Cool Material » Men's gear blog featuring the latest trends in watches, gear and gadgets. http://coolmaterial.com/ Cool Material is a men's shopping blog covering the latest in gear, gadgets, watches, style, technology and more. en-us Why Every Whiskey Lover Should Care About Grain-to-Glass Distilleries https://coolmaterial.com/food-drink/grain-to-glass-whiskey/ 269781 Thu, 06 Oct 2022 10:45:14 EST Nickolaus Hines Looking at a bottle of wine, the location of the vineyard is often front and center. The same can’t be said for whiskey, despite the fact that it, too, is an agricultural product. But there’s…

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Looking at a bottle of wine, the location of the vineyard is often front and center. The same can’t be said for whiskey, despite the fact that it, too, is an agricultural product. But there’s a set of distillers out there who are looking to change that, and the resulting bottles are a win for whiskey lovers everywhere.

Whiskey makers have traditionally picked high yielding grain varieties that are consistent and cost efficient. The implication that grain variety and quality has an impact on flavor turns that notion on its head.

Conventional thinking is that the distillation and aging process eliminates flavor variations that might arise from the specific variety or location it’s grown in. But in 2021, Ireland’s Waterford Distillery published a peer-reviewed paper in the journal Foods that was led by Dustin Herb from Oregon State University that found “conclusive proof of terroir’s influence on whisky.”


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In short, the paper lays out that barley’s flavors are deeply influenced by where it’s grown, and that shows through after distillation. That means that, like wine, whiskey can show terroir. Terroir doesn’t have a direct translation from French, but broadly refers to the soil, climate, and growing methods of a plant in any particular region.

In Waterford’s experiment, two plots with distinct soil types in southeast Ireland grew two barley varieties, Olympus and Laureate, that were harvested in 2017. After the barley was harvested, fermented, and distilled, the unaged distillate was tested through mass spectrum gas chromatography and by a sensory panel. Of the 42 identified flavor compounds, it was determined that terroir had an influence on 21 of them, ranging from nutty and malty notes to floral and fruity notes.

The paper put scientific backing behind the idea that better grain makes better whiskey. Waterford was the first to put the theory to the test from a scientific standpoint, but isn’t the only distillery that’s choosy about its grains. Isle of Raasay uses 100 percent Scottish barley, and malts its own barley with local peat for the 100 percent Isle of Raasay Single Malt releases. Stateside, Heaven Hill has a grain to glass experimental program and TX Whiskey from Firestone & Robertson Distilling Co. uses only Texas-grown corn, wheat, and barley.

“People care where their food is grown, hence the proliferation of farmer’s markets,” says Colby Frey, cofounder of Frey Ranch Distillery. “The next step is understanding where their spirits are made and a return to farm distilling, which was a common occurrence back in the 1700s and 1800s when distilling took root in America.”


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The Frey family has grown grains in Nevada for more than 165 years, and Colby and his wife and cofounder Ashley decided to make bourbons and ryes using the grains from their farm in Fallon. A federal experimental license allowed them to start distilling in 2006, but they weren’t able to really get going until 2013 when Nevada’s craft distilling laws changed.

Frey Ranch uses the phrase slow grown grains to describe its approach to whiskey. “Ultimately, it’s the idea that we know where our grains come from and they are not grown for speed or quantity,” Frey explains.

Except for corn, Frey Ranch grows winter variety grains that are planted in the fall and grow slowly through the winter as opposed to shooting up in the spring. Frey says this allows for a healthier plant with a stronger root system than one that grew more quickly in the spring (both are harvested at about the same time).

“Northern Nevada has a really unique topography with mountain ranges and a climate that vacillates wildly throughout the year – hot summer days and cool, winter nights, which lends itself perfectly to crop and soil regeneration,” Frey says. “For five generations, the Frey family has been farming in Fallon, Nevada, so we truly understand what the land needs to produce the highest quality grains, such as crop rotation. The first rule of farming is you should never over plant one specific crop, so we plant alfalfa – which is our primary cash crop – and then rotate with our whiskey grains – corn, wheat, barley and rye – which helps to balance the alkaline levels in the soil.”

It also has an environmental impact.


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“As we got our start in whiskey production, I was surprised to learn how many big distilleries import their grain from other countries – specifically rye from places like Canada and Germany,” Frey says. “The amount of energy it consumes to transport the grain from other countries to the U.S. has a huge impact. As whiskey farmers, we have the ability to grow beautiful rye, wheat, barley and corn literally surrounding our distillery and reduce our carbon footprint in the process.”

Today, the vast majority of the whiskey you pick up at the store is made using commodity grains, from the reliable (and delicious) everyday options to bucket list bottles. Even the majority of smaller craft whiskey producers use commodity grains or source from a distillery that does.

So while no home bar would be complete with only grain-to-glass whiskeys, you’re missing out if you don’t have a at least a couple of bottles that highlight the beauty of a whiskey made with a grain-first mentality.

Grain-to-Glass Distilleries Every Whiskey Lover Needs to Know

Waterford-Whisky

Waterford Whisky

A major force behind highlighting barley and why how the grain is grown matters, Waterford makes Irish whiskey unlike any other you’ve ever tried. Its Single Farm Origin series highlights hyper regional expressions. For something truly unique, try a Waterford whiskey that uses biodynamic barley grown with the moon cycles.

“Biodynamics is one of the ultimate forms of agriculture that, among other things, seeks to develop the most intense and purest expressions of barley and of the land or terroir,” Neil Conway, head brewer at Waterford, says. “This also represents real rarity in whiskey: it’s not a manufactured rarity that uses the same homogenous inputs as elsewhere. There’s next to no biodynamic barley available in Ireland – and we take it all.”




Frey-Ranch-Distillery

Frey Ranch Distillery

At Frey Ranch, ground to glass means that the company owns and oversees 100 percent of the production process.

“People care deeply about where their food is grown and that shouldn’t be any different with the spirits they drink,” says Colby Frey, cofounder of Frey Ranch Distillery. “By growing grains ourselves, we know exactly what we have, what (if any) pesticides were applied, and where it comes from.”

The Frey Ranch Straight Bourbon uses four grains (corn, rye, wheat, and barley) for a balanced Nevada bourbon.




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Laws Whiskey House

While this Denver distillery is located in a city rather than a farm, Laws Whiskey House is dedicated to using high-quality Colorado grains. It sources heirloom grains primarily from two family owned farms. For its San Luis Valley Rye, Laws uses low-yield, semi-wild rye from the Cody Family Farm that’s been grown at 8,000 feet elevation since the 1930s. It’s then malted on the farm at Colorado Malting Company.

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Mark Your Calendars: You Can Bid on the Kith x BMW i4 M50 on 10/7 https://coolmaterial.com/rides/cars/mark-your-calendars-you-can-bid-on-the-kith-x-bmw-i4-m50-on-10-7/ 269676 Thu, 06 Oct 2022 10:25:48 EST Brett Braley 50 years ago, BMW built their first electric car to celebrate the Olympic Games in Munich. Now, they’re at it again with a revamped i4 M50, in partnership with Kith. The second partnership of theirs,…

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50 years ago, BMW built their first electric car to celebrate the Olympic Games in Munich. Now, they’re at it again with a revamped i4 M50, in partnership with Kith. The second partnership of theirs, Kith and BMW make electromobility the focus of their combined efforts by designing an all-electric car that’s to be auctioned off with Sotheby’s starting October 7.

The BMW i4 M50 is the first fully electric BMW M model, making it especially rare in the car market. The paint is a bespoke palette designed exclusively for the partnership, called “Kith Vitality Green”, hammering in the sustainability factor of this collab. Additional features worth the estimated $200,000 pricetag will include the adaptive M chassis, these include the M sports brakes with red brake calipers, the M aerodynamic package and the BMW Individual Shadow Line lights.

With only seven of these cars ever to be produced, and only one up for auction, you better mark your calendars and remortgage your house if you want to own a bit of automotive history.

Now, if you need to lower your expectations a little, you’re in luck. Kith will also release a 51-piece collection to honor the collab. Using green and brown as the backdrop of their capsule, it’ll feature many familiar Kith designs, while also including car-centric offerings, such as keychains, microfiber towels, car plates, and canteens.

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Polaroid Releases Colorful, Retro Speakers https://coolmaterial.com/tech/polaroid-releases-colorful-retro-speakers/ 269625 Thu, 06 Oct 2022 10:15:02 EST John A. Paradiso Polaroid already has the nostalgia-induced instant photo market cornered, so the American brand has decided to test out the audio industry with a range of colorful, stylish music speakers. The collection has four options: the…

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Polaroid already has the nostalgia-induced instant photo market cornered, so the American brand has decided to test out the audio industry with a range of colorful, stylish music speakers. The collection has four options: the portable P1 and P2, the boombox-esque P3, and the P4. The P1 and P2 offer 10 and 15 hours of playback time, respectively, and are equipped for on-the-go music listening. The P3 has a built-in metal handle and comes with an analog dial. The P4 is a bit larger and, as such, has the most powerful playback capabilities.

The most impressive, and smartest, feature of the collection is that all of the speakers can seamless connect with each other offering seriously impressive stereo sound. And, from a design perspective, Polaroid has nailed it with pops of retro color and a simple, user-friendly construction. The lineup starts at $60 for the P1 and goes up to $290 for the P4.

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The Newest Rowing Blazers Collection is Gaining Speed https://coolmaterial.com/style/clothing/the-newest-rowing-blazers-collection-is-gaining-speed/ 269624 Thu, 06 Oct 2022 10:05:19 EST Brett Braley Rowing Blazers, the perennial favorite of streetwear-meets-prep, is known for their mixed bag of collabs. From Babar to Barbour, you never know what you’re going to get from the brand. This week, they launched their…

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Rowing Blazers, the perennial favorite of streetwear-meets-prep, is known for their mixed bag of collabs. From Babar to Barbour, you never know what you’re going to get from the brand. This week, they launched their latest capsule with Sega icon Sonic the Hedgehog. The collection, which includes cashmere sweaters, totes, and more, has the blue mascot emblazoned over it. Harkening to ’90s nostalgia never felt so cool.

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Today’s Steals (10.6.2022): Ralph Lauren – Up to 50% Off Sale Items ++ https://coolmaterial.com/daily-steals-deals/todays-steals-10-6-2022-ralph-lauren-up-to-50-off-sale-items/ 269968 Thu, 06 Oct 2022 09:40:40 EST Amirah ]]> The TRAIL by Proof Collection Was Engineered for Every Stage of Your Adventure https://coolmaterial.com/style/the-trail-by-proof-collection-was-engineered-for-every-stage-of-your-adventure-prtnr/ 269670 Thu, 06 Oct 2022 09:15:20 EST Pat McLaughlin Whether you’re heading to the trailhead at daybreak, trekking up switchbacks after lunch or enjoying the scenic vistas after a post-hike dink, you need clothing engineered with trail-ready performance details and clean, considered style that…

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Whether you’re heading to the trailhead at daybreak, trekking up switchbacks after lunch or enjoying the scenic vistas after a post-hike dink, you need clothing engineered with trail-ready performance details and clean, considered style that can handle it all. That’s where the TRAIL by Proof collection comes in. With the Active Short, Tee, and Fleece Pullover, this collection covers all the moments before, during, and after your outdoor adventures–wherever your trail ends up. What are you waiting for? Upgrade your outdoor gear with the TRAIL by Proof collection on Huckberry here.

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Prepare Yourself for All Your Marvel Favorites With These Iconic Jewelry Pieces https://coolmaterial.com/style/prepare-yourself-for-all-your-marvel-favorites-with-these-iconic-jewelry-pieces-prtnr/ 269886 Thu, 06 Oct 2022 09:15:06 EST Pat McLaughlin Whether you’re preparing yourself for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Avengers: The Kang Dynasty or the as-of-yet-untitled third Venom movie, you’re going to need some help in the accessories department, and that’s where The GLD Shop…

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Whether you’re preparing yourself for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Avengers: The Kang Dynasty or the as-of-yet-untitled third Venom movie, you’re going to need some help in the accessories department, and that’s where The GLD Shop comes in with their licensed pieces based on all the iconic Marvel properties. Regardless of your favorite hero, their place in the spectrum, or how powerful they are, GLD has a pristine piece of bling that will make them shine. For a limited time, buy one get one free with the code BOGO. Get yours here.
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Thursday Link Roundup https://coolmaterial.com/link-roundup/thursday-link-roundup-3/ 269796 Thu, 06 Oct 2022 08:30:51 EST John A. Paradiso The web is a vast place best explored with a little guidance. Every day we curate a small collection of links worthy of your time, meaning you can skip the wandering and get right to…

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The web is a vast place best explored with a little guidance. Every day we curate a small collection of links worthy of your time, meaning you can skip the wandering and get right to the good stuff.

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Everything You Need to Know to Master Your Own Texas-Style Barbecue https://coolmaterial.com/food-drink/texas-barbecue-guide/ 269050 Wed, 05 Oct 2022 10:45:47 EST John A. Paradiso The act of grilling is truly ritualistic. Mastering your grill requires real dedication and the acceptance that a grill can be an unforgiving appliance. Grill and barbecue enthusiasts dedicate years to practicing and perfecting this…

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The act of grilling is truly ritualistic. Mastering your grill requires real dedication and the acceptance that a grill can be an unforgiving appliance. Grill and barbecue enthusiasts dedicate years to practicing and perfecting this particular food preparation. And that’s just to nail the basics. Only a select few of burgeoning grill masters will take the leap to Texas barbecue.

Barbecue, not the general term that is so often applied to the act of grilling meat or veggies, is effectively a national pastime. Many cultures have slow-cooked, smoked, and open-flame food preparation techniques. The modern American notion of barbecue can be directly traced to traditional Mexican, Caribbean, African, and Native American techniques with an emphasis on long, slow cooking times and smoking. All of these influences can be seen in Texas barbecue.


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What is Texas Barbecue?

Texas barbecue pitmasters smoke meat over indirect heat for a long time with slow, careful consideration. Beef is the preferred protein, owing to the state’s history of cattle ranching. The slow-smoking process has been used by indigenous folk for centuries, and the immigration of German and Czech settlers brought with them European meat smoking, particularly sausage.

Since Texas is such a large state, different sub-styles of Texas barbecue have sprouted. Central Texas barbecue is usually considered to be the standard for the state, and gets the most love for its smoked brisket. South Texas has more of a focus on barbacoa (the etymological route for barbecue), east Texas often uses more chopped beef, and west Texas pitmasters prepare their meat over direct heat, which is more similar to classic American grilling techniques.

What Makes Texas Barbecue Different?

The United States is home to many different barbecue traditions, and Texas is just one of them. Kansas City, the Carolinas, and Memphis are all famous for barbecue styles, though you’ll find regional variances throughout the South. One of the main differences between them all are the sauces and rubs. In Kansas City you’ll find a wide variety of meats in a thick and sweet barbecue sauce. Memphis-style barbecue primarily uses pork, especially pork ribs, that are prepared either “dry” (rubs, salts, and other seasonings) or “wet” (covered in tomato- and vinegar-based barbecue sauces). The Carolinas are also predominately pork-focused and home to the pulled pork sandwich and pork shoulder. Different regions in North and South Carolina use varying sauces and vinegars, but the use of pork is the region’s defining characteristic.

Everything You Need To Make Your Own Texas BBQ

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Meat: Butcher Box/Porter Road

The most important thing in any Texas Barbecue is, of course, the meat. Shop from your local butcher, as they’ll be able to direct you to the best cuts. Since Texas barbecue is all about beef, make sure you’re loading up on brisket and beef ribs. Pork ribs, pulled pork, and sausage are also often served at a Texas barbecue. If you don’t have a high quality butcher near you, we’d recommend trying some online meat delivery options. Butcher Box and Porter Road comes highly rated and is well-regarded for curated sourcing.


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Smoker: Traeger Pro 575

Your backyard charcoal grill just won’t cut it for a true Texas barbecue. In a pinch, you might be able to convert your grill into a serviceable smoker. But if you want the full barbecue experience, you’ll want to invest in a dedicated smoker. If you’re looking for one that can pull double duty, the PK Grill & Smoker is a solid bet (as would any of Traeger’s many fine smokers). The Traeger Pro 575 with built-in Wi-Fi connectivity is precise, consistent, and versatile, so you can smoke a variety of meats at the same time. Plus, thanks to its wireless connection, the Traeger Pro 575 can be controlled remotely so you can manage temperature and time settings right from your phone.




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Meat Thermometer: ThermoPro TP20 Wireless Meat Thermometer

A meat thermometer makes the whole cooking experience much more seamless. And if you’re taking your Texas barbecue seriously, you should opt for a wireless one. The ThermoPro TP20 Wireless Meat Thermometer can calibrate for different types of meat and covers a range of up to 300 feet so you can still get accurate readings while away from your smoker.




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Knives: 8” Brad Leone Signature Series Chinese Santoku Cleaver

Your kitchen really only needs three knives. However, if you’re working with a lot of meat, you’re going to need to get yourself a serious cleaver. The 8” Brad Leone Signature Chinese Santoku Cleaver from Lamson will get you through just about any Texas barbecue with ease.




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Rubs: Spiceology Ultimate Rub Collection

When it comes to Texas barbecue, you want to let the meat do the talking. That means you’re not going to drown your brisket, ribs, or sausage in any thick and heavy sauces. Instead, you’ll want to opt for some flavorful, complementary dry rubs. Pitmasters often opt for simple rubs like salt, pepper, garlic, and maybe a few spicier options. But, if you want an all-in-one set, it’s hard to argue with the Ultimate Rub Collection from Spiceology. This variety pack will let you experiment with a range of flavors for your next Texas barbecue.

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Have a Headache? Therabody’s SmartGoggles are the Answer https://coolmaterial.com/home/have-a-headache-therabodys-smartgoggles-are-the-answer/ 269672 Wed, 05 Oct 2022 10:24:46 EST Brett Braley Sitting in front of a computer all day, mixed with stress and a bit of anxiety, and I’m constantly on the verge of a headache. Luckily, I’m eyeing Therabody’s SmartGoggles as my solution. Therabody has…

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Sitting in front of a computer all day, mixed with stress and a bit of anxiety, and I’m constantly on the verge of a headache. Luckily, I’m eyeing Therabody’s SmartGoggles as my solution. Therabody has made a name for itself as a behemoth in the therapy market, offering products that work with your body to alleviate pain and pressure points. It shouldn’t be any different for our head.

The SmartGoggles utilizes biometric data through their connected app, called SmartSense, to build a therapy plan that’s suited for you while in use. The wrap-around eyemask uses heat, vibrations, and massage to relax your tension, alleviate headaches, and even help you sleep better. While there is a lot of technology packed into the device, it’s still a natural solution versus swallowing 14 ibuprofens like mints, so I say it’s definitely worth a shot.

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Dodge Challenger Black Ghost https://coolmaterial.com/rides/dodge-challenger-black-ghost/ 269491 Wed, 05 Oct 2022 10:16:29 EST Amos Kwon Dodge is doing up a few special edition cars for its Challenger swan song. The two-door muscle car’s latest (and baddest) version revives an old nameplate known as the Black Ghost. The original 1970 version…

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Dodge is doing up a few special edition cars for its Challenger swan song. The two-door muscle car’s latest (and baddest) version revives an old nameplate known as the Black Ghost. The original 1970 version is legendary, and the modern interpretation could very well take on the same ethos. Just like the original, the new version is all black with white tail stripes and also gets a gator roof (but this time it’s a pattern on a hardtop and not a vinyl cover). It also gets chrome brand lettering, hood pins, Challenger script badges and a chrome fuel filler flap. The interior is just as sinister with black leather and Alcantara, carbon fiber trim, and Ghost badging. The power backs up the looks with the beastly Jailbreak-spec supercharged 6.2-liter V8 good for 807 horsepower. A mere 300 will be made, and it will no doubt be a collector’s item given that the gas-powered Challenger will end after the 2023 model year.

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Jumpstart Your Morning Routine with the Harry’s x Matte Black Gift Set https://coolmaterial.com/home/jumpstart-your-morning-routine-with-the-harrys-x-matte-black-gift-set/ 269519 Wed, 05 Oct 2022 10:08:17 EST Brett Braley Fan favorite razor company Harry’s recently partners with LA-based coffee giant Matte Black to bring you a gift set in time for the holidays (or just to keep for yourself). This partnership is a meeting…

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Fan favorite razor company Harry’s recently partners with LA-based coffee giant Matte Black to bring you a gift set in time for the holidays (or just to keep for yourself). This partnership is a meeting of the minds with each company dedicated to their individual craft and creating a community feel to their brands. The gift set will include a standard Winston shave handle in a monochromatic black and white design, with a matching razor stand and two blade cartridges. The set went on sale October 4 and retails for $35.

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Today’s Steals (10.5.2022): Todd Snyder – Up to 70% Off Sale Items ++ https://coolmaterial.com/daily-steals-deals/todays-steals-10-5-2022-todd-snyder-up-to-70-off-sale-items/ 269825 Wed, 05 Oct 2022 09:58:43 EST Amirah ]]> Wednesday Link Roundup https://coolmaterial.com/link-roundup/wednesday-link-roundup-3/ 269734 Wed, 05 Oct 2022 09:16:55 EST John A. Paradiso The web is a vast place best explored with a little guidance. Every day we curate a small collection of links worthy of your time, meaning you can skip the wandering and get right to…

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The web is a vast place best explored with a little guidance. Every day we curate a small collection of links worthy of your time, meaning you can skip the wandering and get right to the good stuff.

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The 4 Sweater Styles Every Guy Should Own https://coolmaterial.com/style/mens-sweater-styles/ 269347 Tue, 04 Oct 2022 10:45:49 EST Dillon McLaughlin When the air gets a little crisp, there are few articles of clothing that bring as much comfort as a good sweater. There are two main things to keep in mind when it comes to…

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When the air gets a little crisp, there are few articles of clothing that bring as much comfort as a good sweater. There are two main things to keep in mind when it comes to owning the right sweater: the material (cotton sweaters are common, but also wool and artificial blends) and the style. The former depends a lot on your fabric preferences. For the latter, there are four main styles that every guy should keep on hand from fall through spring.

Crew Neck Sweaters

Crew neck sweaters are your typical sweater style with sleeves, a circular hole for our spherical heads, and a hem at the bottom. If someone was trying to teach an alien what an archetypal sweater was, they’d pull out a few crew necks. To put a little bit more technical terminology to it, a crew neck sweater is a sweater with a round, collarless neckline.

Crew neck sweaters are a practical outer layer for casual outfits, whether you’re lounging around the house or running a few errands. Then, depending on the rest of the outfit, it can easily blend into a dressier outfits — with the important caveat that the crew neck sweater is what’s elevated, not what does the elevating. If you plan on wearing a sweater to a Friday happy hour or the company Christmas party, you’re going to need more formal pants, shoes, and accessories.


Wallace-Lake-Waffle-Sweater-from-REI

Wallace Lake Waffle Sweater from REI

You need a sweater you can beat the hell out of and not feel bad about. And that’s kind of REI’s whole deal. This one comes in a bunch of different colors, is made with easy-to-care-for cotton, and should last you awhile. Don’t think about it too hard, you’re not wearing it to an inauguration.




The-Heritage-Aran-from-Moss-and-Cable

The Heritage Aran from Moss and Cable

Despite what John Mulaney says, Irish sweaters (or an Aran jumper as they’re known over there),aren’t all itchy burlap sacks meant to make the wearer miserable beyond human comprehension. Plenty of them, like everything from Moss and Cable, are ridiculously cozy and exceptionally durable. With the Heritage Aran, you’re getting a truly local product, made in Donegal from Donegal wool by a woman who knows the Donegal weaving tradition.



V-Neck Sweaters

A v-neck is a crew neck that got a liberal arts degree. Technically speaking, a v-neck is any sweater where the neck drops to a point somewhere below the chin. There’s a good chance that you not only know what a v-neck sweater looks like, but that you also have strong feelings about them. If those are positive feelings, then you probably already have a couple in your closet. If they’re negative, well, there’s still no denying that the V does, in fact, make a sweater a little fancier.

It’s a small touch, but one that goes a long way to sharpening an outfit. You don’t have to go all in on v-necks, but you should have one or two you can rely on.


Ovik-V-Neck-from-Fjallraven

Övik V-Neck from Fjällräven

This sweater mixes the slightly inflated formality of a v-neck with the durable practicality of a crew neck. Put in real world terms, you can go for a day-long winter hike in it, then wear it to the base camp bar afterward and know that the sweater is a fit for both.




Cashmere-V-Neck-from-J-Crew

Cashmere V-Neck from J. Crew

This cashmere sweater from J. Crew will easily turn into one of your business casual go-tos. It’s also sustainably produced from cashmere wool, so it’s comfortable on your body and in your brain.



Quarter-Zip Sweaters

A quarter-zip is a good compromise between a full-zip hoodie and a typical crew or v-neck sweater. There’s a collar for that extra little bit of formality, but a zipper that goes about a quarter of the way down the front (hence the name) to allow room for neck comfort.

Over the colder months quarter-zips can double as regular shirts rather than being solely relegated to layered sweaters. A good quarter-zip sweater is breathable enough that it doesn’t make you feel like you’re overheating while being insulating enough that you stay warm when the air is crisp.


Waterfowl-Sweater-from-LL-Bean

Waterfowl Sweater from L.L. Bean

Like the REI crew neck sweater, this offering from L.L. Bean is designed to be worn rough, though it’s a little fancier looking. The merino wool can take a beating, and you can have confidence that you look pretty damn good on top.




Recycled-Cashmere-from-Patagonia

Recycled Cashmere from Patagonia

Patagonia’s owner recently announced that he is basically donating the company to the Earth. That’s a big move even for a company already known for its environmental initiatives. It’s an admirable move that can make you feel good about rocking Patagonia gear, and this recycled cashmere quarter zip is something to add to the list. It’s a simple, understated, functional sweater made of cashmere that would have otherwise been wasted.



Cardigan Sweaters

The cardigan is the most formal option on this list. It’s generally collarless (though not always, as you see in the two recommendations here) and opens fully down the front. Depending on the one you buy, the sweater pushes the boundaries of what kind of events you can wear a sweater to.

Unlike the other sweater styles, the meaning behind the name isn’t immediately obvious. It was invented by the man who led the Charge of the Light Brigade, the seventh Earl of Cardigan, James Thomas Brudenell. The original cardigans were sweaters the Earl had made for his regiment as part of their uniforms. It’s just one of a long list of clothes that originally came from the military. Though it’s safe to say that few on that list have seen a vibe shift as drastic as the cardigan.


Retirement-Shawl-Collar-Cardigan-from-Duluth-Trading-Co

Retirement Shawl Collar Cardigan from Duluth Trading Co.

Duluth has picked up on something distinct about the cardigan in that, yes, it’s a fancy sweater for businessmen, but it’s also a sweater for old men who are aggressively retired. The latter is comforting and makes for a durable sweater. It’s also a great display of I-don’t-care-and-I-know-you-know-I-don’t-care fashion sense. You look good, but it really doesn’t matter if you look good or not.




Calder-Cable-Cardigan-from-Fatface

Calder Cable Cardigan from Fatface

This cardigan has a shawl collar and a button down front. The cable knit fabric is a nice touch that keeps it right in the middle ground in terms of weight, so consider this one for fall and spring rather than the dead of winter.

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