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Less Searching, More Sipping

The 15 Best Bourbons You Can Actually Buy

There’s no denying that bourbon is having a moment. The pride of Kentucky wins out over other whiskies because it’s a little sweeter, a little smoother, and a whole lot easier to mix. It’s also relatively affordable — very good bottles are available at very good prices. But thanks to its newfound popularity, some of the top-tier bottles — Pappy Van Winkle’s family reserve, George T. Stagg — are now shockingly expensive and, increasingly, hard to track down. Luckily, there’s still a wide variety to bourbons at accessible prices that are readily available in nearly every state. Which one to choose? Here’s a list to help you out.

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Kickin' Tunes

5 Sneakers, 5 Tunes: A Stylish Playlist for Spring

Grabbing a pair of classically rad sneakers better suited for trips to the beach than running a 5k personal best is a great way to prepare for warmer weather. Light materials and light colors paired with simple silhouettes make each of these five picks worth wearing for that next sundress encounter; for summer mood optimization, we’ve paired an accompanying soundtrack to each of our picks.

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Armoring up for battle with frigid surf

Kit: Winter Surfing

When it comes time to hit the surf and temps are in the 30s rather than the 70s, the right gear is the difference between channeling Bodhi and becoming intimate with the symptoms of hypothermia. While it’s admittedly tough to be toasty in water less than half your body’s normal temperature, with the right kit you can at least pursue your hobby and live to tell about it. Below are our picks for the gear you’ll need for winter surfing.

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Gear for the jungle and the reef

Kit: Underwater and Underground in Belize

Packing for a tropical getaway usually only involves deciding what color swim trunks to pack. But when your plans include jungle hiking, cave exploration and scuba diving, things get a little more complicated. The key is versatility — you need gear that works underground or underwater just as well as it does topside. For our week in Belize we made sure everything we took did more than just one thing well. This saved space in our luggage and let us be nimble yet well prepared. Here’s a sampling of what we took.

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Nip your audio in the bud

Cheap Beats: The Best Budget Earbuds

Earbuds, rather than full-size headphones, are essential to many a man mostly because they are so very compact. If you’re a commuter or jogger or some other type of person who can’t balance one-pound earmuffs on your head all day, and you don’t want to spend a pretty penny on something that you’re likely to lose or break, these are for you. They’re the best budget earbuds we’ve heard of, so listen up.

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Less Space, More Power

Kit: The Perfect Machine-Free Home Gym

Twenty years ago a home gym required an entire basement. This was ridiculous. Our ideas about fitness have progressed in breadth and scope — generally toward functional workouts that have real-world application — and the equipment required has diminished in size and price. If you’re looking to set up the perfect home gym that gives you the opportunity for a huge variety of exercises, it helps to have a few more tools in your kit.

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To Russia We Fly

Kit: Capturing the Olympics

Packing for a trip to Russia for the Sochi Olympics is no small feat. There’s weather, international travel, technology and a desire to stay light on our feet to consider. Gear needs to be tough, functional, lightweight and understated. Here’s a sampling of what we’re packing to use on a normal day in Sochi.

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Go Forth and Multiply

Life With Iris: Proliferation

The Iris Smart Kit ($299) does a fantastic job of keeping our home in check, but a quick survey of the complementary products available for the Iris Home Management System, by Lowe’s, had us feeling like a pot-bellied biker with a bone-stock Harley at home. Accordingly, we tested out an Iris Kit army of great add-ons.

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Be cool, not cold

Kit: Cold Weather Riding Gear

Warm sunny days are still several weeks away at least — and yet taking your motorcycle out for a few “pre-season” blasts can be a joyous, refreshing experience. At 55 mph a simple flip of your visor is like downing a triple-shot of your favorite espresso; at eighty-five it’s even better. Hell, a simple whiff of spring air mixed with just a touch of exhaust is enough to give you the stamina of Sting — provided you’ve prepared. We’ve lined up our own personal arsenal for your cold-weather-riding pleasure.

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Rough: The Way Your Face Likes It

The Nitty Gritty: 5 Best Face Scrubs For Men

One of the easiest ways to achieve clearer, cleaner, flake-free skin is to regularly rid your face of all the crap that builds up on and in it, but that’s no easy feat. The best way to defeat face gunk is to scrub it out. Here are our five favorite men’s face scrubs to get you started.

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Champagne you can drink with dinner

Toasted: Grower Champagnes to Drink Now

Among the wisest Champagne drinkers is the sommelier, and we consulted with one of the country’s best: Paul Grieco, owner of Hearth restaurant and Terroir, a wine bar with five locations in New York City. He helped us choose five bottles of grower’s Champagne to drink right now — and not just as a toast before dinner.

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Knock 'em Out of the Park

Stocking Stuffers: Sports Swag

Whether you participate in, watch, coach or simply nerd out about athletic endeavors, you’ll need some gear to supplement the activity. In addition to those courtside tickets and signed jersey you’ve got wrapped elsewhere, these, the best sports gifts under $100, will be a grand slam in a stocking.

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Stop style stigma

Stocking Stuffers: Swift Style Picks

Let him buy his own suit, shirts, shoes, coats, etc. (Or be super nice and put some under the tree.) The stocking is for things he won’t think about, but needs all the same. Things to fill pockets, adorn wrists, inspire great looks, and look terrific all the while. Here’s our list of the best…

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Finally something to match your kilt

They’ve Gone Plaid: 10 Flannels for the Season

We’ve had several months of icy chill to compound our initial fall flannel urge. We want it for good reason: it’s soft and cozy, warm, hard-wearing and masculine through and through. Wearing flannel doesn’t necessarily make you a lumberjack — though that’d be okay — but it does prepare you for the elements in a most style-appropriate manner. These are the best flannel shirts out there.

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Some junk for your trunk

Stocking Stuffers: Motorin’ Merch

True enthusiasts know that for the best driving experience you need very little accoutrement, if any at all. But a) everyone loves getting gifts and b) most times, some extra swag comes in handy. You could do the same thing you’ve done every year and get a gift card for the corner gas station, but…

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Slim Is In

Change in Your Pocket: Slim Wallets That Fit the Bill

Reducing your wallet’s contents reaps many benefits: it’s cathartic, helps with prioritization, and, most of all, gives you the chance to get a new, minimalist version. But finding the right minimalist cash caddy can be overwhelming. There are all sorts of types to sort through: card wallets, slim wallets, very simple money clips, front pocket wallets and so on. Instead of categorizing and complicating things more, we’ve decided to round up the best picks that run the entire gamut. Read on and find the perfect Simoleon sleeve for your new, minimalist life.

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If your Christmas tree had peripherals

Stocking Stuffers: Treats For Techies

We live in a world dominated by technology, and a lot of it is pretty expensive. People save for the big items and often overlook the small; that’s where stocking stuffers come in handy (they’re the stop-and-smell-the-roses of the gifting world). The best news: because tech is so very ubiquitous — if not necessary — these days, a giftee needn’t be a major computer nerd to appreciate these tech gifts under $100.

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Because it's too cold to go out alone

K9 Cool: Winter Gear for Fido

Whether it’s a morning stroll through the local park or a multi-day trek down the Pacific Crest Trail, there are plenty of adventures that we want to share with our four-legged buddies. Winter weather presents challenges, but the right gear makes all the difference. We’re not talking about the latest matching sweater set your great aunt and her little Yorkie were sporting at Thanksgiving dinner. No, cold weather gear for your canine buddy is as high-tech as anything you might find for yourself. We round up the best products to keep your furry friend on the trail all winter long.

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It's never too cold

Kit: Winter Running

It’s not like getting up for that pre-work run was easy during the summer or fall. Now it’s pitch black, relentlessly cold and the streets are covered with ice, snow and salt. But a brisk jog before sunrise is a one-way ticket to a fulfilling day, not to mention a long winter of staying fit despite a dining regimen of braised short ribs and mashed potatoes. The right gear will keep you warm, dry and, most importantly, stable when the ground beneath you isn’t.

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Standard Equipment

Stocking Stuffers: Pocket Stuffers

Editor’s Note: The stockings are hung by the chimney with care…now what the hell are you gonna put in there? Ah, stocking stuffers — the little things, the extras, the last minute goodies, the fun gifts. They’re as enjoyable to give as they are to receive. Thing is, there’s an endless supply of stocking-size gifts…

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Father Christmas, Meet Mother Nature

Stocking Stuffers: Just Add Nature

Editor’s Note: The stockings are hung by the chimney with care…now what the hell are you gonna put in there? Ah, stocking stuffers — the little things, the extras, the last minute goodies, the fun gifts. They’re as enjoyable to give as they are to receive. Thing is, there’s an endless supply of stocking-size gifts…

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Above your (work)station

Stocking Stuffers: Doodads For The Desktop

Editor’s Note: The stockings are hung by the chimney with care…now what the hell are you gonna put in there? Ah, stocking stuffers — the little things, the extras, the last minute goodies, the fun gifts. They’re as enjoyable to give as they are to receive. Thing is, there’s an endless supply of stocking-size gifts…

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What Your Air Should Wear

On Air: 35 Great iPad Air Cases

Just because the word “air” is in your latest iPad’s name doesn’t mean it’s going to float on the ether if (when) you drop it. There isn’t going to be some magical, fluffy cloud protection when you slip it in your work bag or duffel; there is neither a keyboard nor some sort of built-in kickstand. So, clumsy, what’re you supposed to do? How do you keep your pristine investment and advanced piece of technology looking new? How do you keep it accessible and functional in every imaginable way and every imaginable place, from the airplane to the board room to the living room?

For starters, you could do worse than picking up one of the best iPad Air cases on the market. We’ve rounded up 35 of the grandest grippers, gewgaw-laden sleeves, shells, keyboards and folios and parsed them by price.

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Righty-tighty

Tested: DeWalt 8V Max Gyroscopic Screwdriver

Though it was a “must-have” item when it hit the market decades ago, the cordless screwdriver’s charms wound down faster than the AA batteries stacked in its tail. To maintain shelf space on impulse item peg-boards, tool manufacturers did what they do best: they added power, shed weight and extended run times. While noble in effort, their improvements just weren’t reason enough for tradesmen to sacrifice space in their tool bags…until now. To see if the DeWalt 8V Max Gyroscopic Screwdriver ($89) delivers the right balance of intuitive tech and commonplace comfort, we took it out for an involved spin.

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The clock is ticking

Gift Guide: The Horologist

In staff meetings, he’s the one who always volunteers to be the timekeeper. On road trips, he insists on navigating with a sextant and chronometer. He wears a watch to bed and wakes his wife up at 2 a.m. to show off the SuperLuminova. You know this guy. He’s got a different watch for every day of the week. What could you possibly get him that he doesn’t already have? We’ve got you covered with the 12 gifts for the horologist in your life.

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You axed for it

Get To Da Choppa: 5 Great Axes for the Field, Not the Mantle

We don’t mean to split hairs here, but some axes are just simply better than others. You won’t find any designer jobs on this list; those are for your mantle. No, these are utilitarian axes that cut right to the chase, because there are trees to be chopped, timber to be split. Whether you’re a rugged outdoorsman, a weekend cabin dweller, a Middle-Earth dwarf or just a guy who has to clear some branches, these are the five best axes you’ll find.

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The right tools for any of his many jobs

12 Guys of Christmas: The Do-It-Yourselfer

Handyman, craftsman, mister-fix-it, Dad. Call him what you like, but the Do-It-Yourselfer on your list gives his all for you, no matter the task. Be honest: that beautiful new deck that causes envy in the eyes of all your friends would’ve been a creaking pile of splinters were it not for him, and you’d probably be sharing space with Fido out in the yard — in the K9 condo he designed and built no less — had he not stepped in to save your recent en suite experiment. Like most men of his ilk, your handyman rarely receives anything more than a hot coffee to start his day and a cold brew to finish it, which is fine by him. Isn’t it about time you gave him something more? Here are a few gift ideas that should ensure your calls for help continue to get answered.

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Grizzly Adams, you are not

Handsomely Hirsute: 6 Best Beard Trimmers

Straight edge razors, Dollar Shave Club, electric, Mach 3, safety razors…for the clean-shaven out there, options truly abound. For those of us who opt for a little or a lot of facial hair, though, companies seem less inclined to provide choices. Keeping that beard trim and looking good is important regardless of season, particularly when research has shown women are more attracted to men with heavy stubble than their clean-shaven counterparts. In the interest of cleaning up this situation, we’ve rounded up our favorite beard trimmers.

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For relaxing times...

Kanpai! The Five Best 12 Year Old Japanese Whiskies

Last week hummus and yoga were “in”, and while they’re not out yet, there’s a new top dog in Popularville: Japanese Whisky. Notice the spelling — that’s whisky with a -y, like Scotch whisky, not whiskey with an -ey, the spelling used for U.S. and Irish varietals. Yes, the Japanese whisky industry was modeled after the Scottish single malt industry’s practice of distilling and blending under one roof, but it’s since taken on a life of its own. As a result of several recent victories over Scottish whiskies at blind tasting competitions, Japan’s best-kept secret escaped, and the world is eager to test the hype. We tasted five of the best 12-year-old Japanese whisky offerings, and we can assure you that the hype is warranted.

Presented-by-lexus-logoThis month's features are presented by Lexus. The pursuit of perfection.
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Ultra prepared

Kit: Vermont 50 Ultramarathon

There are basically two schools of thought when assembling a kit for an ultramarathon: comprehensive preparation and more weight, or as minimalist as possible. For first-time ultra-distance runners, the decision can be a little confounding. You want to be very prepared and very light. This setup for the Vermont 50 — a trail run — reflects a good balance of preparedness and weight, with a bias toward the former in the choice of a hydration pack.