Friday, September 26, 2014

The Marlborough Sounds


One of my trips during my time in NZ brought me to the northen part of the Southern Island, a must-see area if you like nature. I rented a cabin in the Marlborough Sounds, Ohingaroa Cabin to be exact. The hosts Liana and Leicester are really friendly, thumbs up for that accomodation!

But let's start the story at the beginning. The ride to the cabin from my motel in Christchurch was approx. 6 hours, therefore I started early in the morning because I wasn't able to make the ride on Friday. The weather in Christchurch was really crappy due to this I was more than happy as the sky cleared up during the ride to the north.

Turn right in the roundabout in 304 km! This was shown while still in the city limits of Christchurch

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But then... while approaching the final destination, the clouds got thicker and thicker and it was totally cloudy and foggy when I arrived there around 10 am. A got a very warm welcome by my hosts and they calmed me not be worried about the weather... the sun will come through the clouds soon and it'll be a perfect day. So I took the car for a ride along the bay and made a few stops to enjoy the nature and to smoke a cigar in front of that stunning scenery.

Unfortunately I only had the time to stay there for one night, I could've stayed there for a while... outstanding nature, dead silence. No noise of streets or industry. Just a car driving by from time to time during the daytime. In the evening and the night it was just the sounds of the water and the silence of the night. Unusual for somebody who used to bigger cities... but unusual on a pleasant way.

I had a perfect day in that area and really enjoyed it to take a break from everyday life... just some cold beers and cigars... that's it...

In the evening I was invited by my hosts to have some BBQ with them... ok, it ended up with me doing the BBQ but it was a great evening with fantastic company! Warm-hearted people who welcomed you as you belong to the family... another great experience. During the night I was looking to the moon and the star-spangled sky... nature is really beautiful...












Shoe fence

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Pre-tasting liquid peat


I did the pre-tasting in two separate sessions to avoid to overload my palate with too much peat while I had to put together the tasting notes for all 6 of those whiskys... here's the result...

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Left to right: Glenglassaugh Peated, Bruichladdich 1991 - 2004, Bowmore 1990 - 2002

Left to right: Port Askaig 25yo., Laphroaig PX, Lagavulin 12yo. CS



Glenglassaugh Peated New Make

Nose: Cooked apples, pears, hints of honey, peat

Taste: Fruits, sweet peat, notes of cacao

Aftertaste: Ginger, sweet peat

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Bruichladdich 1991 - 2004, James McArthur

Nose: Seaweed, salt, decent note of peat, fruits (apple)

Taste: Salt, oak, vanilla, cooked apples, decent peaty aroma, nutmeg (?), some pepper

Aftertaste: Long and warming with a touch of salt



Bowmore 1990 - 2002, James McArthur

Nose: Honey, peat, créme brûlée, (roasted sugar, vanilla)

Taste: Burnt wood, ashes, vanilla, nuts, decent sweetness, caramel

Aftertaste: Charcoal and peat mixed with some sweetness



Port Askaig 25 yo.

Nose: Decent peat & smoke, fruits like apple, orange and passion fruit, liquorice, very complex

Taste: Lemon, smoke is getting intensive, smoked bacon, oak wood, liquorice, honey, ashes

Aftertaste: Long and smoky with a touch of salt



Laphroaig PX

Nose: Smoke, burnt wood, dark fruits like plums and berries

Taste: Honey sweetness, oak, smoke, raisins, caramel, hints of salt

Aftertaste: Plums, smoke and peat



Lagavulin 12 yo., Cask Strength

Nose: Vanilla, spices, peat, gun powder, earthy, ginger

Taste: Sweet peat, earth, grapefruit, very complex

Aftertaste: A long peaty and warming finish


Monday, September 15, 2014

09/06 - Zino Davidoff Legacy Award Dinner


Back in September 2013 Urs won the Zino Davidoff Legacy Award for his lifework. He was one of the first Davidoff depositaire worldwide and definitely the first in Europe... this was back in 1971, 43 years ago.

Now it's time to celebrate this award with his customers and friends in the Restaurant Wagghuus in Gottlieben, a place where several events have taken place, the place where he had his first event ever in 1986, together with Zino Davidoff himself. Back in those times they still smoked Cuban Davidoffs, something we all wish to happen again soon... On this evening, September 6, 2014, things have come full circle: Urs Portmann announced that this was the last event that he'd organized and that his sons Marc and Thomas will fully take the tiller from the end of the year on... which means finally that he really retires... but I'm sure we'll still see him very often in the shop in Kreuzlingen. 

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The view from the restaurant's terrace where the aperitif party took place

Davidoff Nicaragua Primeros

 Urs Portmann and Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard, CEO Davidoff




After the aperitif party on the terrace we moved inside to take our seats for the official program. Thomas led us as a moderator through the evening. Before every course there were different speeches, held by Urs himself but also by Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard and others. Both, Urs and Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard, went far afield when they talked about the business and Urs' history in specific. There were also some people in the room who've participated at the first event in the Waaghuus together with Zino Davidoff... as I said before: things came to full circle.

Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard referred several times to the interview with Urs in the Cigarclan magazine, where he mentioned that one of his most loved cigars is a Davidoff Chateau Yquem. Unfortunately he wasn't able to find one of those in the storage but as an "alternative" he handed out a box of Davidoff Chateau Mouton Rothschild, an awesome gesture! Urs, I hope you will enjoy those wonderful cigars in good health! A really well deserved gift!

Thomas moderating the event

The Zino Davidoff Legacy Award

Cuban or not?



The food was excellent as always, the served wines matched also very good... and so were the cigars... if you like them... Luckily I'd nice sticks with me and after the main course, the excellent Beef Wellington I fired up a Ramon Allones 898 from 1998, instead of the Davidoff Diademas which has been offered at this time. For me it's definitely the better choice. The evening, filled with many stories which made it a very deiverting time, flew by quickly and so we left the party around 1 am, knowing that we'd another hour to drive home...

Now it's time for Marc and Thomas to follow their father's footprints... not in the way they'll deal things and run the business but definitely in regards to the success he had over the last decades.

First course: Smoked pike carpaccio

Second course: riesling soup

Third course: Beef Wellington

Third course: Beef Wellington

Fourth course: Walnut brittle parfait with marinated plums



Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard

Well deserved - Urs with a box of Davidoff Mouton Rothschild

Marlene and Urs Portmann

Carlos Andrés presenting the Davidoff Diademas Nicaragua

The new Davidoff Diademas Nicaragua

Then (1986) and now (2014): Urs and Hannes

From left to right: Raymond Scheuer, Albert Manzone, Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard, Urs Portmann, Mirko Lorenzi

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

09/03 - A Diplomatic Tasting


Time's flying... I thought our last tasting was not long ago but a check of the calender told me that it's already 4 months ago... but with the summer vacation and my break because of my surgery it went by quickly. Anyhow... we're back smoking extraordinary cigars, on the schedule: a Diplomaticos No. 7 from the 80s. Unfortunately we were just three guys this time due to a dropping out on short notice of one of us.

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Semi boite nature box of Diplomaticos No. 7 from the 80s

Semi boite nature box of Diplomaticos No. 7 from the 80s

In the meantime I had the chance to smoke several of those discontinued No. 7s, from the 70s and 80s... they're always a big pleasure. Aged Diplomaticos are a class on its own, totally underrated and always in the shadow of the big brother Montecristo. Imho Diplomaticos and Montecristo are two different cigars, they've nothing in common... ok, maybe one thing: they're both made of tobacco, but tastewise they're different and individual.

I don't want to bother you with another tasting report of a cigar I've already reviewed, therefore I just want to attract your attention to the tasting that I've made earlier: http://bit.ly/Diplo_No_7_1988

The cigar was fantastic, I really enjoyed it for the whole 90 minutes I smoked it. The full report about the cigars itself can be found here: http://www.feltedhat.com/?p=2078






Because of the fact that the Diplomaticos No. 7 was "just a short smoke" (quote of the spender), we received a second cigar and filled out the tasting sheets while smoking it. The full and detailed reports can be found on http://www.feltedhat.com/?p=2083.

Los Statos de Luxe - a low budget cigar but I made the experience that those cheap sticks can have a very good flavor. Not very complex but definitely honest and pure tobacco flavor. We realized a funny thing with the existing box: stamped as "Totalmente a mano" but they gave the impression to be short and not long fillers... and the boxcode from the year 1996 was also in contrary to that because after the 1980s they've usually been machine made. In the meantime I found out that also machine bunched but hand finished cigars where stamped with "Totalmente a mano" which seems to be the most reasonable explanation.

Unfortunately my cigar was a little bit disappointing. The first puffs started very intensive but then the aroma dropped rapidly. During the last 2 cm some aroma came back but the rest was boring and nearly tasteless. It's a pity but that's life.

Our next and final tasting for the year 2014 should be around end of November, beginning of December... stay tuned for another interesting cigar to be smoked...