A plethora of special pleasures nestles in the 3-D drawers and handmade boxes that make up the best of this year’s advent offerings, from spirited drams to sumptuous scents:
1. Caviar is a classic Christmas breakfast – The Prunier Caviar Advent Calendar fast-forwards the fun to December 1, with a daily 10g dose of either low-salt St James caviar, packed in Saint Laurent-designed tins, or delicate, dark-grained Prunier Shot Caviar, harvested from young Acipenser Baerii sturgeon.
£295, exclusive to www.harrods.com
2. Jo Malone arguably started the trend for beauty advent calendars: this year’s London Luxury Advent Calendar is filled with many of the brand’s classic lines, including Lime Basil & Mandarin cologne, Tuberose Angelica Cologne Intense, Geranium & Walnut Body Scrub, Peony & Blush Suede Body Crème and the much-loved scented “scatter” candles in Lime Basil & Mandarin and Pomegranate Noir. No wonder it’s a sellout every year.
3. There are just 10 of these Very Old & Rare Whisky Advent Calendars, created by Drinks by the Dram and featuring everything from 50-year-old single malt and award-winning sherried Speyside whisky to complex single casks and single malts from long-vanished distilleries. Presented in a specially designed box in walnut or Macassar ebony finish by Kentish cabinetmaker Simon Jewell Designs, this is a whisky aficionado’s dream.
£10,000 for 24 x 3cl bottles; www.masterofmalt.com
4. From the hard stuff to the softer allure of a gentle brew: the Newby Classic Tea Bag Collection Advent Calendar’s dinky, silk-handled drawers hide specialties such as African Pride, Assam and black tea with thyme, as well as herbal tisanes like verbena and rooibos orange – balm for the soul as December comes to a climax. The chic black and white doll’s house design is based on the company’s headquarters in Clerkenwell.
5. Competition in the field of chocolate-filled calendars can be meltingly hot, but London-based master chocolatier Paul A Young’s made-to-order version stays ahead of the pack with its keepsake appeal. Each of the 24 little wooden cottages houses a chocolate from the maestro’s selection – he is known for daring but delicious flavours such as wild strawberry and pink peppercorn or honey-cured bacon, Stilton and chocolate “sandwiches”, as well as his classic sea salted caramel. It’s a refillable, bring-it-out-each-year piece of nostalgic Christmas tradition in the making.
£75, www.paulayoung.co.uk; 020-7437 0011 to order