Thursday, January 29, 2015

01/25 - The answer is 42


Another year passed by and luckily my birthday was again at the weekend,  perfect for a stay in Lugano, a place in Ticino where we've not been yet. We started early in the morning and arrived around 10.30 am at the destination of the day, the La Casa del Habano Lugano where Massimiliano gave us a warm welcome.

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He showed us the shop and gave us a tour through the small but well equipped humidor, filled with actual stuff, specialties and also pre-embargo cigars!

Finally I decided for some Punch Clasicos - a fantastic RE from 2011 for Switzerland - and beside the already reserved Upmann Robustos 520 Aniversario I also took a box Bolivar Britanicas ER Great Britian 2011 with me. I could have taken more from the cabinet which is marked as private property but unfortunately not all boxes are for sale... and the budget's limited too...



After choosing the cigars I wanted to buy we went upstairs to take a seat in the lounge. Accompanied by a good espresso and some water I smoked a 1995 Cohiba Siglo II... what an amazing smoke on a relaxed Saturday morning... It's very quiet during our visit therefore Massimiliano had some time for us and we'd a really good and interesting conversation. If everything works out he will join us at our Herf in St. Moritz because the owner of the Casa also has a shop there.

The weather was picture perfect, so we took the chance to stroll through Lugano, watching around and enjoying the sun and the scenery before we drove to the hotel, the Parco Paradiso.







We'd some good luck because instead of the standard double bed room we got an upgrade on a suite with lake view... and what a view we had... breathtaking awesome! A wonderful panorama with snow covered mountains in the back and the city and Lake of Lugano in the foreground... and a fantastic view also in the night when the city was shining and blinking with all the lights...

Some swimming in the pool, some sauna and relaxing before we enjoyed a delicious four course dinner in one of the restaurants of the hotel. Normally smoking is not so easy in that area of Switzerland but the hotel has its own cigar lounge, called Havanna Deck with big windows where you can also enjoy the view on Lugano. Definitely a nice smoking spot which is worth the extra that you have to spend on the cocktails.. ;-)

I decided to smoke the 1995 Hoyo de Dieux from the 50 ct cabinet and it's really good that we'd a serious dinner before because this cigar is definitely not that kind of Hoyo which you can smoke in the morning. Surprisingly strong for the brand, but that's what this specific series is known for... and it didn't disappoint... what a terrific smoke! Originally I planned to have another cigar after that but I'd to postpone it...







On Sunday we'd an extended breakfast with a nice prepared birthday table, some champagne and also a chocolate cake before me drove back home where I got another surprise: a friend of us made a blackforest cake for me which's is my favorite birthday cake since... oh well, it's decades now!

The setup for later was plain and simple: Glenglassaugh and Ardbeg Single Cask, both distilled in 1973 and a Romeo y Julieta Cedros de Luxe No. 1 from the 70s... what else to ask for when it comes to whisky and cigars...




Friday, January 23, 2015

Bolivar Super Coronas EL 2014


Habanos SA is still able to launch cigars with a ringe gauge which doesn't cause a trismus. This Bolivar has a ring of 48, a length of 140 mm, it's an Hermosos No. 3. The first of that size in the actual portfolio  if I remember it correctly.

The wrapper is typical for an EL: dark, a little bit rustic-style and a decent oily shine. A good smell of honey and the Bolivaresque earthiness... seems like a promising smoke. The construction feels very good, evenly rolled so I still have again no issues to fire up before cutting it.

The first third starts already with a big bang: intensive notes of roasted coffee. There's a hint of earthy aromas but at the moment they're in the background and not coming up to intensively. After a few puffs there's a significant peak with a big load of ammonia. It's no surprise because this cigar is still young and fresh but it come up out of a sudden and was a bit unexpected after the first puffs. It came up quickly and it vanished quickly and made room for a touch of white pepper... a bit biting in the nose but not really unpleasant.

During the second third the intensity is still rising. Ammonia is completely gone, no more coffee. The earthy notes are still present, paired by some dark chocolate, leather and cedar wood. The aromas are all on the strong side but nevertheless the smoke of this cigar is very creamy, you want to chew it.

The leather and earth aromas carry over to the last third where a peppery note hits the palate, there's also a touch of polished wood. It was white pepper in the beginning, now it's more like a fresh-ground black pepper. A decent bitterness joins now but it doesn't feel unpleasant and it's no big surprise in regards to the fact that this is a young cigar.

Burn and draw were very good over the smoking time of approximately 80 minutes. The light grey ash was very firm during the whole smoke.

Finally I'm really happy with that stick. It's one of my preferred brands. It's a cigar with the typical flavor profile of the brand. It's a fantastic size. It's a great cigar with a very good aging potential. I wasn't sure about it before but now I'm sure that I need some of those for storage.

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Saturday, January 17, 2015

A visit to... Oban


There's not much to say about Oban: the city is really nice but the distillery tour was the worst that I had during the trip. The tour made an unprofessional impression, the tasting after the tour was more than simple: just an ordinary 14 yo. standard Oban. Oh stop! I forgot the cask sample that we got... 2 drops per person! Yes, 2 drops. The guy measured it with a pipet. When he asked me for the taste I told him that it was impossible to taste anything when you just wet the tip of your tongue but there was no chance to get any more of it. I'm sorry to say but it was my first, last and only visit to this distillery. Due to the stupid Diageo "no-pictures-policy" the number of pix in that report is also limited...

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Saturday, January 10, 2015

01/03 - Smoke-off 2015


It's always nice to meet new people who share the same passion for cigars, that's one of the great things in the cigar world... Last week I met with Michel and Sebastian at the Casa Nero for a smoke... or two... maybe three... and it's a very nice afternoon...

We started with an Upmann Epicure, really fresh from the middle of 2014. They aren't available at the big vendors in Switzerland, so it's a bit harder to get them. Those cigars were machine made until approx. 2003, now they're totalmente a mano. The smell of the box itself is really amazing and so I was curious to smoke the first of those... and I was surprised in a positive way... a very good cigar for the buck!

We continued with a Custom Rolled, Corona Gorda sized, with a pigtail. The blend was very close to the ERdM blend, not too strong but with intensive flavors and some kind of bloomy aroma... a very good smoke too.

Based on the fact that we talked a lot about vintage cigars we decided to skip the Upmann Monarch Tubo, which's approx. from 2001 and smoked something older. The cigar of choice was a Partagas Palmas Grandes from the 80s and while the last one I smoked was a bit over the top tastewise, this one really hit the spot for all three of us. An old style Partagas like it should be... and the size of a cigar like it should be too because my "comrades-in-smoke" don't like those new stove-pipes with the 50+ RGs either...

A fantastic afternoon which'll be repeated for sure...

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Custom Rolled (left), Upmann Epicure (right)

Upmann Monarch Tubo from 1998






Partagas Palmas Grandes from the 80s

Sunday, January 04, 2015

01/02 - Cycling in the dirt


Luckily not too far away from my home, therefore I took the chance to watch some cyclo-cross, the first race in 2015 in Bussnang. Temperatures around the freezing point but some really decided to ride with shorts... The weather was ok during the first half of the race but unfortunately the forecasted rain came in earlier than expected and it started to rain heavily... that's the reason why I didn't wait for the Elite race, bad luck... I hope you enjoy my impressions anyhow...

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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year 2015


I wish all my readers, their families and friends a Happy New Year 2015! May it be healthy and prosperous!

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Saturday, December 27, 2014

2014 in pictures


It's time to sum up another year with some nice pictures... many good memories are connected to those. As always it's really hard to reduce all the pix of one month down to one... a click on the picture'll bring you to the corresponding report... this year was definitely influenced by my 2 month stay in New Zealand where I had the chance for a lot of interesting experiences.

  • January
Picture of the month: January
Smoke Privada No. 1

  • February
 Picture of the month: February
Chinese New Year's Festival in Christchurch

  • March
Picture of the month: March
DramFest 2014 in Christchurch

  • April
Picture of the month: April
The Great Kiwi Beer Festival, Christchurch

  • May
Picture of the month: May
Fresh Custom Rolled Cigars

  • June
Hillrace Hemberg

  • July
Smoke'n'Food... and some booze...

  • August
The same procedure as every year

  • September
Zino Davidoff Legacy Award Dinner

  • October
Swiss Herf, Weekend

  • November
Smokin' Pig BBQ Fest

  • December
Which cigar? Which drink?