Update: It appears that 1776.co has gone out of business. I’ll leave this here for historical purposes.
Disclosure: 1776.co provided the sample flask, and I am an affiliate of their online store. If you follow a link to 1776.co on this site and buy any products, I receive payment. This is not a product review, which would be a conflict of interest, this is basically an advertisement. That means I’m a corporate shill and you should all run for the hills. Seriously though, there’s a coupon at the bottom.
Let’s talk flask. I’ve always had a flask or two, detritus from various bachelor parties, 21st birthdays, and trade shows, and I can honestly say that in the decade in which I’ve been legal to drink I’ve used them maybe twice. Why is that? They’re eminently portable, hold enough liquor to get reasonably drunk, and you look cool as all get-out drinking from one. Maybe it’s the weird looks you get pouring from a flask into a glass of Coke at Denny’s, or the weight of it tugging unevenly on one leg of your cargo pants. Maybe it’s finding two ounces of booze from weeks… months? ago, and choking down metallic-tasting oxidized whisky because you can’t bear to let it go to waste. Man, I sound like an alcoholic. I’m not, I swear, that was all just college.
When 1776.co contacted me about their affiliate program and sent me a free flask, something changed. The flask itself is well-made and functional (see below), but the hand-cut, hand-stitched leather sleeve says something classy about it and (by extension) me. Slipping this thing into my inner jacket pocket scratched that “gentleman envy” itch in the same way that a glass of old single malt, a good book, and a comfortable armchair does. I’ve since tossed out all my other flasks and have actually carried this one to a few events in the City. I’ve also found a great new use for a flask: pouring samples of a good single malt for people at parties. Nothing says “I know my scotch” like pouring 30ml of Glenmorangie Nectar D’Or and making a convert out of someone with a vodka martini in their hand.
The flask itself is your standard 8 oz. stainless steel curved hip-flask. It’s probably made in China (it doesn’t say, but there are no US companies manufacturing flasks. Welcome to the world economy.), but it’s solid and well-made and doesn’t leak. It also has a nice understated “brushed metal” finish, which I like a lot better than the obnoxiously shiny flasks I’ve owned before. It comes with a gift box and funnel. The leather sleeve (with choice of color, I prefer the natural-looking Chicago Brown) is gorgeous Horween leather (apparently the same company that makes NFL footballs), hand-cut and hand-stitched by 1776 co’s craftsmen. When “engraved” (actually etched), the letters are crisp, black, and sharply recessed in the leather (the metal is not engraved). The front of the leather sleeve is also tastefully etched with the company’s patriotic logo. The sleeve does slide off with some effort, which is my only gripe about the flask, but this can be easily remedied with some double-sided or rolled tape. It’s tight enough not to come off in your pocket, though, just if you’re tugging at it. These flasks make excellent gifts (although I was planning to just buy one for myself until they sent me one for free!). Oh, and the leather smells glorious.
A word about flask usage. It’s tempting to store whisky (or whatever) in the flask so you can grab it and go, but that would be a mistake. Alcohol left in a flask will take on a metallic flavor after as little as three days (fewer if stored somewhere hot). Also, store only spirits in the flask – beer, wine, or mixed drinks contain acids that will deteriorate (or rust) the metal on the inside, and might leave behind sugars that will cause mold or bacteria to grow. To clean a flask, don’t use soap (you’ll never get it all out). Pour hot water, white vinegar, or lemon juice into the flask, shake vigorously, and rinse with clean water several times. Allow to drain and dry upside-down. I also suggest removing the leather sleeve when doing this, as leather and water do not mix. This is a good reason not to glue the sleeve on.