Thursday, April 23, 2015

04/19 - Gigerwald


A nice spring day, a good chance for another hiking tour... no words needed, the pix speak for themselves.














Friday, April 17, 2015

Farewell big boy


This posting is about a sad day in our life. One of our cats, Don, had to be put down a bit more than a week ago after suffering from a kidney injury. Before I started my short trip to Belgium I spent a lot of time with him after the diagnosis, motivating him to eat and drink, taking care of him and I was sure that he'll be strong enough to fight it, supported by the medicine he got. But after I left, his total constitution dropped rapidly and Tanja had to make a very hard decision, he gave up, didn't eat and drink, the shine in his eyes was gone.

Don, you've been a very important part of our life for the last 16 years, moved with us to Switzerland and I'm sure you'd a good life. You left this world now and you left a big gap, we miss you a lot, the atmosphere at home is not as it was before.

You will be always in our minds and hearts, you are gone but not forgotten! I miss you so much, big boy!

03/01/1999 - 04/08/2015

Here are some pictures of good times, that's how I will keep you in my memory.










A candle for my big boy in the Chapel of Westvleteren, I still thought you'll win the fight!


Saturday, April 11, 2015

Romeo y Julieta Celestiales Finos 1999


The wrapper of this discontinued cigar is colorado-colored, a bit coarse and matt, the cigar itself is very hard rolled. Not really a beauty.... You can still see the pressing that the cigars got in the box....

The first odors that came to my nose reminded me of walnuts and polished wood... there is still some more but I don't find a relation to put it down to words....

The first third starts with a tight draw which changed to a better after 1/2 inch. First flavors touching my palate are almond, brittle and also some hints of wood and leather.... The leathery component started very decent and got more and more intensive over the whole smoke with every puff.

The second third is characterized by some nutty flavors... they are more like walnut and hazelnut... leather coming up more and more.. also some fresh roasted coffee... interesting combination and interaction between the flavors...

The last third is definitely getting stronger: animal-like... leather, wood and pure tobacco. Intensive flavors and a very creamy smoke make it hard to put this cigar to the ashtray.

On the whole you can say that the cigar had an interesting progress over the time of the smoke (which was app. 80 minutes): starting slow with a tight draw, getting better and developing a thick and creamy smoke to end up in a terrific finale.

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Sunday, April 05, 2015

03/27 - A whisky time travel


Call it coincidence or very good planning but the XII. Whiskytasting in the Griffins Business Lounge took place on International Whisky Day 2015... and we'd a very interesting line-up under the topic "Young & Old". In most cases those where young whiskys (beside the Ardbeg) but have been bottled more than 20 years ago, therefore they're already old:
  • Aberlour 12 yo. from the 70s
  • Glendronach 8 yo., 45.4 %, Ruffino Import from the 70s
  • Springbank 12 yo., red-brown ceramic jug from the 80s
  • Ardbeg 1974 - 1996, 22 yo., 40 %, G&M for Italy

This was the originally planned range but during our whisky dinner the week before Reto threw in the latest bottling of the Whiskyclub Regensburg aka slowdrink.de:
  • Russenschnaps, Vatting of 11 to 21 yo. sherry cask matured Islay Whisky (Lagavulin)

With all those whiskys being distilled in the 60 and/or 70s this tasting brings us back a few decades to the good ol' times. Let's see if they've really been better... at least for the whisky.

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Cigar-wise my recommendation for this tasting's an El Rey del Mundo or La Gloria Cubana. Urs took the choice and decided for the LGC MdO Nr. 2, an amazing cigar which perfectly matched with the whiskys.

The Aberlour was a good starter, everybody was surprised about the intensive flavor and the body of this whisky, delivered at "only" 43 % of alcohol... something that you'll find not very often nowaday with a 12yo. The style of the bottle is typical for the time when it's been filled in the 80s.

This first dram we also raised in the honor of Bill Miller from the SSMC, who's passed away about two weeks ago and our friend Hans who died totally unexpected last week. Wherever you are, this dram was for you, guys! Slàinte mhath!



The next in the row... an 8 yo. Glendronach... an outstanding fruit bomb! Surprisingly not too sweet, many expected it to be sweet after nosing it, but the mouthfeel was just fantastic and perfectly balanced. 8 yo.? Hard to believe that there was no overpowering alcohol or that typical young taste. A good balanced whisky... here you defnitely can say: the good ol' times...



Springbank, A name that stands for is own. Good quality whiskys in my personal opinion but in the range it was - at least for me - the weakest. Don't get me wrong, it's a really good whisky with a lot of pleasant sherry notes, dried and tropical fruits, bitter almonds and a decent touch of smoke... but the other were simply "better" in that specific range.



At the end, my personal highlight of the evening... a 22 yo. Ardbeg, distilled in 1974, bottled in 1996. A bottling for the Italian market by G&M with the special remark being "mellow matured", whatever this has to mean....

It's not overpowering peaty, it's like other Ardbegs I've tried from the 70s and it's a good touch of smoke paired with the maritime character and the typical citrus notes. Filigrane and elegant, simply amazing for me. Not all shared this opinion but it's good that personal preferences are different.

The cigar was excellent and while we'd this Ardbeg I reached the last third of the cigar. The combo was perfect and I really enjoyed it.



Officially my range was done but we still had the Russenschnaps, the sherried Lagavulin. Pour it in the glass and get the fist in the face! What a nose! Peat and sherry, as I said several times before: a match made in heaven!

Here are some of the notes which have been mentioned: peat, dried fruits, oak, tobacco, salt, charcoal, iodine, bacon, sweetness of sherry...

Imho a whisky with a very good value for the buck, well done slowdrink.de, you made again an amazing club bottling!

The conclusion of the evening for all of was unisono: for those specific whiskys it's absolutely correct to talk about the good ol' times. It should be very hard nowadays to find young whiskys which are well balanced like the Glendronach or even the Aberlour and Springbank. The Ardbeg is a class on it's own, for me the bottling from the last 10 years are many miles away from that quality we'd in our glasses on this evening...




Monday, March 30, 2015

Partagas 898v 1998


The wrapper is colorado colored. Matt surface and due to the 898 package no pressing. It seemed to be a bit hard rolled but the first impression has nothing to say about the draw how I saw it e.g. at my Montecristo "C" which are all hard as a rock but have a fantastic draw. The smell of the cigar itself is a tremendous intensity of pure tobacco and leather... Wow!

So I lighted it up, cutted it and take the first puffs.... Draw is tight, too tight to be perfect but still ok (it went better after the first half inch).

The first impressions: leather, very intensive, black pepper, also some earthiness... and surprisingly a subtle sweetness like honey... I only knew this before from the Por Larranaga, here it was nearly the same sweet taste... It was embedded perfect in this strong flavor and came up every now and then during the first third.

In the second third it even get's intense.... leather is still there, woody tastes came up and the earthiness rose up more.

The last third was, also as the time before, really a perfect balance of the different tastes... the earthiness vanished (but came back during the last puffs) and in front of a background of wood, leather and tobacco the palate became more and more herbal... also black pepper came back... it was some kind of "grand finale".

I had an interesting experience: this cigar was full of flavors like I know it from much older cigars.... let me call it "vintage flavor"... who has smoked an older cigar (like 20+ yo) knows what I am speaking of. It reminded me tastewise a bit of the Palmas Grandes from the 80s that I have, but still stronger....

Conclusion: Very good cigar...

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

03/20 - Whisky and...ribeye steak


Two years ago the regulars' table of the SSMC started in cooperation of Moses and the Restaurant Gemsle... generally a good idea but in the meantime Reto and myself decided for several reasons to continue it on a private basis. Our first evening of that kind was our Bruichladdich evening back in December, which was really a blast with a lot of high quality whiskys...

The next evening was really overdue but because of different absences we haven't been able to fix it on an earlier date. As we all love a good piece of meat, the choice for the main course was easy. After some chicken the last time, I decided for a some nice ribeye steak, some sugar snaps and rosemary potatoes were the perfect sides. Cucumber filled with crabmeat, some shrimps and cheese as a light starter... a homemade Crème Brûlée as dessert.

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Bowmore infused Brats as an appetizer

Cucumber cups filled with crabmeat and cheese

Ribeye steak

Cremé brûlée

And now the question about the whiskys. As we agreed we should enjoy some higher quality whiskys, therefore I'd a close look in the cabinet with the open bottles.

I thought about some different whiskys than the usual peaty stuff I always pull out and ended up with the following, call it coincidence or not but they're all Duncan Taylor bottlings:
  • Macduff 1969

  • Caperdonich 1972

  • Glent Grant 1970 (Reto brought a 1971 Cross Hill)


But finally I couldn't resist the call of Isaly and also took out the Laphroaig 21 yo. from Silver Seal, a stunning whisky which would be the perfect company for the desert and a 22 yo. Ardbeg from G&M, distilled in 1974.



Reto also brought some stuff with him...
  • Glen Grant 1971 Cross Hill Selection

  • Russenschnaps, the 8th club bottling of the Whiskyclub Regensburg which is a sherry matured Lagavulin


  • Some different Scottish beers, of which we had the Nessie's Monster Mash during dinner

Finally I've to say it was a good decision to continue this kind of "event" on a private level. The food was good and the whiskys outstanding... can't wait for the next time!



Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Buckboard Bacon


Curing meat is an old and traditional method to preserve meat for storage. Not really necessary nowadays anymore but it's still done for the taste... cured and hot-smoked ham which turned into a buckboard bacon is really a delicious thing.

For the first test I took a piece of pork neck of approx. 1.8 kg, I didn't want to make it too big for the first time, just in case that I wouldn't like it.

For the curing rub I made a mixture of pickling salt, black pepper, brown sugar and some herbs, applied it to the meat which went to the 0°C shelf in the fride for about 2 weeks. After the curing process it was watered for approx. 2 hours to wash out a good part of the salt and left open in the fridge over night.

For the smoking I used some beech wood, glazed it with some maple syrup and added some marjoram... just keep it simple. The temperature was approx. 100 °C for the smoking time and I took out the meat at a core temperature of 63 °C, cooled it down and sliced it up...

My doubts regarding the taste were totally needless, the whole BBB was gone in a short time... and I repeated it with two pieces of meat 2.5 weeks later... instead of maple syrup and marjoram I used two different rubs... Onion Bomb and Red Dust. Different than the first one but also very tasty!

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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Liechtensteiner Brauhaus Club Beers


Craftbeers are getting more and more popular in Switzerland, I was really impressed by the variety we have here when attending the Craftbeer Festival in Rapperswil last year in September. One beer that I tried there was from Liechtenstein, in the meantime I tried some more of their so called "Club Bier".


Club Bier 01 - Coffee Stout

Very dark colored, almost black with a nice head. The smell is dominated by dried fruits and coffee based on a moderate sweet background. Very smooth and cerealy in the mouth, dark roasted coffee with some fruitiness and aromas of toast. A good balance of bitter and sweet notes. Long lasting in the mouth with a fruity and pleasantly bitter aftertaste.

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Club Bier 02 - Alpen Pale Ale

Amber colored with a quickly vanishing head. The smell is full of hops, also some bread dough and caramel. The aroma of the hops continue in the taste, very floral, hints of honey and exotic fruits. The finish is more on the dry side (but not unpleasant) with some floral and hoppy aromas.



Club Bier 03 - Bock Stark

Reddish-copper colored with a small and stable white head. Caramel, citrus and nutty flavors in the nose. A very pleasant bitter-sweet flavor with hoppy aromas. The finish is characterized by fruit and caramel.



Club Bier 05 - Wiesnrausch (bottled one day before drinking)

Copper colored with a golden shine, the head is very stable and long-lasting. Citrus, wheat and yeast hit the nose. The wheat is one of the base flavors in the mouth, added by some fruity aromas, maybe banana... very creamy in the mouth. Slightly sweet aftertaste, very creamy...