By Howard K. Brodwin
The cultural sights and sounds of Scotland have long been ingrained in the minds of many - the colorful intricate patterns of the plaid kilt, the contrasting bright pitch and low hum of the bagpipes, the amber glow of crackling fire and a glass of 12 year-old whisky. Hollywood gave everyone a lesson in Scottish history when Braveheart introduced us to William Wallace and his fight to keep England out of his homeland. Add to that the storied history of the Loch Ness Monster, who's legend dates back to the 6th Century, and the overall picture of Scotland starts to come to life as a place of adventure, historical significance and cultural tradition. And Dalvey offers some of the finest-crafted gifts and accessories in the world - keep them in mind when considering which groomsmen gifts to buy.
Deep in the Scottish Highlands - the northernmost part of country, bound by the Atlantic on one side and frigid waters of the North Sea on the other - a small family business emerged in the late 1800's, specializing in the manufacture of bagpipes. Grants of Dalvey built a successful and thriving business and soon realized they had developed expert manufacturing skills and fine craftsmanship that could translate into a wider array of products. While manufacturing bagpipes was a noble and worthy business at the turn of the century, there were far more opportunities to expand the company's offerings through items that also represented the spirit and culture of Scotland.
One hundred years later, Dalvey has become world renowned for their luxury lifestyle gifts and accessories, featuring beautiful detailing, expert workmanship and the true essence of Scotland. Still family owned and operated, Dalvey has built its reputation on a wide assortment of products for the traveler, sportsman and epicurean alike, utilizing the finest materials such as Italian leather, polished brass, copper and silver, and incorporating classic design and functionality.
For instance, it's certainly a tradition for any outdoorsman to carry with him a small flask of his favorite spirit to warm his bones on a chilly fall afternoon. To this end, Dalvey's Pocket Flask was designed to fit unobtrusively into a jacket pocket, so as not to interfere with movement or add extra bulk. The smooth, rounded design offers an elegant departure from the sharp-edged canteens that sportsmen have carried for years. Precision engineered from top-grade stainless steel the pocket flask holds 4.3 fluid ounces (125 ml) and is guaranteed never to rust or taint the flavor of its contents. Their multitude of uses make them perfect groomsmen gifts, too.
Now, should you find yourself on a chilly autumn morning hiking across Cairngorm plateau or fishing for Salmon off the Western Isles, and you'd like to share what's in your flask, the craftsman at Dalvey have created the perfect accompaniment: a unique Collapsible Travel Cup that packs away as neatly, and as stylish, as a pocket watch. Its small dimensions - 2 3/8 inches (60.5 mm) in diameter, 3/4 inch (18.6 mm) thick, and weighing only 3.9 ounces (110 grams) - allow it to fit easily in any pocket or even the smallest bag. At the press of a button, a spring lid pops opens to reveal a stainless steel, watertight, telescopic cup inside. If you're looking for unusual groomsmen gifts, look no further.
And speaking of pocket watches, Dalvey has crafted a classic pocket watch that's reminiscent of the timepieces from the days when the company first began. The Full Hunter Pocket Watch combines Dalvey practicality with precision watch making, featuring quartz movement, an 8 1/2 inch (21.6 cm) long stainless steel watch chain and a stylish gold Dalvey badge on the front of the case. Elegant without being ostentatious are trademark design traits of the Dalvey name, and the classic pocket watch offers a great opportunity to showcase their fine craftsmanship and design sensibilities. For the groomsmen who want to be on time, with class, this is the ideal gift.
Any trek across the scenic Highlands would be incomplete without one of mankind's most trusted and invaluable tools. A sturdy and compact pocket compass can aid even the most experienced outdoorsman find his way to Ballindalloch Castle (if you've misplaced your compass, it's located in the heart of Speyside, near to the famed whisky distilleries of Glenfiddich, Glenfarclas and Glenlivet). The Dalvey Pocket Compass incorporates a liquid-filled military standard capsule and a push button spring lid to provide fast and reliable readings. To assist with orienting a map, the interior of the case has etched reference lines, making it easy to reach your destination with plenty of time for enjoying the journey. A classic gift for your groomsmen.
The perfect end to many a glorious day in the Scottish Highlands, might be a hearty meal, a "wee dram" of whisky, and a robust and flavorful cigar. For many cigar aficionados, rather than clipping off the end with a flat double blade cutter, which often leaves small pieces of loose tobacco, the cutter of choice is a "punch," which creates a clean, round hole in the cap, for a smooth and even draw. The Dalvey craftsmen are no strangers to enjoying a well-punched cigar, as they've designed a beautiful Cigar Punch, with a retractable cutting edge and a convenient key ring. There's also a nice feature that allows you to eject the plug that's been cut from the cigar, so you have a clean, ready-to-use again punch.
The Scottish Highlands' environment of lochs, mountains and glens, is every bit as vivid and breathtaking as the pictures and postcards suggest. No visit to the Highlands would be complete without a stop at one of their world famous whisky distilleries. As luck would have it, Dalvey is located in the same part of the Highlands as the Dalmore Distillery, home to the world's most expensive whisky. Since, 1839, Dalmore's Award Winning Malts have been distilled on the picturesque shores of the Cromarty Firth in the Northern Highlands.
There are over 250,000 people living in the communities of the Highlands, and many have family heritage that dates back over many centuries. Included among them are the Grants of Dalvey who, for over one hundred years, have crafted well-engineered products, built with functionality in mind without sacrificing style or presentation.
"Turas math leibh!" - that's Gaelic for "have a good journey!"