Saturday, January 29, 2011

Partagas 898uv 1999


The wrapper is dark, not really maduro, but dark. 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.

So I lighted it up, cutted it and take the first puffs.... Draw is strong, too strong to be perfect but still ok (it went better by smoking it a while).

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 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".

The ash was very stable and didn't fall off to early.

The smoke was accompanied by a white wine (a Müller-Thurgau of this region in Switzerland where I live) and it fitted very well. The dry but also fresh flavor of the wine was complementary with the taste of that cigar.

Smoking time was around 100 minutes.... it burnt down really slow....

Conclusion: Very good cigar, I'm happy to have this box in my humidor.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

01/25 - Another year passed by...


Another year passed by... 38 years for me on the whole...

I started the day close to midnight with an amazing cigar which I saved to be smoked at this time... a Don Candido 501. I made a separate posting for the review... but believe me guys: it was a really great smoke.

Of course I'd to work, but I quit earlier at this day to have some Champagne with my wife, tidying up the appartment a little bit and have a relaxed smoke... a Partagas Serie D No. 4 from 1989... combined with some Glen Scotia from 1973... another good combination in my books.

In the evening our neighbours came upstairs, due to this we decided that we'll go to the steakhouse (www.patagonia.at) on Wednesday... no big thing, cuz we found out that they're closed on Tuesdays. Luckily I got a table there... they didn't seem to remember that we'd been there with a bunch of guys 1.5 years ago, all cigar smokers... and even though they knew that fact before they'd been totally pissed when we smoked the whole evening in the smokin area...




So... what else to say... we spent a relaxed evening, havin fun.... champagne, pizza, black forest cake, red and white wine, a '78 Montecristo No. 4....

It was a blast and I really enjoyed it... thx a lot for this nice evening....

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Don Candido 501


A special day asks for a special cigar... here ya go....

The cigar has a matt and dark colorado colored wrapper... extremly boxpressed even though it has been stored for months in a tube...

The smell is very decent... tobacco, leather, some spices... a good mix which promises an interesting smoke.

I fired it up very carefully, took my time and then: WOW!! This is vintage flavor on steroids!!!

I'll take again the metaphor with the old library... the old paper... the wood.... this taste is impressing. Mixed with white pepper and woody aromas. After the first inch some sweetness is comin up... hints of citrus... what a flavor bomb...

During the second third it's gettin more on the woody and leathery side, but the sweet aroma is still very present...

I reached the last third... this cigar is really awesome... gettin stronger and stronger. Very intensive tobacco flavor, no more sweetness. Polished wood, some hints of charcoal... it'll be hard to put it down to the ashtray sooner or later....

After exactly two hours I finished it... by far the best smoke in 2011....

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Sunday, January 23, 2011

New Portmann shop in St. Gallen


02/04/2011 will be the big day for Thomas, the older one of Urs' Portmanns sons... on this day the new shop that he'll run opens his doors in St. Gallen.

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Thomas Portmann

With the shops in Kreuzlingen (run by Urs) and Vaduz (run by Marc) this'll be the third one.

After putting a lot of energy in refurbishing a shop to took from the former owner I'll have now another good shop which is not far away from the place where I live... I'm sure that Thomas'll see me from time to time.

The address where you can find the shop is:
Portmann Tabakwaren GmbH
Spisergasse 15
9000 St. Gallen
SWITZERLAND
Thomas, I wish you all the best, good luck and a successful start.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

01/16 - Sunday, smoky Sunday


A few hours later... getting up, having a shower and leaving the hotel....

BTW: a nice hotel where you can get the German RE's from 2010 at the reception...

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Translation: Cigars are available at the reception

Time to light up another cigar... we're not here for fun but for smokin... *lol*

A RyJ PC in the morning

A while later we drove with Manfred, who was in the same hotel to the place where'd have the brunch... Les Halles...

Les Halles


Ghost hand

Having fun with glasses...

There we spent the time until Tom and myself had to take the cab to the airport to get our plane.

It really was a blast of a weekend.... I enjoyed my time there and I'm lookin forward to the next Herf to all those guys again....

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

01/15 - Friends, Altbier and cigars


After a short night we got up at 4 am and took the car to Zurich airport. The plane left in time and so we arrived at Dusseldorf at 8.10 am. Rushing through customs, waiting for Manfred who came from Hamburg and then takin a cab to the hotel. We dropped our luggage and then met with Alex to grab something for breakfast before the big activities started...

The waiting time at the airport in Dusseldorf was shortened with some photo shooting... no further comment needed...

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We'd been forced by gun violence to take a seat and smile

We'd been forced by gun violence to take a seat and smile

The first cigar of the day was an Upmann Noellas from the glass jar, definetly a stick which'll become really great... I'm sure about this.

Firin up

Around 10.30 we changed the location to Brewery Schumacher where we met with a bunch of other guys.The Altbier - which is a top-fermented dark beer - started to flow....

Waitin until the smokin room is ready....

 Trinidad Fundadores @Schumacher's brewery

Tobi's havin fun


Wassup?!?

Huckle with roast potatos

More and more of the guys arrive



Ready for the walk to the lounge

At 2 pm we left the location an walked to the Cigarworld Lounge (www.cigarworldlounge.de) which is approximately 20 minutes away.... and where which should stay for the next couple of hours....

Andreas shows... ok, forget it.

 What to smoke, what to smoke???

 The herfin crew....

Dinner is served

 Zacapa.... always a winner

Thx for the organization, Jens and Alex

Left to right: Camillo, Heiko, Vitaliy

Michael and Bernd lookin forward to their Rum

Christoph (left) and Max


Unfortunately we'd to leave around 2.30 am, cuz they'd to shut the lounge, due to this we arrived around 3 at our hotel, which gave us a few hours of sleep... brunch at the next morning was fixed for 11 am.

To be continued.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

01/14 - A spiritual pre-Herf


... but it's less spiritual than you maybe think... it's more about spirits... spirits from Scotland called Scotch Single Malt Whisky.

Due to our trip to Dusseldorf to meet with some guys I took Tom's offer to stay over night at his home... our plane'll fly outta Zurich at 7 am on Saturday morning, so the trip to the airport in the morning'll a bit more relaxed, cuz it's only 30 minutes away from his place.

We'd planned very often that we should meet and have some good Whisky and cigars together but until today it didn't happen to be realized.

So I grabbed a few bottles that we sampled during the evening....
  • Glen Grant 1970, Duncan Taylor
  • Bunnahabhain 1973, Whisky Agency
  • Ardbeg 1975, Spirit of Scotland
  • Glenfarclas 1971, Whiskyfair
  • Octomore Orpheus 02.2
  • Octomore 3/152
I went to Tom after work and when I arrived at his house he was preparing the food for dinner... Spaetzle with some delicious sauce with meat....

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Tom mixing the Spaetzle with the sauce

After dinner we moved to the smoker´s lounge to enjoy some good cigars in combination with the Whisky I brought with me...

We smoked two fantastic cigars... both Bolivar... at first a Lonsdale from ´99, second a Simones ER Canada... they went along well with the Single Malts....

Glen Grant 1970 and Bolivar Lonsdale 1999

Ashtray from Amicigar, courtesy of Gino

Tom´s really happy about all 6 (we had some "discussions" about how much I´d to fill into the glass *lol*) but in the end we found an agreement... and the Orpheus was the winner of the evening... the combination of peat and the sweetness of the Chateau Petrus cask is really awesome....

Two happy guys....

We went to bed around midnight, knowing that we´ve to stand up 4 hours later, cuz we´d to drive to Zurich airport... We´d to catch the plane to Dusseldorf where we would meet some friend for a lil Herf...

But this Herf´ll be another story...

Sunday, January 16, 2011

My new flight jacket from Eastman Leather


On Tuesday my new flight jacket from Eastman Leather arrived. It´s a replica of the USAAF B-3 flight jackets that the pilots had in WWII, it´s based on an original from 1943 to be exact.

 USAAF pilots (source: www.eastmanleather.com)

It´s a characteristic of those jackets that they have a rugged, some kinda broken grain optics of the leather. With all the industrial help you have nowadays it´s still hard to reproduce this kinda structure, so they went back to the traditional ways of making it, due to this the leather for this jacket is hand dyed. The sheepskin which is used comes from North America.

Unfortunately the temperatures are very mild here at the moment, so I cannot wear it, cuz the it keeps you really warm... too warm right now.

In the end I wanna say "Thank you" to the guy at Eastman Leather - Rob Brace - who cared for my requirements and answered all my questions very quick. Thanks Rob... it´s not natural nowadays to get a good customer service... 

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Relaxing in the AVO Lounge Bad Ragaz


On Wednesday evening I met with Marc, Ralf and Fabian for a smoke.... we went to the AVO Lounge in Bad Ragaz which is a really nice place. I've been there for the first time and I liked the location....


We spent a very relaxed time there.... good smokes, good conversations... it's a nice evening...

La Gloria Cubana Triunfos, ER Suiza 2010 (thx to Marc)

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El Rey del Mundo Balthasar, ER Baltico 2009



left to right: Ralf, Fabian, Marc

To be repeated....

Diplomaticos No. 6, 70s


The last cigar of the year 2010.... and it was a blast.

The smell of this more than 30 yo cigar is simply overwhelming... wood, decent notes of tobacco and old paper... it's like steppin into an old library and smelling all the old shelves and antique books... wow!

After firing and cutting this cigar starts with a drumbeat: tobacco, the flavor of antique old paper, spices, nutmeg. All aromas very present and interwoven... there are also some hints of fresh soft prezel... slightly salty... I'm really impressed... and don't forget this typical vintage flavor... I love it.

The second third still gets stronger... polished wood, leather, fresh milled black pepper, some smoked bacon... it's an amazing firework of aromas... this cigar is surprisingly strong.... keep in mind the age...

The last third is still dominated by the flavors of wood, now with some white pepper, the re-appearance of the old paper flavor and fresh mushrooms.... maybe this description sounds a bit strange, but I don't find better words to describe what I tasted... it's definetly a mindblowing smoke...

The smoking time was app. 110 minutes... with an always perfect draw. The only complaint I have was about the ash which dropped off very early...

A good cigar to end this year. Bye 2010.

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Monday, January 10, 2011

Some beer for storage


As you've maybe seen in an older report I tasted some Belgian beers a while back... and some of those where really enjoyable.

Due to this I decided to pick up some bottles of those and on Saturday they arrived:
  • 6 bottles (Imperial) of Chimay Bleue Grande Réserve 2010
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  • 3 bottles (Magnum) of Chimay Bleue Grande Réserve 2010

  • 3 bottles (Imperial) of Chimay Bleue Grande Réserve 2005, 2006, 2007 (one bottle of each) 

  • 2 bottles (Imperial) of Deus Brut des Flandres, Cuvee 2009

  • 8 bottles of Orval 


Here are some more details about those beers....

Chimay (Authentic Trappist product):
Named Grande Réserve in 75 cl (25.4 fl.oz.) bottles, it is principally distinguished by its character of a strong beer. This is a beer whose fragrance of fresh yeast with a light, flowery rosy touch is especially pleasant.

This top fermented Trappist beer, refermented in the bottle, is not pasteurized.

If you think that Magnum is just a Chimay Blue in a 150 cl (51 fl.oz.) bottle, you are forgetting one essential fact, for it is important to appreciate that a large volume of beer affects the development of taste in the second fermentation of the beer in the bottle and gives it a fuller and smoother character.


Deus:
Deus is brewed with the finest summer barley and select hops, but unlike any other Belgian specialty, it undergoes a lengthy, costly maturation in the Champagne region of France. For centuries, the French have used the elegant and labor-intensive "methode Champenoise” as the way to make the best sparkling wines in the world. Deus receives this treatment, just as the finest Champagne, and the result is remarkable. Following the initial fermentation, Deus is shipped to France, where practitioners of “Méthode Champanoise” follow their strict protocol of bottle turning (“remuage”) and yeast removal (“degorgement”). The entire process takes more than a year, but its well worth the wait.

Deus is clearly not a sparkling wine, nor is it a “beer” in the traditional sense. With flavors of anise, fresh malt, herbal hops and a slightly bready yeast note, it's a combination of those two worlds. It should be served ice cold in a narrow flute or champagne goblet for best appearance and flavor.


Orval (Authentic Trappist product):
It is only two months after it has been brewed and checked several times for quality that the Orval beer leaves the brewery.

It will bring pleasure to those who drink it if they observe the following rules: Beer, a refined drink for the same reasons as wine, must be stored away from light, at a temperature between 10 and 15 °C (46 to 56 F). It should be served at this same temperature and in its special glass, and its sediment should be tasted separately.

The gustative sensations will gain in nuance depending on the age of the beer. Young beer is characterised by a bouquet of fresh hops, with a fruity note and pronounced bitterness, light on the palate and a less firm collar than a beer of six months. The latter will feature a bouquet consisting of a blend of fragrances of yeast and old-fashioned hop. The bitterness is more diffuse and the taste has moved to a slight touch of acidity accompanying yeast and caramel flavors. Served without its sediments, a beer of six months or more, has a particularly bright appearance. It will be less so, if it is served at a temperature below 7 to 8 °C (44 to 45 F).

Friday, January 07, 2011

A perfect match


It's always a fascinating thing to combine spirits, cigars and food. In this case I made the following combination:
  • Glenfarclas 1971, 35 yo. --> black as the night due to the maturation in Oloroso Sherry casks
  • Montecristo No. 2 Dunhill Selection 1979 --> the best Montecristo No. 2 I ever smoked
  • Ginger bread
This 30 yo. cigar is amazing... intensive in taste and really strong. It's a good partner for that heavy-weight Scotch (review can be found here)... and the Scotch got perfect company by the ginger bread...

I like all three of those separate but the combination of it is simply great.

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Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Macduff 1969


Nose: A lot of wood hits the nose.... some white pepper, caramell... hints of orange peel and tobacco.

Taste: Dried fruits, some tar, a lot of herbs... very fat in the mouth, more orange peel, liquorice.

Aftertaste: Very, very long... you think you can chew it... dried fruits and a slight saltiness.

This Scotch is amazing. I opened the bottle on New Years Eve (close to midnight) and enjoyed it as a first dram of 2011... good way to start the new year....

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Sunday, January 02, 2011

12/21 - 12/29 - X-Mas in Spain


First X-mas that we didn't spent at home... but this time with Tanja's Dad in Spain... after a 12 hours ride we arrived at 1.30 am at the house.... welcomed by Tanja's Dad and his crazy dog....

After some conversation and some good night drink we went to bed.... it's been a long day.... but the ride was good without any traffic jams or bad weather.

The next days were full of sunny weather and tons of good food.... we relaxed a lot and unluckily Tanja got a bad cold, so we changed the original plans and didn't go the the L'Oceanico in Valencia...

At the first evening we'd something typical Swiss... cheese fondue... my FIL asked for it and so we took some Gruyere, Vacherin and Appenzeller (all matured) with us... oh well... it was totally untypical to have this dish in Spain... but it was very good...

Cheese fondue in Spain

On X-mas Eve Tanja and I traditionally have some seafood, salmon etc. and so we'd again this year... fresh king prawns, Scottish smoked salmon, caviar etc. accompanied by some good wines. Normally you take white wine with fish, but Norbert has more or less only red wines, so we took those.


The king prawns are gone




Later we settled over to the couch, put some wood in the fireplace and fired up... the wood and the cigars.... BHK 54 for Tanja and me.... and another bottle of good wine....

 BHK 54 from 2010

 Some Rioja from 1991

Watching the fire...

Very relaxed evening without the stress that maybe many others have... yes, that's how X-mas should be.

The next day we went out for lunch with an old friend of Norbert to enjoy some more excellent food.




Ok... let's start with a first appetizer coming from the chef... with Serrano ham...



Then there came a row of more appetizers....

 Terrina de Puplo del Terreno

 Cigalas a la Plancha

Langostinos de Benicarlo Salteadus con Boletus

Escalopin de Foie con Solomillo de Vieira (first time I had Foie Gras... and I liked it!)

The main course was some goat legs and vegetable.... and you didn't need a knife for the meat... it's totally tender...

Media Paletilla de Cabrito al Horno con verduritas de temporada

Some chocolate cake, ice cream, Espresso and Turron as a dessert.... oh well... it was awesome....


As a second desert I'd a ´98 Punch RS 12 and some Leffe Blond at home while enjoying the sunshine...



As I said before, it's a time filled with a lot of good food... so it was the next day... a nice little restaurant in the mountains, a bit outside of the little village La Senia...





Food was excellent... a half hare for me, some lamb chops for Tanja....

 Half hare with a lot of garlic

Lamb chops, also with "some" garlic

On the last day I took the chance to take some pix at the local indoor market.... fantastic to see all this fresh fish, the hams..... it's mouthwatering....






It was another picture perfect day with a lot of sun, a good chance to have some beer and a cigar in one of the local bars in the city center of Benicarlo...


Partagas P1 from the Jar and San Miguel beer


It was a nice week that we all really enjoyed... now we're back in Switzerland.... welcome back to fog, cold weather and snow.