Monday, June 29, 2015

Upmann Magnum 50 EL 2005


Dark colorado colored matter with a decent oily shine... an awesome smell of wood, leather and tobacco...

I guess it'll be a very intensive smoke flavorwise... and that's what's proved after firing it up... very intensive aroma of wood (cedar and oak), dark roasted espresso and some hints of leather. Wow... what a start.

During the 2nd third the cigar gets smoother... there's creamy espresso now... notes of cacao, still some cedar wood but not as intensive as in the beginning... a very pleasant mix of herbs and spices... it's hard to define it more precisely...

With the beginning of the last third white pepper emerges outta that spicy mix and charcterizes the last third together with intensive notes of leather and tobacco. Some oak and cedar aromas are coming up again, added by a pronounced earthiness which's totally in the foreground now until the very end...

Perfect draw over the smoking time of 105 minutes... rich in variety of aromas.... what else to ask for?

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Monday, June 22, 2015

06/05 - 06/07 - Waldhaus Reloaded, Day 3


Waking up on Sunday morning, again with a blue sky and the same stunning view as the day before. It's simply amazing! The last time when we'd been here the view was completely different: cloudy and everything was white! Snowfall in the beginning of June, crazy.

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Getting up's much easier with a weather like this and so all of us could be found early at breakfast. Of course it's the day you travel home again and some of us should've a really long trip but as always there was some time for a cigar, at least for a small one.

Again we met on the terrace while the sun was warming up the air which cooled down a little bit more due to the rain in the evening and also during the night. But it promised to be another fantastic day.

A few of us left already at 9 am while the last departed around 11 am. No problem for me as we just had a 2.5 hour ride, I was already relaxing at home on the balcony when all the others still had some more km's ahead.








It was a killer weekend with awesome cigars, absolutely amazing weather (I know what I am talking about because we also had worse times), an outstanding location and a fantastic group... what else to ask for! Guys, you really rocked the Waldhaus!

When it all was over
We had to find another place
But Herf time was running out
So we drove home with a good pace.

Smoke in the Waldhaus
A fire in the lounge
Smoke in the Waldhaus

Thursday, June 18, 2015

06/05 - 06/07 - Waldhaus Reloaded, Day 2


I simply love this location, waking up and having a view like this, is just priceless! An extended breakfast earlier than expected and then I went outside for the first smoke of the day. While the sun was heating up the air quickly I fired up the Por Larranaga Lonsdale, Regional Edition for Germany from 2006... and it was the right cigar to start that fantastic day! Unfortunately it's not as good as the original PL Lonsdale was but it's a very good smoke anyhow... maybe it needs a few more years of aging but that's complaining on a high level.

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Gorgeous view on the lake

Por Larranaga Lonsdale ER Germany 2006

As I was really early this morning it took a while until the rest of the group finished breakfast and took a seat outside in the sun. This time well equipped with tons of sunscreen to avoid a repitition of what happened a few years ago on the Saentis... If you don't remember all the red heads, feel free to have a look here to see an example.

Even though the Devil's Place, which's the worlds biggest whisky bar, has a lot of open bottles of whisky, I decided to bring another bottle with me for sharing. The Russenschnaps from slowdrink.de knocked it out of the park, what else can beat a Lagavulin coming outta a sherry cask...

Everybody's awake and smoking

Everybody's awake and smoking


Russenschnaps and Juan Lopez Selection No. 2

Later the group split in two parts: a few preferred to stay still in the area of the Waldhaus, go for a walk around the lake etc. while the others - including myself - took the chance for an excursion to Diavolezza to go uphill with the cable train. The destination is on an altitude of close to 3000 m / 9850 ft with some higher mountains surrounding it... we had no rain there (well, we left for the way back just in time) and the clouds were coming up when we arrived there but it was a very pleasant refreshment with the temperatures being around 12 °C / 54 F. The heavy thunderstorm which has been mentioned in the forecast showed us some impressing lightning across the sky, unfortunately the sky was too bright to take good pictures of it...

Diavaolezza

A walk in the snow

On the way to the mountain

Summit cigar

What a wonderful view

Back at the Waldhaus we met with the rest in the cigar lounge / whisky bar for some more cigars and drinks. As I said before I tried some of those whiskys I never tried before, so the next one in the glass was a Blair Athol from 1981. Cask Strength. And a really impressive whisky! I should keep my eyes open for those! I combined it with the Punch Super Selection No. 1 which was one of my first cigars ever I would called plugged. I have a very high tolerance for a tight draw but this one was very close to the limit to pitch it. But the flavors were really good therefore I tried to smoke it as long as possible... finally I nubbed it down after the draw improved a little bit.

Next cigar in line, the Sancho Panza Molinos. Within the last months I smoked a lot cigars of that brand and I was never disappointed, it's the same with this one. Honestly this one was among the best cigars I smoked over the whole weekend. It went well with the next whiskys, a 10yo Glen Grant and a 17yo Laphroaig bottled by Signatory. Time flew by and we changed the location to have our dinner.

Blair Athol 1981 and Punch Super Selection No. 1


Sancho Panza Molinos

Old school Glen Grant

Laphroaig 1996 from Signatory



The same dinner as last year? Well, the same dinner as every year. Cheese fondue. Ok, it was just the second time but this will be a tradition for further events there... the Saturday night cheese fondue dinner at least for Bernd and me... but 3 others joined us... it seems that we start to create a hype!

Due to the wedding which took place in the main restaurant dinner took a bit more time than usual but it wasn't to bad to have a forced break from smoking to recover the palate a little bit.


Cheese fondue

After the long dinner the lounge was bit crowded as some other guests watched the Champions League final but this didn't disturb us while smoking... but before they opened the windows completely they'd some issues to see the screen and follow the match because of the smoke...

I tried some more whiskys which have been a white spot on my whisky card until now, like a Glenury Royal (I remembered that I've a bottling of that distillery from the Whiskyfair) or a Glentauchers 1975 from Signatory. Finally I couldn't resist to end the evening with some peaty stuff which was a Laphroaig bottled for La Maison de Whisky... outstanding good!

Good conversations, cigars and whisky made the evening very diverting and so I went to bed again late...

Back to the lounge

Glenury Royal 1973


Glentauchers 1975 from Signatory

Sunday, June 14, 2015

06/05 - 06/07 - Waldhaus Reloaded, Day 1


We all came out to the Waldhaus
On the Lake St. Moritz shoreline
To have smokes with some friends
We didn't have much time.


Deep Purple nailed it perfectly, even though I had to adapt the text a little bit. We met at the Waldhaus, smoked the hell out of it and had just about 2 days... and I'm sure that some of the small clouds over the lake came from us...

Before we, which means Michel and myself, started the trip to the herf location, we enjoyed some fingerlicking tasty spareribs at my home... smoking-wise I started with a '98 Ramon Allones 898 and continued with a '98 Bolivar Petit Corona...

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The ribs are in the smoke

Ramon Allones 898 from 1998 and a coffee for breakfast

The ribs were amazing

The ride was really smooth, not much traffic and the few trucks on the way to the Julierpass were easy to overtake, so we arrived at the Waldhaus am See around 2.30 pm as planned before. A quick check-in and then we moved outstide on the terrace to enjoy the sunshine with pleasant temperatures around 24 °C / 75 F, not too bad if you consider that this place is on an altitude of approx. 1800 m / 5900 ft. The Taboada 109 Custom Rolled was the perfect choice to enjoy the scenery while we're waiting for the others to arrive. This time it's the second time that we spent a weekend at this location.

Taboada 109 after the arrival at the Waldhaus


Picture perfect weather

Waldhaus am See

Smoking on the terrace

Around 5 pm everybody was here and we still enjoyed the sun on the terrace while smoking some cigars before we went inside for dinner. The food was tasty as always and the whisky afterwards was well deserved...

Regarding the whisky I put my focus on some distilleries that I had never before (or at least not very often), due to this the choice was a bit unusual for me... Clynelish (really good stuff), Glendronach (but not with that intensive sherry influence), Banff and some more...

Clynelish 18yo from Signatory

For the cigars we'd also an interesting concept for this herf: everybody brought a cigar for the other participants which means we all ended up with 12 cigars. The rules itself were very simple: the cigar must be a Cuban and has to be at least 5 years old. That's all.

The result was also interesting: most of the cigars were more or less the same size or at least in the same range. The only exceptions were the SLR Double Corona and the RyJ Piramides Anejados, all other were smaller RGs between 40 and 50. Nobody knew before what the other will bring, interesting to that we all seem to have a comparable preference.

The cigars were the following (in alphabetical order):
  • Bolivar Lonsdale (1999), Lonsdale
  • Hoyo de Monterrey Hoyo des Dieux (1994), Grand Corona
  • Juan Lopez Selection No. 2 (2001), Robusto
  • Montecristo No. 1 (2005), Lonsdale
  • Por Larranaga Lonsdale (2006), Lonsdale
  • Punch Super Selection Nr. 1 (2006), Grand Corona
  • Ramon Allones 898 (2002), Lonsdale
  • Romeo y Julieta Anejado (2008), Piramide
  • Romeo y Julieta Cazadores (1997), Lonsdale
  • Saint Luis Rey Double Corona (2002), Double Corona
  • Sancho Panza Molinos (2001), Lonsdale
  • Upmann Noellas from the glass jar (2009), Cosacos

6 of 12 of the cigars were Lonsdales, it seems that we all have a comparable opinion of a good sized cigar but sometimes it's a bit difficult to find the small one which fits the gap before dinner, going to bed etc.

My personal highlights of the cigars were the Hoyo des Dieux, the Ramon Allones 898 and the Sancho Panza Molinos. The others were also good cigars, but those had the certain extra... only one didn't convince and prove the impression I already had: Romeo y Julieta Anejado. I'm sure I will never like that cigar. No flavor, just a boring smoke. That's really a pity as I usually like the Romeos and this is an interesting size.

For the whiskys on the first evening I also had some nice surprises, the 22yo Glendronach from Old Malt Cask series was the most impressing...

A few of the shared boxes

The smoking panel for the weekend

Montecristo No. 1 and some Clynelish

Upmann Noellas and some Glendronach

A very tasty Sherry Cask Kilchoman

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

05/24 - 05/31 - Bella Italia


There's a time for work and there's also a time for vacation... Back in May we took a one week break from work to spend some days in Italy, in a hotel my wife knows from her childhood days. The Hotel Bella Zurigo is now run by the son of the former owner and he's also around 60 now. A vacation full of memories, of course it's a great experience to come back to a place that you haven't seen for more than 30 years!

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Hotel Bella Zurigo


Excellent espresso and a La Escepcion ER Italy - a perfect match

Luckily we arrived there just on the day when the new season started which means that the hotel and also the beach was not as crowded as it would be one week later. Even though it's no longer the preferred holiday region for the people like back in the 70s and 80s there are still enough coming there. But even though it's just the beginning of the season the weather was really fine. Some rain in the morning of the first two days which made it easier to make some excursion to Gradara and San Marino but the rest of the time we'd a lot of sunshine and high temperatures.

At the beach

At the beach

The harbor of Cesenatico, designed by Leonardo da Vinci

Beside the excellent icecream that we enjoyed regularily we also went to the markets where you could find - beside the usual household and clothing stuff - a lot of fantastic food like salami and parmesan!
Icecream

Salami

Salami

Parmesan

Spazio Pantani

Gradara

Gradara

No photos!

San Marino

San Marino

San Marino