Sunday, September 21, 2014

Pre-tasting liquid peat


I did the pre-tasting in two separate sessions to avoid to overload my palate with too much peat while I had to put together the tasting notes for all 6 of those whiskys... here's the result...

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Left to right: Glenglassaugh Peated, Bruichladdich 1991 - 2004, Bowmore 1990 - 2002

Left to right: Port Askaig 25yo., Laphroaig PX, Lagavulin 12yo. CS



Glenglassaugh Peated New Make

Nose: Cooked apples, pears, hints of honey, peat

Taste: Fruits, sweet peat, notes of cacao

Aftertaste: Ginger, sweet peat

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Bruichladdich 1991 - 2004, James McArthur

Nose: Seaweed, salt, decent note of peat, fruits (apple)

Taste: Salt, oak, vanilla, cooked apples, decent peaty aroma, nutmeg (?), some pepper

Aftertaste: Long and warming with a touch of salt



Bowmore 1990 - 2002, James McArthur

Nose: Honey, peat, créme brûlée, (roasted sugar, vanilla)

Taste: Burnt wood, ashes, vanilla, nuts, decent sweetness, caramel

Aftertaste: Charcoal and peat mixed with some sweetness



Port Askaig 25 yo.

Nose: Decent peat & smoke, fruits like apple, orange and passion fruit, liquorice, very complex

Taste: Lemon, smoke is getting intensive, smoked bacon, oak wood, liquorice, honey, ashes

Aftertaste: Long and smoky with a touch of salt



Laphroaig PX

Nose: Smoke, burnt wood, dark fruits like plums and berries

Taste: Honey sweetness, oak, smoke, raisins, caramel, hints of salt

Aftertaste: Plums, smoke and peat



Lagavulin 12 yo., Cask Strength

Nose: Vanilla, spices, peat, gun powder, earthy, ginger

Taste: Sweet peat, earth, grapefruit, very complex

Aftertaste: A long peaty and warming finish


Monday, September 15, 2014

09/06 - Zino Davidoff Legacy Award Dinner


Back in September 2013 Urs won the Zino Davidoff Legacy Award for his lifework. He was one of the first Davidoff depositaire worldwide and definitely the first in Europe... this was back in 1971, 43 years ago.

Now it's time to celebrate this award with his customers and friends in the Restaurant Wagghuus in Gottlieben, a place where several events have taken place, the place where he had his first event ever in 1986, together with Zino Davidoff himself. Back in those times they still smoked Cuban Davidoffs, something we all wish to happen again soon... On this evening, September 6, 2014, things have come full circle: Urs Portmann announced that this was the last event that he'd organized and that his sons Marc and Thomas will fully take the tiller from the end of the year on... which means finally that he really retires... but I'm sure we'll still see him very often in the shop in Kreuzlingen. 

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The view from the restaurant's terrace where the aperitif party took place

Davidoff Nicaragua Primeros

 Urs Portmann and Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard, CEO Davidoff




After the aperitif party on the terrace we moved inside to take our seats for the official program. Thomas led us as a moderator through the evening. Before every course there were different speeches, held by Urs himself but also by Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard and others. Both, Urs and Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard, went far afield when they talked about the business and Urs' history in specific. There were also some people in the room who've participated at the first event in the Waaghuus together with Zino Davidoff... as I said before: things came to full circle.

Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard referred several times to the interview with Urs in the Cigarclan magazine, where he mentioned that one of his most loved cigars is a Davidoff Chateau Yquem. Unfortunately he wasn't able to find one of those in the storage but as an "alternative" he handed out a box of Davidoff Chateau Mouton Rothschild, an awesome gesture! Urs, I hope you will enjoy those wonderful cigars in good health! A really well deserved gift!

Thomas moderating the event

The Zino Davidoff Legacy Award

Cuban or not?



The food was excellent as always, the served wines matched also very good... and so were the cigars... if you like them... Luckily I'd nice sticks with me and after the main course, the excellent Beef Wellington I fired up a Ramon Allones 898 from 1998, instead of the Davidoff Diademas which has been offered at this time. For me it's definitely the better choice. The evening, filled with many stories which made it a very deiverting time, flew by quickly and so we left the party around 1 am, knowing that we'd another hour to drive home...

Now it's time for Marc and Thomas to follow their father's footprints... not in the way they'll deal things and run the business but definitely in regards to the success he had over the last decades.

First course: Smoked pike carpaccio

Second course: riesling soup

Third course: Beef Wellington

Third course: Beef Wellington

Fourth course: Walnut brittle parfait with marinated plums



Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard

Well deserved - Urs with a box of Davidoff Mouton Rothschild

Marlene and Urs Portmann

Carlos Andrés presenting the Davidoff Diademas Nicaragua

The new Davidoff Diademas Nicaragua

Then (1986) and now (2014): Urs and Hannes

From left to right: Raymond Scheuer, Albert Manzone, Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard, Urs Portmann, Mirko Lorenzi

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

09/03 - A Diplomatic Tasting


Time's flying... I thought our last tasting was not long ago but a check of the calender told me that it's already 4 months ago... but with the summer vacation and my break because of my surgery it went by quickly. Anyhow... we're back smoking extraordinary cigars, on the schedule: a Diplomaticos No. 7 from the 80s. Unfortunately we were just three guys this time due to a dropping out on short notice of one of us.

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Semi boite nature box of Diplomaticos No. 7 from the 80s

Semi boite nature box of Diplomaticos No. 7 from the 80s

In the meantime I had the chance to smoke several of those discontinued No. 7s, from the 70s and 80s... they're always a big pleasure. Aged Diplomaticos are a class on its own, totally underrated and always in the shadow of the big brother Montecristo. Imho Diplomaticos and Montecristo are two different cigars, they've nothing in common... ok, maybe one thing: they're both made of tobacco, but tastewise they're different and individual.

I don't want to bother you with another tasting report of a cigar I've already reviewed, therefore I just want to attract your attention to the tasting that I've made earlier: http://bit.ly/Diplo_No_7_1988

The cigar was fantastic, I really enjoyed it for the whole 90 minutes I smoked it.






Because of the fact that the Diplomaticos No. 7 was "just a short smoke" (quote of the spender), we received a second cigar and filled out the tasting sheets while smoking it. The full and detailed reports can be found on www.feltedhat.com.

Los Statos de Luxe - a low budget cigar but I made the experience that those cheap sticks can have a very good flavor. Not very complex but definitely honest and pure tobacco flavor. We realized a funny thing with the existing box: stamped as "Totalmente a mano" but they gave the impression to be short and not long fillers... and the boxcode from the year 1996 was also in contrary to that because after the 1980s they've usually been machine made. In the meantime I found out that also machine bunched but hand finished cigars where stamped with "Totalmente a mano" which seems to be the most reasonable explanation.

Unfortunately my cigar was a little bit disappointing. The first puffs started very intensive but then the aroma dropped rapidly. During the last 2 cm some aroma came back but the rest was boring and nearly tasteless. It's a pity but that's life.

Our next and final tasting for the year 2014 should be around end of November, beginning of December... stay tuned for another interesting cigar to be smoked...







Friday, September 05, 2014

08/31 - 4th Craft Beer Festival, Rapperswil


The Craft Beer Festival 2014 in Rapperswil took place the 4th time... unfortunately I didn't hear about it before, but luckily I read it in time to have the chance to join this year's festival together with Michel, a friend of mine who also lives just around the corner. The Great Kiwi Beer Festival that I attended in March this year during my time in Christchurch was a blast, so I was curious how this Swiss event will be. It's not too far away from my place where I live, so we took the train on Sunday morning to Rapperswil... don't drink and drive, that's for sure!

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Festival T-Shirt of the Great Kiwi Beer Festival 2014 

Festival T-Shirt of the Great Kiwi Beer Festival 2014

Even though it was in the morning we enjoyed a nice Jean Nicot Gold beer during the train ride to Rapperswil, a cigar would've been perfect but trains are smoke-free unfortunately in the meantime...

Some Jean Nicot for the road...

The weather wasn't really nice but luckily the location on the castle of Rapperswil had a good rain protection, therefore it was no problem to enjoy the fantastic craft beers without any issues... as we arrived short past 11 am at the castle the queue was still short and we could enter quickly the yard. Tokens and glass were bought and the beer started to flow.


Tokens for the beer

It's a great idea to hand out some tasting notes books with all beers at the entrance (for the first 1000 visitors, approx. 2500 were expected) where you could add some infos to the beers you tried and you also had the chance to put a "TASTED" stamp on each you tried to help to keep the overview.

On the whole 36 beers were available... IPA, Double IPA, Porter, Stout, Lambic, Brown Ale... and many more different styles. It's great to see that an event with the big variety of craft beers is establishing here! Of all the beers that I tried there was just one which I wouldn't take again, a good ratio to be honest.

With the event taking place as an open-air event we're also able to smoke a cigar and so we fired up a few sticks during our time there and they matched all well with the beers... just for those who think that beer and cigars don't match. Maybe you always tried it with the wrong beer...

Tasting notes book

Filling the tasting glass

Michel's coming back with the beer supply

Blond - Double IPA

Red - Cherry Lambic

Dark brown - Coffee Stout

Brown Ale and a Juan Lopez Coronas

Another item on the schedule of this festival were two different tastings: one was "Chocolate and Beer" and the other one "Cheese and Beer". Even though I sometimes grab something sweet while enjoying a beer I decided to go with the cheese... and it was a very good decision.

The cheese were all from Switzerland and all of an excellent quality. Goat cheese, brie style cheese, red smear cheese, hard cheese and Stilton. As the beer counterpart: Brüll!Bier Druida (Imperial Stout), Oud Bruin (Sour Brown Ale), Van Loon (Amber Ale), Stägi Bräu Lambic, BFM Twin Porter, Stägi Bräu 1815 (Specialty Grain), Crooked State Vieille (Artisanal Saison).

We tried different combos of cheese and beer to find good matches and one of the results was that the BFM Twin Porter was a perfect allrounder for all of the cheese... best match for me was the Druida together with the Stilton... to strong partners combined to an even stronger match! Great experience which I will definitely repeat at home.

The tasting itself was scheduled for 30 minutes but we ended up with close to 50 minutes and it could have taken easily more time...

The cheese range - from goat cheese over alp cheese to Stilton, all from Switzerland

Beer and cheese on the table

In the middle of the tasting

Back in the yard we saw the big crowd, a lot of people have arrived during we enjoyed the cheese and beer pairings. It was really packed but we're lucky enough to find some place for us at one of the tables where we remained the rest of the time. The people at the table changed from time to time and after a while we ended up with a bunch of guys from several countries and the language changed from German to English... Brasil, Sweden, Latvia, Hungary, Italy and Germany... all living in Switzerland and meeting here in the small town of Rapperswil for some really great beers with sometimes fancy names: Trappatoni, Hop Sincope, 3 Of A Kind Wai-Iti, Citra Saison, XXA, Mystry Solved, Darach Mor, Procrastinator 2, Two Penny Williams and more...

After that great experience the date of the next festival is already marked in my calender... I'll be back on September 6, 2015!

In hops we trust... have a good time...


Nosing and drinking

Smoking...

There were a lot of women enjoying some good craft beers

Full house

Stouts and cigars

The international table: Brasil, Sweden, Latvia, Hungary, Italy, Germany