Friday, August 31, 2012

The healing process


Two weeks after the surgery it was time to remove the strings from the wounds. All cuts have healed very well so it's just a routine matter.

I did my exercises at home which I've been taught in hospital, so it was no big drama. The bending of the knee which's one of the main issues after such kinda surgery is getting better and better, 105° without any pain. I also did a lot of walking exercises which's very important because I've to walk to the therapist's place, about 300 m. Sounds easy but after the surgery and the consequences I'd to suffer from it's a real challenge.The load that I'm allowed to put on the foot is still at a maximum of app. 15 kg / 33 lb.

I also removed the lymph tape because it was no longer sticking to most parts of the skin. It was interesting to see how the blood has been transferred below those stripes because there was nothing to see of the bruise.

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The artwork of the tape on my leg - thx Iris

Many people say that those tapes are just a a mental thing... but have a look at the pic and see that and how it worked!

After a short rest I took the chance to smoke a little cigar, no big one... just a small one because I didn't want to sit too long. The walk of 600 m, the sitting at the doctor etc. was more exhausting than I would've expected (and also caused some pain in the leg), due to this I didn't want to overstretch it. My decision's to smoke an El Rey del Mundo Demi Tasse from 1992, a smoke which would maybe last for 20 to 25 minutes. And it was very good choice: the cigar was full of flavor and filled a time frame which was perfect for me.

El Rey del Mundo Demi Tasse from 1992

On Wednesday evening I was visited by a friend and I took the chance to see if I can sit for a while after lying around for 2 weeks now. It worked fine, I smoked a Upmann Half Corona and a Ramon Allones Allones Extra EL 2011 and we'd some perfekt skirt steak and veggies for dinner. Tanja does a very good job at the grill... I'm really happy that she's doing all the stuff I'm not able to do right now.

Skirt Steak


Upmann Half Corona

Ramon Allones Allones Extra EL 2011

The physiotherapy started on the Thursday... originally I planned to start earlier but this time of the year is vacation time here in Switzerland and due to this their office was closed.

The first seesion was very positive. First I got a lymphatic drainage which felt absolutely great... the bruine has reduced rapidly before but this'll help now too. The second part of the session was about bending and stretching the ankle and the knee. The ankle works as the one of my right foot, all movings are possible without any pain. The bending of the knee is now about 120°, absolutely great and the biggest success if you take into account that the surgery's just 16 days ago.

Friday morning... day 17 after the surgery... I was sitting outside, enjoying the sun, smoking a Hoyo de Monterrey Double Corona from 1998 and did some stretching exercises... and something great happened: I was able to bend the knee completely without any pain. It´s so great... I'm really happy...

Hoyo de Monterrey Double Corona from 1998

I also removed the bandage and it felt good to let the skin of the leg "breathe" some of that fresh air... all the cuts heal very well... it seems that all the healing process is ahead the schedule...

Wounds without strings, 2.5 weeks after the surgery

Wounds without strings, 2.5 weeks after the surgery

Wounds without strings, 2.5 weeks after the surgery

Wounds without strings, 2.5 weeks after the surgery

My doctor is happy how the wounds healed and the leg looks like. My physiotherapist is happy about the progress I make in regards of bending and stretching of the leg. I'm happy that I don't have to lie in bed all day long anymore. But the key to the success will be patience.

I received some good news when I was at my doctor this week: still not more than 15 kg of load on the leg for the next 2 weeks but then the load'll be increased... in 3 weeks from now the situation'll be checked again... that's the x-ray-check 8 weeks after the surgery.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Springbank Pre-Tasting


Time flies by and I'm doing now the pre-tasting for our "Springbank Vertical Tasting" which'll take place at the end of October... hard to believe but it's the 8th tasting that we do... our first anniversary, the 10th event, is coming nearer... I should think about something special for that...

The range of whiskys we'll have this time comes from one of the few distilleries in Campletown which are left nowadays... Springbank. The following whiskys are on the schedule:
  • 9 yo., 58.0 %, Refill Bourbon, Marsala finish, distillery bottling
  • 10 yo., 56.5 %, Sherry cask, Private bottling for Dr. Clemens Dillmann
  • 11 yo., 46.0 %, NC² Range, Duncan Taylor
  • 14 yo., 53.7 %, Scotch Single Malt Circle
  • 14 yo., 51.3 %, Sherry cask, Private bottling for Lateltin Switzerland
  • 28 yo., 54.0 %, Vintage 1974, Dun Bheagan 
  • 6.5 yo., 55.0 %, Springbank private bottling, finished in a Lagavulin cask, very last bottle of the cask (unfiltered)

Springbank is unique in many aspects... it's the oldest distillery which's independently owned by the family.

Springbank produces three different whiskys:
  • Springbank
  • Longrow, peated
  • Hazelburn, unpeated (distilled 3 times)

Another characterizing issue: Springbank is doing a so called "two and half-times" distillation process... parts of the output from the first distillation is drawn off before the second distillation, then mixed with the feints going into the first distillation which ends up in a very unique flavor profile.

Let's start to try them to make some notes for the upcoming tasting event... first in row is the 9 yo. with the Marsala wood finish.

Nose: Boiled fruit, spices, rum raisins, dark chocolate

Taste: Dried fruits, caramel, charred wood, salt, hints of smoke

Aftertaste: Long, sweet and fat

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Take it as a dessert and you´re definitely not wrong. Good starter.


Whisky no. 2 is a 10 yo., a private bottling for a German whisky board (the webaddress is sold in the meantime), an amazing whisky, the dark gold color, the fat body and the thick legs in the glass...

As you can see on the picture I did also some more experiments with a glass, this time I took a Bordeaux glass (which is said to be the best for those kinda tasting stuff) and I got the impression that the whisky opened even more than with the nosing glass.

Nose: Sweet, dried fruits, ginger, nuts

Taste: Creamy and smooth, sherry, dark chocolate, hints of oak, oriental spices, bitter orange

Aftertaste: Long and warming, dried fruits, orange zest



Non chillfiltered + Non coloured = NC², that's a bottling from Duncan Taylor. 11 yo. and stored in Port casks.

Nose: Fruits, toffee, salt, hints of smoke, sweet

Taste: Mix of fruits, tar, smoke, wood, spices, salt

Aftertaste: Covering the palate with a pleasant mixture of spices and sweetness



Whisky no. 4... another bottling of the Scotch Single Malt Circle, we already had some of them in further tastings. This one is 14 yo., distilled in 1996, bottled in 2011 with an ABV of 53.7 %.

Nose: Full and impressive, dried fruits, caramel, toffee

Taste: Caramel, chocolate, wood, spices, nutmeg, rum raisins, plum

Aftertaste: Very long and warming, spices, hints of smoke



The next one... another 14 yo. (05/1996 - 03/2011) which's been bottled for Lateltin in Switzerland. Matured in Sherry casks and bottled with 51.3 %.

Nose: Bloomy, rum fruits, exotical spices

Taste: Dry sweetness, dried fuits, nutmeg, wood, licorice, decent hints of smoke

Aftertaste: Very long with exotical fruits



No. 5, the oldest in the range: a 28 yo., vintage 1974 bottled by Dun Bheagan.

Nose: Vanilla, oak wood, exotical fruits, ripe banana

Taste: Decent Bourbon sweetness, hints of charcoal, mango, oak wood, a touch of smoke

Aftertaste: Very long... first sweet, then smoky...



Springavulin - the last bottle, a 6 yo. Springbank which has been finished for 6 months in a Lagavulin cask in the shop of Werner Hertwig aka Whiskykanzler (www.world-wide-whisky.de), I bought in some kinda auction. It's the very last bottle of the cask. Unfiltered... with a lot of sediment in the bottle... parts of the cask... whatever... bottled with an ABV of 55 %.


Nose: Plum, exotical spices, peatsmoke

Taste: Peat, gun powder, rum raisins, hints of dry sweetness

Aftertaste: Long and warming with a lot peat



Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Ramon Allones Gladiator ER B.P.E. 2010


One of the many Ramon Allones regional releases, but it's another good one... big size which is typical for the actual tendency... for the upper limit regarding the RG... I prefer normally smaller ones.

The youth of this cigar is very present in the smell... there's a pronounced aroma of ammonia, reminding of horse stable... but that´s not the only, there´s also tobacco and wood.

The wrapper is colorado colored with a decent oily shine... let's fire it up.

The first third is filled with an intensive spicyness with white pepper in the nose, some sweetness of honey in the background, a good balance... changing from time to time... keeps the smoke really interesting.

During the second third the spices and sweetness are still there, some notes of cedar wood join and the ammonia is gone completely.

The smoke is getting stronger during the last third: wood, leather, no more sweetness, dark roasted espresso, those are the aromas which come up now...

The smoking time was 135 minutes with no burn issues and an always perfect draw... another good smoke, thumbs up.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Brûlée Cheeseburger


I picked up Ted Reader's "Everyday Gourmet Burgers" book a while back and I'm trying now some of those recipes... one of it is the Brûlée Cheeseburger... I adapted the recipe a little bit and here's the result...

It all started with the homemade mini baguettes... it's a great thing to make everything by your own and with the pizza stone that I have it's really easy to bake the bread on the grill... the result were two awesome smelling mini baguettes.

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Homemade mini baguettes

While the bread was baking I prepared the ground beef with "Onion Bomb" seasoning, some thyme, dijon mustard and minced garlic... formed the paddies and put them to the fridge for a little rest before I placed them on the grill.

The paddies on the grill

The sliced mushrooms were sauted in a pan with some herbs and the shallots and kept warm until needed. After the paddies were grilled they're topped first with the mushroom-mixture and then with the cheese and then put back to the grill to melt the cheese.

Topping it with a mixture of mushrooms, herbs and shallots

On top some shredded cheese and brie

The bread itself was cut, brushed with some butter and also roasted on the grill. Then some Beer-B-Q sauce on the halfes, fresh cut salad, the paddie on it and... here you go: ready to eat.

And for all of you which are getting hungry now: it tasted as good as it looks... maybe even a bit better...

Ready to eat - it tasted great


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Seth's beer package


Back in May we made a trip to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida... we met there a friend which I know from the cigar boards and we exchanged some bottles of beer...

Here are my impressions of the beers he gave to me... some I drank there, some when I was back at home... thx again, Seth...


Founders Backwoods Bastard

Bourbon and molasses hit the nose, some alcohol in the background... the mouthfeeling is very smooth and creamy. The bourbon taste is very present but not too overwhelming. The ABV of 10.2 % is well embedded. A really nice beer.

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Hoptimum

I've to confess that I'm a hophead and this beer is absolutely my liking.

Fresh, fruity and - of course - hoppy in the nose with some hints of herbs. With the first sip the hops hit the taste buds... a decent bitterness paired with grassy notes and herbs... all well balanced. No alcohol in the foreground even though it's an ABV of 10.4 %. Great flavor, that's one of my favorites.



Fegley's Insidious Imperial Stout

Smells like breakfast: light roasted coffee and bread malt, joined by some vanilla and caramel notes. Fresh and floral in the mouth paired with sweet coffee and chocolate, a little bit too sweet for me. There some kinda earthy touch.... but not very dominant... just a hint... the ABV of 9 % is embedded very well.



Russian River Damnation

Fruits like banana and citrus, some yeast, spices and malt... that's what you in the nose. The banana is present in the first sip, followed by a mix of spices, yeast and malt. There's a decent bitterness in interaction with the fruitiness... I miss the hoppy note, but is better than expected after the smell. The ABV of this beer is 7.75 %.



Founders Imperial Stout

Very dark in the glass with an intensive smell of roasted malt, chocoloate and coffee. That's the aroma you also get in the mouth... very sweet (too sweet for me) but it's also covering the alcohol which is 10.5 %.



He´Brew Funky Jewbelation

Also very dark in the glass, I'm afraid that's another extremely sweet one. Some notes of oak, bread and caramel in the nose... the first sip: sweet but not too sweet. Oak wood paired with the aroma of caramel, some sour fruits (cherry?), coconut and dark bitter chocolate. The ABV is 9.8%.



Unibroue 17 Grande Réserve

These on is no US beer, it's from Canada. A complex mix of yeast, oak wood, vanilla and sweet Bourbon hits the nose. The taste follows the nose and delivers a great mouthfeel... it's almost creamy with additional tastes of liquorice and chocolate... The ABV of 10 % is well hidden in the creaminess of the beer... another on the sweet side, but again not too sweet.


Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Diplomaticos No. 7 from 1988


From time to time I show some cigars here which you cannot get at every corner... those Diplomaticos No. 7s are some of those... there are dressboxes floating around from time to time, but this cabinett box is the only one I ever saw.

Diplomaticos No. 7, cabinett box

Diplomaticos No. 7, cabinett box

The No. 7 is a Laguito No. 2, the same size as the Montecristo Especial No. 2... the production has been cut somewhere during the 80s... always hard to find the exact date. This box has a boxing date from 1988, so it seems that it was one of the last boxes that has been produced.

Diplomaticos was introduced in 1966 as a sub-brand of Montecristo, primarily aimed towards the French market. You always read comments about being the lil sister of the Montecristo, finding many similarities in taste etc. I don't kow who's writing this but if you compare an aged Diplomaticos and an aged Montecristo you won't say that there are similarities... totally different in taste and both great on their own. Another myth is to call Diplomaticos a light cigar... if you take into account the age of a 20+ yo. cigar they're really strong, even today... I'm having some No. 2s from 1997 which are mindblowing strong... so get away from that prejudice...

Diplomaticos No. 7, cabinett box

Diplomaticos No. 7, cabinett box

JM-NOUU - Jose Martí (H. Upmann, October 1988)

I reviewed this cigar a while back and it's definitely a great smoke... the review can be found here: http://bit.ly/Diplo_No_7_1988


Friday, August 03, 2012

A painful injury


I spoke about the sudden end of my last hiking tour (http://bit.ly/Tamina_Canyon), here you can see the "result" of my accident: a spiral fracture of the shankbone / tibia, a split-off of the Volkmann's triangle and a regular fracture of the fibula just below the knee. All in all a really painful situation. I'd some fractures at the hand and also of the collarbone but it was nothing in terms of pain in comparison with this fractures... damn...

But back to that point when it happened. I'd some problems to make the emergency calls, so I called my wife to let her do it... and app. 30 minutes later the helicopter of the REGA (www.rega.ch) was circling above me. I cannot describe the big relief I felt in this situation when I've been lying there... helpless and close to the point to pass out for about 3 times. Luckily I'd enough control to avoid it.

The helicopter had to land about 300 m away from the place where I was and a few moments later the emergency doctor arrived. A young lady who made a great job... as the two other guys of the crew did. Due to the situation they took me between them and we "walked" the way to the helicopter. Me, limping and filled to the brim with painkillers, feeling like travelling an endless distance.

The helicopter brought me to the hospital in Chur where the team of the pit took care of me. The treatment was perfect and it was great to see how they treated me to keep the pain as low as possible (I'd different experiences in the past in Germany).

Some x-ray pix were taken... there you can see the fractures.
 
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After all preparations, clarifications etc. the surgery started and in the end it took app. 2.5 hours to fix all the fractures. Now there's a nail and some screws in my left lower leg...





The next day I had to get outta the bed and had to walk with crutches. The first steps of the morning session were horrible, I didn't dare to put any weight on the foot, I was really afraid to feel this terrible pain again. My physiotherapist had to do a lot of convincing to make me put the foot on the ground... but she was right, it worked. On the same day I'd another session in the afternoon and it was slightly better. Two more sessions followed on Thursday and another two on Friday... and the progress was obvious every time. On Friday I was able to walk about 50 meters and also to walk staircases up and down. I'm a bit proud of myself but also very thankful to my therapist who helped me a lot!

She also put some tape on my legs to help me to get my knee moving. It's hard to move because the band which goes from the upper to the lower leg (over the knee) has been splitted. On Wednesday I could bend the knee about 10 or 15°. On Friday it was about 90 to 95°, now I'm close to 100°, which is a really big success after this short time.

Tape artwork - believe it or not: it helps a lot

Bending the knee with a special machinery

On Sunday I left the hospital, it's great to be at home again where everything has been prepared by my wonderful wife.

The swelling is getting less every day, in the meantime - on day 7 after the accident - I can see again the shape of my knee.


Physiotherapy will start within the next days and I hope that I'll be back to normal soon... the only thing I've to accept is that "soon" means about 3 months in this particular case...

I'm having some ups and downs right now. It's hard to lie in bed the whole day and keeping the leg high... but I learned my lesson after standing for a while and talking with our neighbors. Pain in the leg due to the bruise gave me a horrible night even though the leg was in a higher position then. I've to accept that I've to stay in bed until the bruise is gone completely and it's not longer swollen. It's not worth the consequences to ignore that fact.

On Monday or Tuesday the doc will pull the strings of the wounds. Another step on the long way...