Wednesday, October 28, 2015

10/24 - Habanos Verde


The Swiss Habanos Day 2015, the second one after the premiere back in 2013, took again place in the Giardino Verde organized by Intertabak AG, the official importer for Cuban cigars in Switzerland.

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Doors opened at 2.30 pm, non-alcoholic drinks, Cuba Libre and Mojito were offered and the first clouds of smoke filled the air of that beautiful event location in a greenhouse. 200 aficionadas/os were expected, I'm sure a few more would've liked to attend too.




The guests arrived as the event's planned to start officially with the opening speech of Silver Gmür, CEO of Intertabak AG. A lot of well know faces, people you haven't seen for a while, others you meet regularly. The biggest surprise for me was my friend Marc from Canada walked in. I was in contact with him a few days before the event. He told me that he will be in Switzerland for a few days but had to inform him that we cannot meet because of my attendance at the Habanos Day. He's a very lucky guy and so he was able to attend too... remembering some nice time we spent during his last visits, we went to the first workshop after the official opening was done.



Aging of cigars, the influence of storage on cigars... a very interesting topic presented by Marc Andre. We'd 3 cigars that we'd to smoke simultanously to judge them in comparison to each other. They only thing you know was the fact that they're from 2008, 2011 and 2015.  Very interesting tasting, especially smoking three cigars at the same time... and trying to listen to the presentation itself... time flew by like crazy and I wondered how quickly 1 hour was gone... The verdict was very different for all participants, I'm definitely curious for the final result that we should get in a few days.

For me the order was:
  • No. 1: 2015
  • No. 2: 2011
  • No. 3: 2008
... but maybe I'm completely wrong... who knows...



The second workshop I attended was "Rolling a Cuban cigar". I definitely was aware that it's not as easy as it often looks but when you try to do it on your own you rapidly realize what skills and training you need to roll a perfect cigar. Another hour flew by like the blink of an eye and the final result was not too bad. Originally we were told that we will roll now a Mareva sized cigar... hrmmm... mine looked more like a Double Robusto with a very rough wrapper but surprisingly it had a good draw - not too tight and not too loose - and a pleasant taste... so I enjoyed my first custom rolled cigar until the end. My personal insight after that workshop: it's fun to try it but I better leave it to the professionals to roll the premium cigars...





After the workshops - and before the dinner many of us were waiting for - we moved to the apero in another part of the location where some finger food and more drinks were served. A good occasion for some chatting with the people which was intensively made use of.




Around 8 pm the Cuban Night and the buffet dinner were opened. Really good food with a wide range of salads, appetizers, meat of different kinds, fish and sides, offered a good range for everybody. Different speakers, like Heinrich Villiger, among other functions being the Vice President of the board of Intertabak AG, and María del Pilar Fernández Otero, the Cuban embassador in Switzerland held their speech. A few items, like a special Vegas Robaina humidor, signed by Don Alejandro himself, different bottles of Havana Club Rum etc. were auctioned for a good cause, to support Mark Kuster and the children's charity organization Camaquito, All those programm points were scattered in regular intervals by Cuban music and the show of some impressing dancers. Of course we smoked some more cigars and the - cigarwise - highlight was the presentation of the brandnew Punch Supremos ER Suiza 2015 which should hit the shelves soon. Another big RG of 53 but tastewise it was a really good cigar. A few of those cigars will be on the market in 100 numbered special humidors, let's see which price they'll ask for that.

All in all it was a fantastic event which ended for me late after midnight! I'm already looking forward to the next Swiss Habanos Day...











Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Going on a pilgrimage


The destination of this excursion a while ago was Kloster Fischingen in the cantone Thurgau. But it's not only a monastery, it's also the first and only monastery brewery in Switzerland... with a very nice range of special beers. It's just 40 minutes away from here by car, a very good chance to go there for some tasting on Fridays and Saturdays...

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After trying their really tasty Cherry Ale (which I ordered online), I was very curious for the IPA and also the other 4 abbey beers like the Triple Blanche, Triple Blond, Triple Ambrée and Triple Noire. The good thing is that you try all that stuff directly at the brewery, so you know what to buy... or not... but before we started with the tasting we're showed around a little bit. 






The Ambrée was sold out at the time of my visit, therefore I only had the chance to taste the other three... not really convinced by the Blond, I definitely liked the Blanche and the Noire of which I took a few Magnum bottles with me, I'm sure that at least the Noire will take a nap in my cellar. The IPA also didn't disappoint: notes of grapefruit and citrus in the nose, a hoppy but not too intensive taste in the mouth with a good balanced flavor profile which's not overpowered by the hops. Well done guys!

It's planned to have an event with the release of a new beer maybe 3 or 4 times per year, those'll be definitely on my schedule for the future. There's a plan to brew a so called Grand Cru which should be released in 2016, a beer which can be stored for several years like their Belgian paragons.

For me it'll be interesting to see the development of the Noire because it reminds me a little bit of the Rochefort 8, a beer which's definitely getting better and more complex with a few years of age on it. The philosophy about aging beer may be different, many people agree that the beer is changing but it's getting milder on the other hand... in my opinion it can reach a higher level of complexity (I'd Chimay Bleue from the mid 90s which're simply amazing). Of course they change, they change their character and the taste but that's also an interesting development.





Tuesday, October 13, 2015

10/03 - Cattle Show, Heiden


Summer is over, the cattle is back from the alps in their stable... that's the time when another Swiss tradition takes place: the cattle show.

The cattle is led through the village, decorated in different style and with the big cowbells, and brought to the special meeting place. There the judges will have an eye on them and will rate them in the different categories to call out the winner later.

It's an impressive event that you should visit if you have the chance to do so... if not, just sit back, relax and enjoy the pictures...

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