – at times having as many as 4 businesses going. My primary business for the last 17 years was in the print advertising sector and as that industry began to taper off I started looking for new opportunities for my next career. I’m always open to new things so I was willing to take on anything that looked interesting to me. I never imagined myself in the apparel business, but when opportunity knocks I’ve always been one to open the door.

How did you get involved with JT Spencer Belts?  Since 2007 I’ve run a golf website (www.golftripper.com) where I have written about my quest to play the Top 100 golf courses in the US. Several years ago the founder of JT Spencer contacted me through my website and we became fast friends. I loved the product and I was able to make some introductions to help get him into the pro shops at a number of Top 100 courses where I had friends. From there I became somewhat of a friendly consultant to the company. Before too long the company began growing in leaps and bounds and my friend was not in a position to foster that growth so he called me and asked if I would be interested in taking over. I pulled one of my college buddies into it with me and within 60 days the deal was done. I still can’t believe how fast it all happened.

What is the best part about running this company?  To me the best part is easily the fact that our belts are made in America. My business partner and I are both very proud of this and it played a huge part in my interest in the company from the very beginning. As I said before I’ve always been entrepreneurial and have always been grateful for the opportunity to work. To be able to run a business that provides opportunity for America’s grossly underutilized manufacturing work force is something that makes me very happy.

What lessons have you learned in having a manufacturing business?  Haha, a lot!!! There have been many lessons learned on many levels. Some the hard way, some the easy way. When we took over my mission statement was simply “Don’t break it”. The business was humming along and there was a lot of growth opportunity, so I was anxious to start developing that growth. I tried a few small things and not all of them worked out. That was a quick eye opener that everything was not going to go as smoothly as I had drawn it up on paper. Fortunately, none of my early ideas “broke” the company and I learned some fast lessons of which I would say that the biggest one was to go slow and not make any sudden movements.

What are your favorite courses that you’ve played on your Top 100 golf quest?  I’m going to go in a little different direction with this. I could tell you my favorites and it wouldn’t be very interesting because it would be all the usual suspects like Pine Valley, National Golf Links, Cypress Point and all the other big names. Instead I’m going to mention some of my favorites that maybe don’t get the credit that I believe they should. If I were to pick 5 courses that I love and that I think are significantly underrated they would be Myopia Hunt Club, Kittansett Club, Ballyneal, Old MacDonald, and Nanea. I’ll spare you all my golf nerd details, but if anyone wants to read my thoughts on these courses they certainly can at golftripper.com.

So what’s next from JT Spencer?  We have a lot of things in mind. Right now we’re working on developing a rep program and we’ve got a few developmental products in the pipeline as well. No firm launch dates yet, but I’m confident that in 2015 you will be seeing more than just belts on our website. Whether its playing the Top 100 or building a business, I thrive on a challenge so I’ll be giving the company 100% of my attention and continuing to move it forward. There is a lot of support for our product and we have a lot of momentum so we are just going to continue to focus on making the best products that we can right here in America.

Head’s Up: New Pique Polos from Criquet Shirts

The good ‘ole Austin boys at Criquet Shirts have added a few new shirt styles to their lineup, including these new pique shirts.  These are a GREAT compliment to their traditional Player’s Shirts, going for the definitive ‘polo shirt’.  Available in the insanely patriotic red, white, and blue, they’ve got all your basics covered.  And don’t forget the logo…it’s a cricket…get it?

Red Clay Soul Gift Guide #1: Whiskey Bent & Hell Bound

The holidays are getting close…  There is Eggnog and yule logs, twinkling lights and fruit cakes…it’s a great time of year.  There are also Christmas lists.  We here at Red Clay Soul want to help.

As we do every year, we starting off our series of gift lists today.  There is a theme, which you’ll figure out as we release them over the next few weeks.  First, the list of approved gifts for the drinkers:


From Top Left:

1. “Kentucky Bourbon Cocktail Book”:  Not only is this a great coffee table book, but it’s vital research for the holiday season, from Thanksgiving through  New Year’s Eve.  Don’t be the guy that says ‘uuh…yeah, I can cut it with some ginger ale…’.
2. Keychain Breathalyzer:  There was a cartoon that came on years ago – it was called G.I. Joe, and at the end of every episode, they featured a minute or two lesson for the viewers…don’t lie, be safe, look both ways, that sort of stuff.  Their catchy phrase at the end of every feature was “and knowing is half the battle”.  Apply that here.
3. Luxardo Gourmet Marichino Cherries:  Sure, any old cherry will do in your Old Fashion, but gourmet cherries will give your drink super powers.  Your dancing skills will improve, your jokes will be the funniest in the room, and ladies will find you irresistible.
4. Alden X Leffot Whiskey Shell Cordovan Tanker Boots:  Whiskey boots for whiskey drinkers…get it?  The ‘don’t wear the t-shirt of the band you are going to see’ doesn’t apply here.
5. Duck Decanter by Vagabond House:  A good bottle of bourbon needs a good home.  The decanter is the upper crust way to serve your loose juice…rather than from the bottle.  This is a great guy-gift.
6. Antler King Double Jigger by Vagabound House:  Efficiency is next to Godliness…or something like that.  This 2 for 1 jigger is a no brainer.  They are also paramount for making a good Manhattan.  And everyone loves a good Manhattan.
7. Leather Flask by Filson:  There are so many situations in which booze may need to ninja it’s way in, and there no better way to travel than with Filson.  Rather than look like a homeless person or a college freshman, leave the bottle at home, and choose something more civilized.
8. Jefferson’s Presidential Reserve Bourbon:  You can never go wrong giving a good bottle of bourbon.  There is a reserved space in any liquor cabinet for this Kentucky goodness.  Last year was Blanton’s, which is outstanding, but this year we’re going to recommend the Jefferson’s.  Serve it alone or with a cube of ice.  Drink.  Repeat.
9. Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon:  Wine drinkers rejoice!  The Mrs. has gotten me into good cabernets, and the Silver Oak is tough to beat.  It’s a ~$80 bottle of wine, so this is the perfect gift for a boss/co-worker, neighbor, or her parents.
10: Persol 714P Folding Sunglasses:  A good pair of dark sunglasses are essential when drinking.  Refer to these as ‘hater-blockers’.  Block in style.
11. Ralph Lauren Glen Plaid Double Old Fashion Glasses:  I got a set of these last year, and we use the ALL THE TIME.  Classy, not so masculine that she won’t use one, but heavy enough to feel significant.  DoF is the perfect glass size for 90% of the drinks you serve.
12. Orvis Bullet Bottle Opener:  An intimidating way to pop a top, and a perfect stocking stuffer.  The back end of the bullet doubles as a corkscrew.  Again with the utility.  Well done.
13. Orvis Battenkill Bottle Holder:  A really cool idea…what, did you think you were going to travel with that good bottle of wine or scotch in a paper bag?  Heavens no.
14. Knob Creek Rye Whiskey:  After quite a bit of taste testing, I have deduced that Knob Creek’s rye is the best for Old Fashions.  It has just the right taste for my preference.  Everyone is different, but it doesn’t mean they are right.  I am.  Buy this bourbon.

Cheers, folks.  What did I miss?

Behind the Brand: Dubarry of Ireland

Fall is coming, folks. There is nothing we can do to stop it. Gone are the days of ultra-high humidity and sunsets at 8:30PM. The cold mornings are followed by warm afternoon sun and cool evenings. The rain will play an important part of the next few months as well. It’s time to prepare accordingly – especially your closet.

The elements may be a lot of overcome, but stock yourself with a healthy serving of Dubarry and you’ll be mighty fine (and warm!).  Anne from Dubarry HQ was nice enough to sit down for a chat…

Dubarry was founded in 1937 as a co-operative to provide work in the small town of Ballinasloe, County Galway, on the glorious West Coast of Ireland. The name was borrowed from Madame du Barry, a famous French courtesan, to give the brand a more European feel. Dubarry prided itself as a specialist hand stitched moccasin manufacturer, drawing from a local population of skilled and hardworking craftsmen and women. Since that time the brand has developed this heritage and expertise, combining the generations of skilled craftsmanship with the best modern innovations in production technology to create world class products for the most demanding environments.

After having established itself as the market leader in the design and manufacture of Dubarry Performance Marine Footwear (sailing boots and boating/deck shoes) Dubarry turned its attention to the fieldsports and country lifestyle market. The Dubarry County Collection quickly rose to prominence across Europe, as they succeeded in merging the technical expertise of their Marine Collection with style and elegance in design. Within the past decade Dubarry has introduced a clothing collection, which holds true to their passion for old-world craftsmanship, high quality, performance fabrics, and timeless design.

The Dubarry “Guy” and the Dubarry “Look” go hand in hand: The Dubarry guy is a man who is not concerned about trends or fast fashion. He wants footwear and clothing that will never fall out of vogue, and that he can wear with pride for years. He needs gear that he can wear working out in the yard, rinse off, and wear out into town without missing a beat. I daresay he may be a bit of a traditionalist. He appreciates luxury and quality, but doesn’t need to be flashy about it. He’s a man that needs boots that keep his feet warm and dry, and a jacket that keeps out the wind and cold and wet. The Dubarry guy is active, smart, understated, and always dressed appropriately, whatever the weather.

What makes Dubarry special? One of the tag lines that we use for our Kerry boot is that it’s “Elegantly styled with off-road capabilities.” I think this phrase is applicable to our brand as a whole. We’ve managed to create products that are hard-working and highly functional, but with classic silhouettes and a more traditional design ethos. Dubarry is a heritage brand with a rich history, still based right in County Galway, and it is that history and expertise which informs the way we design and develop our products. Our boots are all hand-crafted in Portugal, with leather that we tan on site. The waterproof/breathable Gore-Tex lining that we use in our footwear and some of our clothing is unmatched in performance.

A huge part of who we are as a brand is our close proximity to our customer. We interact with our core, traditional customer at hundreds of horse shows, game fairs, and boat shows around the world every year. This keeps Dubarry and our products grounded and focused on our end user.

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I really dig quite a bit from the Dubarry lineup.  My favorites:

The Yeats Vest: This is a sharp vest.  I love the color, and the quilted look.  It’s a dressed up version of an everyday hunting vest.
The Crean Lambswool Sweater: A Snap-T fleece for adults.  But made of lambswool and much better fitting.
The Kildare Boots: Keeping with the theme of the taller Dubarry boots, I love the mid-calf cut; much more ‘everyday’ friendly.  These would go with everything from shooting, building a fence, or tailgating.  THESE WILL BE MINE…

Be sure to check out the Dubarry collection at Onward Reserve.

Atlantic Drift Goodies

Outstanding work by Atlantic Drift on their Oyster Roast Tuxedo shirt and their Fly Visor.  How do you like that Wm. Lamb artwork?  Get ‘em quick…they may not last long.

Filson Announces Their Restoration Department

 

Well, it makes perfect sense. Not only will a Filson bag last longer than you’ll have a taste for it, but now a hole, tear, or too much wear won’t stop your Filson from holding up it’s end of the bargain.  Filson has announced their Restoration Department which will take care of your worn bag, but also be selling vintage bags that have been professionally restored in-house.  Be sure to check their site every Monday starting on November 17th for new offerings.