Sunday, May 30, 2010

05/29 - Zeppelins over Lake Constance

The forecast said that Saturday seems to be the best day of the week and another rain period's gonna follow.... so we decided to take a ride to Constance, do some shopping, make a visit to Urs and also meet with Marcel.

We started early in the morning and left the mall when it started to be crowded... I hate it when the shops are packed with people....

So we jumped back across the border and hit Portmann's shop for some nice conversation, coffee and a little smoke.... The weather was as nice as predicted and so we moved later to the Seerhein where we'd like to go to enjoy the location, the weather....

The lake was full of sailing boats and also in the air you could see some traffic....

We'd no breakfast so we needed a little snack... Tanja got some salad with grilled prawns and I for myself took some Argentinian Entrecote... Meat's my vegetable....

We also had some nice smokes, a RyJ Churchill AT, which I got a while back from Urs and a PL Petit Corona from '04 which was also very good....

App. 3 hours later we took the way back home, happy that we could enjoy again a nice day with good people... some experiences that happened these days tought me to enjoy EVERY DAY as good as I can.... The Rhine valley was heavily clouded and the rain started after we entered our appartment...

Welcome back, beloved rain, I missed you so much....

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Partagas Palmas Grandes early 80s

I'm not sure about the exact year, some sources say they'd been discontinued in the 70s, others say in the 80s. What I can say for sure is that it seems to be pre '85 (no Cubatobacco stamp).

The cigar itself is colorado colored and seems to be hard rolled, the wrapper is matt, no oil. The smell reminds me of a visit in the zoo and standing in front of the lion cage.... it's something like the smell of a wild animal, very decent, but that's what came to my mind...

I roasted it over the soft flame of my Dupont and when I had the glowing ring I clipped of the head and took the first puff...

Wood - not hard and straight but very creamy and soft, covering the whole palate. Joined by a very intensive herbal aroma. No slow starter... it enters the stage and it's directly in the spotlight. The first third is a very nice interaction between those two dominating flavors... sometimes there are some other impressions... moss and mushrooms....

The second third still has the herbal (vintage) flavor in the background, the basis on which all other flavor build on.... it's gettin rougher... leather, some peaty notes, strong tobacco and milled black pepper.... a complex mixture of flavors.... Wow!

During the last third the herbs become more intensive again... tar and char coal, also hints of dry oak wood and sawdust.... all very well balanced and still creamy on the palate. The cigar gets strong... I'd say it can still rest for a few years period... but I guess I cannot resist to smoke it before....

The draw was perfect, even if I'd some doubts in the beginning, over the smoking time of 90 minutes.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Springbank, 1999 - 2009, Private Bottling

This Whisky is really amazing, the dark gold color, the fat body and the thick legs in the glass... 56.5 % of alcohol, but you don't feel it, it's deeply embedded in the flavors given from the Sherry cask. Very well balanced, especially if you keep in mind that it's just 10 yo.

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

Monday, May 24, 2010

05/24 - A bottle of bubbly and a Trinidad Robusto Extra

Again a beautiful day.... our guests departed at 1 pm and now Tanja and I enjoy her birthday outside on the balcony with warm and sunny weather....

Having a bottle of sparkling wine and myself smoking a Trinidad Robusto Extra which compliments the beverage perfectly....

Bubbly and Trinidad Robusto Extra

Our cats also enjoy to lay down in the sun and take a nap... life could be worse....

Whisky in the Jar

I had to change the title a bit in variance to the original , because I'm talking about Scotch Single Malt which is written without the additional "e" (the song's of Irish origin).

Some call it liquid gold... if you take a look at the prices for some of those bottles you have to agree...

Here I wanna show you two special Single Malts that I have here at home... as you can see, two bottles of each. This fact makes it easier to open the first bottle, because when you like it you still have another bottle left. And if you dislike it: you find a lot of potential buyers for this stuff on the market, and prices for those bottles are definetly crazy nowadays. But before anybody gets some hope: these bottles are NOT for sale.

Ardbeg "Lord of the Isles" - a name which makes many malt lovers mouthwatering eager to get a dram of it.

It's a spectacular 25 year old Ardbeg in a stunning packaging which includes a collectable scroll. The Lords of the Isles ruled the western isles of Scotland from the 12th to the 15th centuries and are now the eponym of this great Whisky.

Ardbeg Lord of the Isles

Nose: Very smoky but not especially peaty. Or let's put it this way: only the smoky component shines through. A little restrained with lots of ripe apple. Heavy peat arises after a while, together with some grassy, farmy notes.

Taste: Bold and rich with some tropical fruit and a load of peat and smoke. Very nice balance. This is pure Ardbeg. Some citrus notes come up...

Aftertaste: A very, very long finish.

The name is no empty promise, this Whisky is a true Lord of the Isles.

The 25 yo Bowmore has no spectacular name, it's just a 25 yo Whisky, matured in Bourbon and spanish Sherry casks which gave its unique taste to it.

Bowmores which have only been in Bourbon casks have the tendency to get a perfume-like note, reminding of lavender. Luckily no hint of this at the 25 yo, thanks to the Sherry casks which surely helped to avoid this taste.

Bowmore 25 yo

Nose: Rich, yet subtle, on dried fruit and tea. Tropical fruit (guava, passion fruit). The peat arrives after a while. Some pepper as well. Develops on strawberry jam, apricot, kiwi. Great nose!

Taste: Great balance between peat and fruit. Lots of acidic fruit notes (passion fruit). Quite spicy (cinnamon, clove) with some linseed oil.

Aftertaste: Very nice and long finish, spicey, peaty.

Without any doubts these two are really great Single Malts, I'm happy that I have them... and I'm sure there'll be plenty of opportunities to open the bottles and enjoy this nectar...

Slainthe Math!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

El Rey del Mundo Torpedo ER Italy 2008

Colorado-colored, fine, matt wrapper, no pressing (it's out of the 50ct cabinett) and seemed to be rolled ok.

The cold cigar had this marca typical smell of flowers, very bloomy, but it is mixed with the smell of wet soil....

After lighting and cutting the torpedo shows a very slight draw, for luck not to slight, it was just at the limit.

The first third is a an interaction between sweet and bitter tastes, honey and tannin prevail reciprocal... attended by the floral, bloomy impressions that had been mentioned before. Tannin came up some time more, some less but it's always present and emphasizes the youth of the cigar.

The sweet tastes fade away in the second third, it's getting more distinctive, spices and herbs are the dominating flavors, but all the time well-balanced. A subtle woodiness is coming up.

The mentioned woodiness becomes more intense in the last third, leathery taste were added now and the cigar begins its final spurt. Impetuous, balls to the wall!.

The cigar produces all the time a fat and creamy smoke, you feel the youth because it is sometimes a bit harsh.

In my opinion this cigar has a good aging potential and I'm very curious how it will be in some years....

Saturday, May 22, 2010

05/22 - Sun and Scotch

The first really nice day after a two weeks period which was filled with a lot of rain....

We're sitting outside on the balcony and enjoy the nice, sunny weather.... I'd a good cigar and decided that's now time for a good glass of Scotch....

I took out a private Springbank bottling, matured 10 years in an Oloroso Sherry Cask... and I can simply say: Wow! The flavors are very intensive and overwhelming....

You'll find a short review of that Whisky soon in the Spirits archive section....

Friday, May 21, 2010

Diplomaticos No. 7 1988

The wrapper of this more than 20 yo cigar is colorado-colored, very fine, a little bit shiny. The rolling seems to be perfect (and later on I can find a perfect draw).

The smell of decent oak wood and pure tobacco is very pleasant.

So, let's fire up that little baby. The first draws reveal a very intensive and strong taste. Wow... I hadn't expected it by a cigar of that age which is also said to be on the light side. Flavors of roasted nuts and coffee, wood, tobacco and leather are present from the very beginning. It starts with a beat of the drum! The combination is very well balanced and the flavors get more intensive and fade away in a very interesting interaction.

The second third is mainly characterized by woody and herbal components... sometimes a aroma of mushrooms joins.....

The last third shows what it really is: tobacco, pure tobacco. And that is the taste... old, pure tobacco... to be honest: that's what I would expect, 'cause in the end it is just a cigar.

The smoke was very thick, creamy... almost fat! The draw was perfect over the whole smoking time of 80 minutes, the burn-off was ruler-straight.

I'm happy that I opened the box. The cigar was a dream, is very tasty and good to smoke. I don't know how it will be in future if would rest still more years. I don't care about it and just enjoy the moment!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

05/15 - Custom Rolled Cigars in Kreuzlingen

Waking up on Saturday morning after another nice evening and a short night.... and hearing the rain outside. Feelin like in Oktober, cold and wet.

We got up and made a visit to a local farmer where we picked up some stuff like cheese, salad, eggs etc. and enjoyed our breakfast after this little shopping trip.

Marc and I went to Kreuzlingen where a torcedora was rolling fresh cigars. We arrived there around midday, Marcel arrived there a few minutes before and after we sat down we had an Espresso, water and a Custom Rolled Lancero burning...

We spent a few hours in the shop, smokin very nice Customs (got one from Urs which he brought from Cuba) and due to the fact that it's crowded in the shop and Marc wanted to choose some nice boxes, we went downstairs to have a bit more quiet smoke.

It's always nice to be downstairs and have a look at some treasures.... some you see again and again... and from time to time there is always something new.

One box is there which I saw very often but didn't take pix of it: Partagas Suaves... old and crusty.... and not for sale.

During the Portmann's visit at the Festival in February, Urs received a nice gift from Hiroshi Robaina, the grandson of Alejandro who did a few weeks ago. A neat presentation in a wooden barrel... there should be more like this available for the normal folks....

Last Friday also the new Edicion Limitadas for 2010 arrived at the shop... a few boxes from the first release, everybody is eager for them and so I grabbed the Montecristo Grand Edmundos and the Partagas Series D Especial, one box of each... the best of those which were available right now.

I smoked both before, the Montecristo and the Partagas, and I'm convinced that both have definetly a really great potential.

In the late afternoon we settled over to the Lounge where we chilled and smoked for the rest of the day near to midnight... Marlene and Urs, and also Marc came from Vaduz, to join us there... having a bottle of Champagne and more good cigars. Urs gifted us a Diademas which has been rolled by Cueto.... a cigar with a very unique flavor.... very enjoyable....

I also had a Caney Delgados - thx to Marcel - which seems to be dated back to 1977. A machine made stick with a very characteristic citrus flavor... more than 30 years old and stoll full of flavor... simply amazing.

The next morning we'd our last breakfast together with Marc before he left in the direction of Geneva. We'd a very nice time!

Thx to him for visiting us, it was a pleasure.... and a BIG "Thank you" to my wife Tanja who'd a lot of work with taking care of us all the time, preparing the food and so on and so on....

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

05/14 - Gigerwaldsee and Two Times Marc

Friday - the rain continued... and we took a ride to the Gigerwaldsee which is app. 60 km south from Balgach.

A big reservoir which is empty over the winter time and is starting to be refilled now. I'd been there last summer and knew what I'd to expect but the dam is always impressing.

The road along the reservoir to the end of the valley is very narrow and you can use it only once per hour for 20 minutes in each direction. At the end there is the lil secluded village, consisting of about 6 old houses which are only accessable from May to October.

There we took the chance to heat up (don't laugh but it's only 5 °C / 41 F) with a very good barley broth (and a beer) before we - after a small cigar - took the way to Marc Portmanns shop in Vaduz.

In the shop we'd some coffee, water and a Montecristo Grand Edmundo EL 2010, a cigar which is smokable right now but I guess it'll take a great development over the next years....

After some nice conversation we left the shop and hit the road again, Marc wanted to join us for dinner at our home. Tanja made some Greek and some asparagus salad, some home made Cevapcici (she prepared them while we'd been outta the house) and we also had some steaks to put on the grill.

Dinner was awesome, everybody was happy with the food, accompanied first by a redwine from Balgach and another Italian one that Marc (which one??) brought with him, when he arrived at Wednesday (ah, the Canadian Marc!).

The names... it makes it really tricky... two Marc's at one table.... and by the way: both with a "c" at the end...

Portmann Junior brought some good cigars with him for us.... a Partagas Series D Especial EL 2010, which is really a powerhouse and seems to have a lot of aging potential. The second cigar was a BHK 54, but before we had LGC MdO No. 2 from 1997 that Marc from Canada gifted. Tanja, who smokes normally no cigars, got a Hoyo du Maire and enjoyed also some puffs of my BHK 54 (and she liked it... very exclusive liking).

The perfect combination

The last pic is for Marc Portmann.... I hope you got the taste of Pepsi Wild Cherry outta your mouth.... but that's the consequence if you are too curious.... and for the rest: NO, I didn't drink the Wild Cherry stuff with the BHK... it's only for the pic, the can was Tanja's drink and not mine.

Monday, May 17, 2010

05/13 - St. Gallen, Seafood and some Whisky... and cigars....

Thursday morning, still rainy weather but with some little dry gaps between.... we took the chance to do some sight seeing in the beautiful city of St. Gallen, app. 30 minutes away from our home.

Marc is a big reader so I had the idea to visit the impressing and famous Stiftsbibliothek, which is the oldest library in Switzerland. Unfortunately it is forbidden, to take any photos there... after that we stepped in the big Cathedral of St. Gallen.

Then we took a walk through the old city, along the old part of the wall around the abbey where you still can see the prison cells (now for the Cantone police) which has been also used in the Middle Age.

Then we went on with our next aim, the Alhambra Bar with the cigar lounge, one of the few places in the city where you can smoke inside.

The place upstairs is called "Habanos Cigar Lounge", but: Marc and myself where the only cigar smokers. When we stayed there it filled more and more with cigarette and Shisha smokers.... young folks.... no place where I have to go on a regular basis.

We arrived at home at around 6 pm, in the meantime Tanja had prepared some nice stuff to put on the grill which was in detail:
  • Prawns with a chilli lemon marinade
  • Pangasius filet with provencial marinade
  • Sepia with oil and garlic

After this really delicious dinner we settled down on the balcony to take our smokes.... and some Whisky.... in the end we enjoyed the evening until 2.30 am...