Monday, August 30, 2010

08/28 - YAMATO - The drummers of Japan

On Saturday we'd been in Zurich to watch the incredible show of Yamato, the drummers of Japan.

Unfortunately it was forbidden to take pix, but... ok, I took two ...

I don't know if anybody of you has seen those guys ever before... it is simply amazing.... pure rhythm. Those guys where totally happy during the whole show, had fun, smiled, joked. It was even more then enjoying it.. the seem that it's really their passion, their life.

The perfect choreography shows an accomplished body control, body and soul seem to be in an almost incredible harmony.

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When they played the big drums that can be seen in the background of the next pic, EVERYTHING in the whole theater started to vibrate... WOW!!! You have to feel it, to get the feelin which I try to describe here... if you'll have ever the chance to see them, take it.

I found a nice video on youtube (there are a lot of more), here ya go...

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Blind tasting experiments - Part 2

Please forgive me, I was too lazy to translate all the impressions to English language.... due to this you'll find here the conlucsion of this interesting challenge....

Again we made a little blind tasting... this time we chose Piramides.... due to a discussion which came up before, that following cigars'd been on the panel (all people knew that they have these 3 cigars in their package and they also know the box codes and dates):
  • Upmann: USE OCT 07 --> Cigar No. 1
  • Diplomaticos: FPG OSSC --> Cigar No. 2
  • Montecristo: BLP APR 08 --> Cigar No. 3
I thought it'd be a bit unfair with the age of the Diplo, but in the end it wasn't as easy as I thought:
  • Outta 19 people 15 gave their vote.
  • 3 people were totally wrong and didn't recognize any of the 3.
  • 9 people guessed 1 cigar right (3 of each brand).
  • 3 people recognized all 3.
I also asked the people to make a rating (as far as possible) with 1, 2 and 3 points...

That's the result:
  • 1st place with 33 points: Diplomaticos
  • 2nd place with 31 points: Upmann
  • 3rd place with 26 points: Montecristo
Also interesting is to see which cigar was rated best/worst how many times:
  • Diplomaticos: 6x Best / 2x Worst: 4 points
  • Upmann: 5x Best / 4x Worst: 1 points
  • Montecristo: 5x Best / 10x Worst: -5 points
Due to this the Diplomaticos is obviously the winner. Of course it is hard to rate from Best to Worse, but I needed something to make a ranking....

Sunday, August 22, 2010

08/20 - 08/22 - Wedding festivities of Gabi and Max

Before I start with my report... I have say: WOW, the weekend was a blast!

And again: congratulations to Gabi and Max and thanks a lot for inviting us to your wedding ceremony and the party which followed...

But let's start on Friday.... Marcel and Daniela arrived here in Balgach around 2 pm, we put their luggage in our car and a while later we started our trip... a few hundred kilometers and some traffic jams later we finally arrived  at Hotel Stockinger in Ansfelden, where Marlene and Urs already waited for us.

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We checked in, brought the suitcases to our room... a quick refreshment and then it's time for dinner. For me it was some grilled steak with potatoes and fried beans, the others took some local specialties (of which I knew that I would gettem at the dinner during the wedding party).

Even if I have no pix, we smoked some good cigars before and after dinner... later Markus and Ralf (plus their wifes) joined us there and we went to bed after midnight.

After a short night we stood up around 7 am and after the breakfast it was more or less time for the ladies to prepare and o their styling... time for the guys to have a second breakfast... with beer and cigar.

A '97 Diplomaticos No. 2 and a wheat beer is no bad start in the day at all.... we enjoyed the sunny weather lookin forward to the celebrations of the day.... the forecast said that the weather should be fine, temperatures around 30 °C / 86 F and blue sky.

A short drive by car of about 20 minutes brought us to the city of Linz where we drove to a really beautiful church on the top of the hill with a fantastic view over the city and the region around.

In front of the church all the guests came together and we also met the bridal couple where I took the chance to take a pic of them (together with Marlene and Urs Portmann). This was a bit unusual for me, because afaik the groom sees his bride the first time in her dress when her Dad brings her into the church to the altar... but ok.... something new, something different.

The church itself was really nice inside, a perfect place to make this day something special and to be remembered your whole lifetime.

It seems that the mass in the church was a bit boring... that's only reason how I can explain the next pic:

After the church marriage we took our cars back to the hotel and after the couple arrived the party started.

First some little apero at the outside with some bubbly and later on the whole group had to go inside into the hall. The serving of the food started soon after everybody took his seat.... and it was good because it was around 4.30 pm now and breakfast was a while back.

I like all the little details they put in and which made this events also something to be remembered... some personal names plates for everybody.... homemade marmelade for the ladies and some homemade Schnaps for the men. Max also organized some cigars for the smokers and equipped them with special bands.

After the main course the group split, some went outside, some remained inside. Due to the high temperatures and the humidity which was gettin higher and higher inside it was a good choice to sit down on the terrace... and it seems that even Urs found the time to smoke something.

The following pix'll be presented without any further comments, I guess pix say more than 1000 words...

Some glasses of wine later it ended up like this!

Do I have to say anything else? I don´t think so....

Another highlight of the evening (beside the games and the dancin which I both "missed" --> I´m not really a fan of it) was the cutting of the 5-tier wedding cake.... I liked it... ok, I like many kinds of cake, but especially those ones....

We all had a lot of fun, smoked a lot of good stuff. We spent a nice time there and I'm sure that Gabi and Max really enjoyed this day.

This morning after the breakfast they left to Munich Airport to make a 3 day honeymoon trip to Barcelona. We also packed our car, but drove past Munich back to Switzerland.... Tanja and I´ll come back to Munich soon to take the plane to our vacation destination.... but this'll be another story....

Friday, August 20, 2010

Blind tasting experiments - Part 1

At the moment I'm doing another blind tasting experiment with a bunch of guys.... we'd this back in the past two times before and it´s always very interesting... I'll publish the results of the third one end of September but lemme show you know the results of the first two.

Let's start with the first tasting wich was made with Robusto sized cigars.

Within the scope of the blind tasting 3 different cigars have been given out in different combinations (each containing two cigars out of this 3) to 27 participants.

The following cigars had been selected:
  • Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2
  • Partagas Series D No. 4
  • Montecristo Open Master
The following combinations had been realized:
  • Hoyo de Monterrey, Partagas Series D No. 4
  • Hoyo de Monterrey, Montecristo Open Master
  • Partagas Series D No. 4, Montecristo Open Master
Theoretically it would have also been possible to dispatch 2 identical cigars, in this case, however, this was not done. Due to the fact that nobody knew what cigar the others had it exchange of impressions was reduced to a minimum (which was intended to get a neutral impression of every person).

The participants knew that all cigars were classical Robustos from the standard range, no Hermosos No. 4, but they didn't know which cigars I've chosen.

At first you can find the summary of the results:

The Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2 was
  • recognized by 3 participants.
  • identified by 5 participants as Juan Lopez Seleccion No. 2.
  • identified by 3 participants as Ramon Allones Specially Selected.
  • identified by 1 participant as Cohiba Robusto.
  • identified by 1 participant as Romeo y Julieta Short Churchill.
  • identified by 1 participant as El Rey del Mundo Choix Supreme.
  • not assigned by 4 participants.
The impressions of the participants who wrote some words down are as follows:
Candidate 1 , wrong guess:
No. 3 tasted like a very young Upmann and due to the fact that I didn’t measure exactly, I guess it is a Connaisseur No. 1 (I know that it is an Hermosos No. 4, cuz there is no Upmann Robusto in the standard range). After telling this guy again that I only took Robustos he decided that it was a Cohiba Robusto

Candidate 2 , right guess:
I guess that No. 13 is a Hoyo. The construction of the cigar is a bit worse and the taste wasn’t good also. But it was very light and due to this I guess it was a Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure Nr. 2.

Candidate 3 , right guess:
No. 4 is a HdM Epi No. 2. I know, of course, that this guess is wrong… I’m used to it.

Candidate 4 , wrong guess:
My guess for cigar No. 14: Ramon Allones Specially Selected Cabinet
Completely underfilled cigar which has been rolled so loose that the ash flew away in big pieces while purging. Due to this a biting and unpleasant taste, it seemed like they’d forgot the Ligero. No development during the smoke. Ugly aromas of wet card box and coal or pencil. Threw it behind an olive tree after two thirds.
Reminded me of some shitty, young Ramon Allones Specially Selected from 2008/9. Cabinet due to the impression of the silk band.

Candidate 5 , wrong guess:
Cigar No. 10
Cold smell: cacao, cappuccino
Visual impression: dark and rough wrapper, rolled well
Burn: ruler-straight, fine ash
Draw: nearly perfect
Aroma and taste: intensive aroma of spices, decent sweetness
Guess: Romeo y Julieta Short Churchill

Candidate 6 , wrong guess:
I smoked cigar No. 17, to be precisely I smokeda pp. 30 % of it. The cigar itself looked fantastic, had some smell of horse stable and during the smoke I had a very soapy taste in the mouth, it seemed like biting in a piece of soap. Maybe I had a bad day.... I guess it was a Juan Lopez Sel 2.

Candidate 7 , right guess:
No. 16: When I smoked this cigar the first thought which came to my mind was: this is no cuban cigar. Only some decent aromas... While smoking it some more aromas came up and I started to doubt... My guess is: Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2.

Candidate 8 , wrong guess:
No. 05: Juan López Selección No. 2 (2005/2006); First I thought it is a Hoyo, but then I changed my mind, cuz I missed the decent woody flavor. At half way through the cigar some coffee aroma came up which is even more intensive at the JL’s that came to the market lately.

Candidate 9 , wrong guess:
No. 9: Juan Lopez - Seleccion No.2
My impression were: floral, coffee-like roast notes, mild to medium
I fit hasn’t been excluded I had guessed it was a Upmann 160.

Candidate 10 , wrong guess:
My guess: Ramon Allones Specially Selected (the ones from HK tasted the same in the beginning)
I put No.12 aside after smoking it for 15 minutes, cuz it was totally bitter. I smoked the cigar at 1 pm but the taste of the Montecristo No. 2 I smoked in the evening was still influenced….Draw and burn had been perfect.

Candidate 11 , wrong guess:
Prolly No. 18 (Candidate wasn’t sure about the no. cuz he threw away the ziplock with the no.): Ramon Allones Specially Selected
The first cigar I smoked was very bitchy, it was plugged and hard to smoke. In the second third it had a very acid-like touch so I put it away.

Candidate 12 , no guess:
No. 2: The cigar tasted aweful, I put it aside after 3 draws. I have no clue what it was

Candidate 13 , wrong guess:
For No. 8 the decision was very easy: it is a Juan Lopez Selección No. 2.
Impressions: woody aromas dominate and every time when I smoke this cigar I dislike it in the end. It gets a bit bitter.

The Partagas series D No. 4 was
  • recognized by 1 participant.
  • identified by 1 participant as Juan Lopez Seleccion No. 2.
  • identified by 3 participants identifies as Ramon Allones Specially Selected.
  • identified by 2 participants identifies as Cohiba Robusto.
  • identified by 1 participant as Romeo y Julieta Short Churchill.
  • identified by 2 participants as Bolivar Royal Corona.
  • identified by 3 participants as Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2.
  • identified by 1 participant as Montecristo Open Master.
  • not assigned by 5 participants.
The impressions of the participants who wrote some words down are as follows:
Candidate 1 , wrong guess:
Cigar No.20 was the nicer one of the two that I had. Perfect construction, very good rolled and a marble head.
The colorado colored wrapper is fine and a bit oily. (My other cigar with No. 49 has nearly the same color but the wrapper is more rough and matt)
The cigar seems to have nearly no box pressing, but there are two slightly flat sides. The cold smell is intensive and leathery, added by a spicey note, that I cannot explain. I always think of „overfertilized“ – like Cameroon wrappers on NC’s.
The draw is pleasant, a bit on the light side. The best description for the draw during the smoke is effortless, the burn itself is perfect.
The taste is very leathery creamy and present. Nearly like a mature, pleasant taste in the nose. Added by some malt coffee and vanilla. Every now and then I get the impression of some grassiness, but I’m not sure if it is really grass….
After the first third the cigar shows ist youth. The grasiness is now more the harshness of a young cigar. Although it is a bit bitter the smoke and the smell is still very pleasant.
It doesn’t change more and stays pleasant to smoke until the end... smoking time is app. 1 hour.
I still stick to my first thought, even if the cigar tells me that I loose the joy of smoking cigars.
Maybe I’m wrong but I think it is a Cohiba Robusto. Of all Robustos that I smoked the last years (and which are nearly fresh) it fits the profile best. Esepcially the creamy malt coffee flavor proved this impression.
I miss too much that I could say it is another one. A black box is still for me the Montecristo Open and the RyJ Short Churchill. I could have smoked the last one as a comparison, but I didn’t want to.

Candidate 2 , wrong guess:
stick #31: the mere weight of this stick was telling me it was over-filled. i was hoping it was just my imagination as i can't remember the last tight drawing robusto i've had. clipped cap and cold draw told the same story.
i put my trusty draw poker (aka bbq stick) to use and fired up. needless to say, this cigar was a certi-fied dowel. i'd normally pitch it but decided to struggle through it in the spirit of this review.
i'd hoped it would open up at some point but no luck. tight the whole way through and burned especially hot and bitter towards the end. in lieu of the construction issues, i cannot fairly rate this cigar. it was unable to present any part of it's true personality and i have absolutely no guess as to what this cigar's marca was.

Candidate 3 , wrong guess:
Cigar No. 35
Cold smell: Leather, coffee
Visual impression:very nice Colorado colored wrapper, rolled firm
Burn: very light ash in the first third
Draw: cigar is plugged, nearly impossible to smoke it.
Aroma and flavor: nice aroma from a certain earthiness to coffee and notes of nuts
Guess: Bolivar Royal Corona

Candidate 4 , wrong guess:
No. 36... My guess: Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2
My impressions: interesting development during the smoke with increasing intensity towards the end, very sweet in the mouth (maybe also the consequence of the Hoyo Margarithas that I smoked before),in the end it was really “meaty”.Young stogie (not older than 2 yrs.).
Additionally I have to say that I thought both are cabinett versions (cause there was no pressing at all). The color of the wrappers was nearly identical, they could have been outta the same box. Due tot he fact that I tasted something like cat piss in cigar No. 47 (the other one), I decided that they are different. I’m not sure how the cigars got this wet cardbox smell after I received them. After 2 weeks in a Tubo it seemed that it has gone.

Candidate 5 , wrong guess:
For No. 25 I guess it is a Bolivar Royal Corona.

Candidate 6 , wrong guess:
No. 28: RyJ Short Churchill, but I have them in mind to be better
Why? A bit flat, boring and tasteless in the beginning. But during the smoke it improved. A certain sweetness, lot of true tobacco flavor, some pepper. Seems to be very young, maybe sick at the moment?

Candidate 7 , wrong guess:
No. 22: Montecristo »Open« Master; didn’t taste like Cuba and had light spicey bouquet, like the ones that I tried before. Unfortunately no development during the smoke.

Candidate 8 , right guess:
No. 29: Partagas - Serie D No.4
My impressions: fruity, a bit green, moldy tobacco
I fit hasn’t been rolled so tight and burnt so hard, maybe I had changed my guess to a Monte Open - Master.

Candidate 9 , wrong guess:
My guess: No.24 is an older Ramon Allones Specially Selected or maybe a JL No.2
Maybe it was a mistake to wait with no. 24 one more week after the first one, maybe my constitution was different. I smoked the cigar until the end and in the last third it it had some bitter notes, but the mouth taste was very pleasant. Draw and burn also perfect.

Candidate 10 , wrong guess:
The second cigar (no. 49), is probably a Ramon Allones Specially Selected
After the first inch very decent woody notes, which get more intensive during the smoke. Sometimes some chocolate peaked up but without covering the wood and tobacco flavors. Unfortunately it “exploded” in the second third and I smoked a smoked a feather duster until the end.

Candidate 11 , wrong guess:
At first I tought that No. 26 is a RASS but then it got very grassy. There was an impressing bouquet of roast flavors, I only knew this from old Montes.... The development was fantastic, the roast aromas got more intensive based on a background of herbal and grassy notes. Completed by a decent honey sweetness which came from the wrapper for sure. Very intensive aromas which lead to one decision: this was a Cohiba Robusto. (or just a RASS....)

Candidate 12 , wrong guess:
For me the cigar was very light, nearly no aroma, very even burn – to make a long story short: Juan Lopez - Selección No.2

The Montecristo Open Master was
  • recognized by 4 participants.
  • identified by1 participant as Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2.
  • identified by1 participant identifies as Ramon Allones Specially Selected.
  • identified by3 participants as Juan Lopez Seleccion No. 2.
  • identified by3 participants as Partagas Series D No. 4.
  • identified by1 participant as Romeo y Julieta Short Churchill.
  • identified by1 participant identifies as Vegas Robaina Famosos.
  • not assigned by 4 participants.
The impressions of the participants who wrote some words down are as follows:

Candidate 1 , wrong guess:
No. 44: The visual impressions leads to the conclusion that it is a cigar outta a cabinett ("long leafes", not "boxpressed", ...), the head is perfectly round, th wrapper very fine, a lil shiny / oily and has a slight shine of red.
Directly after firing up the cigar I thought: “I know this cigar, I have smoked it regularily.” The cigar is light, creamy and isn’t biting, the rolling is very loose, the burn a bit uneven, the ash is not very firm.
To make a long story short: Romeo y Julieta - Short Churchill.

Candidate 2 , right guess:
Cigar No.49: Colorado colored, rough and matt wrapper with some big veins, one vein is cracked at the foot of the cigar. Slight pressing at both sides.
The cold smell is surprising and pleasant, leathery sweet after a few days in the humidor. Hints of dried fruits (fig).
Constructions seems to be good, rolling also looks well. Draw is medium, that’s fine, a bit better than cigar no. 20.
Interesting: very hard to light it up
From the beginning a hollow, blank, cardbox-haylike taste. A bit biting and mouth covering. Taste is very bad, burnt cardbox.
The cigar is hollow and biting during the whole smoke, burn and ash is perfect over the whole length.
With some good will I can taste some bean flavors, but it is very, very, very…. Ok.. somewhere in the background (something like vanilla flavor which can be found in really good Montecristos).
After halfway through the cigar I realize that the cigar covers my palate very unppleasently – not oily but mouth drying, maybe tannin.
I take a lil drop of my Ardbeg to clean the mouth but it doesn’t reach the tongue. Normally this Whisky is very intensive but now it is tasting like a cheap Schnaps, no peat just some fruitiness.
I’m thinking all the time to quit this cigar but I smoked it until the last third where I’d been honored with 3 or 4 draws of a real creaminess.
On the whole the cigar has no noticable aromas. The very unpleasant after taste of this cigar is very intensive.
The smell in the room is also very unpleasant, only biting. Hot air, nothing else.
In the beginning I thought for a moment of an ugly Dic07 PSD4 which I had a while ago, but this cigar was even worse.
Guided by these negative impressions I guess that it is a Montecristo Open "Master".
Maybe it is prejudiced thinking but the cigar was to light to take others into account. Even strength wasn’t there...

Candidate 3 , right guess:
Stick #37: the wrapper on this was lighter than the first with a smoother sheen to it. this cigar seemed light and true enough, cold draw revealed much less than resistance than i'd like. if smell of the cigar itself is any indication of it's flavors - i expect this cigar to be bland.
once lit, i was met with copious amounts of smoke - the only upside to this robusto. flavors were unlike anything i've had before and actually tasted like a hybrid nc/cc cigar. it was truly one dimen-sional the whole way through and tonight was one of the few times i got bored smoking.
my guess is this is the Monte Open.

Candidate 4 , wrong guess:
No. 47... My guess: Juan Lopez Seleccion No. 2
My impressions: During the first puffs it was a Hoyo. But then the typical hints of cat piss came up which I only know from JL’s between 1 and 3 years. Later on this animalish note faded away and the cigar came up with some wood aromas. Due to the fact that the JL Sel. No. 2 is one of my favorite cigars and that I liked Robusto #47 (better than #26) II decided myself for this cigar.

Candidate 5 , wrong guess:
No. 46 reminded me of this years HEW-cigar (contest in Germany). Due to the fact that the VR Famosos is no Robusto I have to guess: Partagas D4

Candidate 6 , right guess:
No. 50: Montecristo Open Master
Why? Very light draw, on the whole a light cigar, tasted a bit green. In the beginning some pepper and some hints of cinnamon, which faded away very fast. Later on some notes of bread, but all boring. I didn’t smoke it before but that is how I would expect this cigar.

Candidate 7 , wrong guess:
No. 54: Much better than the first cigar.... Wow... intensive flavors, more complex, but also a bit biting, unbalanced. A bit harsh. I only know this from D4’s, but I don’t think of this cigar due to the taste. I think it is a Vegas Robaina Famosos.

Candidate 8 , wrong guess:
Smoked no. 42 at the beach. Although it was windy the burn was perfect and even, very good con-struction of the ash, good and firm draw. Pleasant and intensive taste, enough spicyness. I would describe the aroma as very good tobacco with leathery and slightly woody taste added by some pepper and curry. Smoked it down to a 1/5 inch, at the end it got biting.I think it is a Hoyo Epicure No. 2

Candidate 9 , wrong guess:
No. 05: Juan López Selección No. 2 (2005/2006); First I thought that it is a Hoyo, but I took another decision cuz I missed the woody flavors. In the second half there was an intensive aroma of coffee which is more intensive at latest JL releases.

Candidate 10 , wrong guess:
No. 51 was a Partagas Serie D No. 4

The result was interesting, especially regarding the impressions about the Montecristo Open, which was really liked by some of the participants.

One of my intentions was to get a neutral impression about the Montecristo Open. The result shows to contrary opinions: some said it was boring, flat, like a Dom. Rep.... others said it was strong and tasty.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Hot Air Balloon Days

Hot Air Balloon Days in Diepoldsau, a lil village close to the Austrian border, just a few miles away from where I live...

Further informations can be found here:

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Art of Shaving

Last year in October there started a discussion about the way how people shave on one of the boards in the internet at which I´m active....

My answer at this point was "Electric shaving".... I did so since nearly 20 years....

All the postings of people doing wet shave, all the talking about it, made me to think about it... and at the end of the year I thought to give wet shaving a chance...

First of all I needed some tools... a Silvertip Badger Brush to create a good lather and at first a Double Edge Razor. I took the Merkur Future Vision set which had a good price-qualitiy ratio.

After a while I bought another razor, this one is a so called Torsion Head Razor, the Merkur 37c. Due to the shape it stiffens the blade, makes the shaving much more efficient but you also have to be more careful to get no cuts.

Another thing which is needed, is a good shaving cream or soap. I started with cream (it's said to be easier to make lather with cream if you're a beginner) but I think I'll give soap a try in the near future....

I'm still trying different blades, to find out which are the best for me (because you cannot make a recommendation in general).

This all sounds really scientifical and like a big effort, but for me it´s a great experience... you'll never get such kinda BBS (Baby Butt Shave) with any electric razor...

If you want to get more information about wet shaving you should have a look at, a very interesting (english-speakin) internet board.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Octomore Orpheus 02.2

It's an very interesting Whisky... Octomore is highly peated, and this one is finished in Chateau Petrus Casks, which is a very exclusive way to finish a Whisky... and this finish makes it special.. price- and taste-wise....If you like peaty stuff, that it is a must have!

Nose: Peat, sweetness.... sweetness, peat... charcoal, wine vinegar

Taste: CHARCOAL AND PEAT!! A massive attack on the taste buds... then the sweetness of the wine is risin up, coatin the mouth; orange and almond, peat and tar are present all the time.

Aftertaste: Very, very long and warming... a real monster!!

The description may sound a bit boring but this Whisky is a real experience that you have to taste...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

08/10 - Some old stuff... just another pre-tasting

In the beginning of November we gonna do another Whisky tasting in the Lounge. It's the 4th event now....

The first was with bottlings of the Scotch Single Malt Circle only, the second showed the people the peaty way from lightly to heavily peated.... the third one was a Bruichladdich Vertical Tasting... those three events defined a high level and it'll be hard to make it even more attractive, but I think I found something which is also really special.

This time the slogan is "Back to the 70s", which means that we'll have 4 Whiskys which have been distilled in the 70s.... It's interesting that all I chose have been matured in a Sherry casks... seems like they preferred it in this years...

The following is on our panel for this time:
  • Bunnahabhain 1976, 31 yo, Murray McDavid, Oloroso Sherry Cask
  • Inchgower 1974, 34 yo, Scotch Single Malt Circle, Re-Fill Sherry Cask
  • Caperdonich 1972, 37 yo., Duncan Taylor Rare Auld, Re-Fill Sherry Cask
  • Speyside Single Malt (Glenfarclas) 1971, 35 yo., Whiskyfair, Oloroso Sherry Cask

The reason for trying them before is on one hand to get some tasting notes which I can use for the tasting and on the other hand to find out the matching cigars for a recommendation.

Maybe a Partagas or Bolivar might be too earthy, the strength is no problem in this case.... my tendency goes to ERdM: medium bodied and full of intensive sweet and floral aromas which should get into a good balance with those Sherry monsters.

Ok, so let's start first with the Whiskys, the Bunnahabhain 1976, the one in the row, which's distilled latest. Distilled in 1976, bottled in 2009 at 51.9 % (103.8 proof).

Nose: Dried fruits, pleasant sweetness, honey, oak wood
Taste: Maritime - salt and tang, some spices, reminding of ginger bread, roasted hazelnut, toffee, in the end some liquorice
Aftertaste: A hint of peat smoke, fruity aromas and some refreshing saltiness

It couldn't have been a better one to start this tasting.

The second in the row is the Inchgower 1974, another nice bottling from Maggie and Bill.... Distilled in 1974, bottled in 2009 at 57.1 % (114.2 proof).

Nose: ripe banana, malt, honey, decent oak wood, caramel fudge
Taste: sweet and malty, cereals, fat and creamy, walnut, dried fruits in the background, some exotic spices
Aftertaste: Never ending.... a Whisky like a very good desert....!!

But the best to done is to add some drops of water: it gets FAT and OILY! A very intensive maltiness, the aroma of the spices gets stronger... an AROMA EXPLOSION!!!

No. 3 goes back to the early 70s, distilled before I was born.... Caperdonich 1972. Distilled in 1972, bottled in 2010 at 56.5 % (113.0 proof).

Nose: Fruity (Mirabelle), decent oak wood, honey
Taste: Honey, exoctical spices (but not too intensive), nutmeg, dried plums, hints of lemon
Aftertaste: A bit dry but very long fruitiness....

This Whisky gets drier the longer you have it in your glass, the spices and dried fruits cover the palate...

The last one... dark as the night... a really special Whisky... only by seeing it you can imagine that it'll run down the throat like oil.... but with an amazing taste and a color which is close to black.... A Speyside Single Malt 1971. Distilled in 1971, bottled in 2005 at 51.4 % (102.8 proof).

Nose: Complex, subtle and elegant, it's like an old sweet wine....
Taste: Dry, Sweet but not round, milk chocolate, spices, ginger bread, balsamic vinegar, hints of pineapple
Aftertaste: Refreshing menthol and dried fruits of the Sherry... a perfect balance

This is a perfect winter time Whisky....

I think my guess which I made before was right... the ERdM Choix Supreme, Lonsdale or Gran Corona'll be the perfect choice to compliment those outstanding spirits.

After this first run I smoked a ERdM Gran Corona with the first two and a Lonsdale with the other Whiskys... fantastic combination... the intensity of the dried fruits in the spirit matched perfectly with the bloomy aromas of the cigars. None of the partner was overpowering the other.... it's an awesome interaction which goes always back and forth without gettin boring. Those kinda combinations are very subjective, due to this I hope that the participants of the tasting'll like it as I did.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Fonseca Hermosos No. 4 ER Benelux 2010

I smoked one of those a while ago (but had some other cigars before) and so I decided to revisit it again, to get an impression about it.

The wrapper is colorado colored, fine and a bit shiny. Decent smell of fresh cut grass, wood and tobacco.

The first third starts with a good mouthful of smoke and a good draw with a good balance of woody flavors and some sweetness.

During the second third the taste gets very woody, some kinda greenish aroma in the background....

In the last third there is still oak wood, tary notes come up... it's gettin a bit harsh.

A solid smoke with a smokin time of 90 minutes.... not bad at all but not convincing enough to make me buy a whole box of them....

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Arild's outstanding Whisky review

A virtual friend from Norway (I know him from a cigar board), whom I had not the luck to meet in person until today, got three samples of Whisk(e)y from me... he said he would be curious about this or that, so I made him a lil package...

Here you go with his impressions:

Woodford Reserve Batch 61, bottle no.04919 at 45.2 % alcohol. This is a bourbon made in coppar stills made by the coppersmith Rothes in Speyside, Scotland. This is as far as I know the only triple distilled whiskey in the US. I don't know much about Bourbon and has very little experience drinking it, but I will tell you my thoughts about it later in this post.

The second bottle was a private bottling of Springbank, cask no. 354, stored from 1999 - 2009 and bottled at 56.5 % alcohol. Springbank is one of my absolute favorite distilleries, their whisky is a little like a painting for me, you discover new smells and tastes every time you enjoy a Springbank dram.

The third and last bottle was something really special, a 35 year old Glenfarclas from the Speyside region, stored from 1971 until bottling in 2006 at a natural alcohol of 51.4 %. The oldest single malt I have ever had.

The Glenfarclas distillery in the Highland (Speyside) region of Scotland was built on the farm Richlerich, right by the foot of the 800 meter mountain Ben Rinnes and the river Spey in 1836. It was the farmer Robert Hay who built it. He bought two used "pans" from the small distillery Dandaleith 5 kilometers north of Rothes. When Hay died the distillery become silent.

In 1865 the well known John Grant needed more space for his Aberdeen Angus creature, and hired the farms Recherlich and Derrylane. He also bought the distillery Glenfarclas, and paid 511 pounds for it. The first years the distillery was run by the distillator John Smith from Clydesdale Distillery in Wishaw. After five years Smith left and started the distillery Cragganmore. Mr. John Grant then started himself with Glenfarclas and founded the J & G. Grant firm with his son George. In the year 1887 they bottled and sold to the USA their maltwhisky named "Pure Old Glenfarclas-Glenlivet" Most of the production was sold to John Deward & Sons and John Walker & Sons.

That was a little history around the start of the Glenfarclas. A little newer history - in 1960 Glenfarclas got two new pans and had a total of four. 12 years later the maltery was closed (this means that they malted themselves in 1971 when "my" whisky was put on a barrel) In 1976 they got another two pans and could produce 2.6 million liters of pure alcohol per year.

Glenfarclas six pans, the largest ones in Speyside are fired directly with open flames from gas. This is quite unusual today as this wears the pans more than indirect warming. They sample their spirit between 72 and 60 % giving a middle of 68 %. I guess it is more 72 and less 60 % in the sample! They store their whisky in mostly "first filled sherry butts" earlier containing either oloroso or fino sherry. Glenfarclas does not use any American bourbon casks. All casks are stored on the distillery in 30 "dunnage-building stores" with red doors. Glenfarclas can produce 3 million litres of pure alcohol today.

The water used to make Glenfarclas is cristal clear and ice cold melted water from the sides of the mountain Ben Rinnes. Glenfarclas has a lot of different bottlings to buy, I guess your wallet is the only problem, hehe. I could never afford a whisky like the one Heiko sent me. It could well be 1000 pounds for a bottle of 35 year old Glenfarclas!

If you still read, over to the tasting notes.

I started with all three in tasting glasses without any water. The most important thing for me is the smell of the whisky, and trying to get and write down my impressions is what I used most of my time doing.

First I will tell you shortly what I think of the bourbon, the Woodford Reserve. What really hit me when I first smelled this whiskey was that I had never smelled anything like this before in a spirit. It reminded me really strongly about banana milk shake. Not that I don`t like banana milk shake, but that smell is probably not what I would have wanted from a fine spirit if I could choose. It also had a sweet smell of vanilla and a hint of white peppar on the nose. The colour was like dark gold with a nice shine. A nice smell, but I guess not what I am looking for when I buy a bottle of whisky(ey).

Over to the Springbank. A brilliant golden colour shines in your face from the glass. When I hold my nose at arms lenght from the glass I get a hint of the wonderful smells I'm about to experience. At 56.5 % alcohol and aged only ten years made me think it would kill my nose in a short time, but actually it could just as well have been only 40 % alcohol. So pure and "integrated" with the oak already.

I can tell you already that I loved the smell from the Springbank. It has a brilliantly integrated smell of smoke, I talk about a nice thouch of smoke, not overwhelming like some of the Islay whiskys. The smell of this liquid gold actually made me think of walking around in a forest smelling the wet sprigs of spruce on the forest floor and looking up in the air trying to locate a fire in the distance. Wow, this is complexity in a spirit. The Springbank also reveal fine tones of old sherry, a touch of caramel and hints of peat. I could not ask for more in a ten year old whisky, period.

After drinking some pure water and walking around in the garden for a few minutes I was ready for the Glenfarclas 35 year old. Looking at the colour it strikes me that it is very very dark, almost like an oloroso sherry stored in an Almacenista for decades. Dark gold with reddish tones describes the colour I think. Even just sitting in my sofa with the small tasting glass on the table in front of me made my tasting buds jumping in amusement. I took a picure of the Glenfarclas with a bottle of a superb Oloroso sherry from Lustau just to illustrate that I think the Glenfarclas must have been stored in oloroso sherry casks. If the Glenfarclas distillery is the mother of this whisky, the oloroso cask must be it`s stepmother. Heiko wrote it had 51.4 % alcohol. I guess it has reached this level naturally just by the "angels share" during the 35 years of storing. Surely it has the natural colour also, it shines just too much to have any caramel put into it, and that would have been a crime doing also. I love natural things and dislike strongly artificial additions in anything.

When smelling the Glenfarclas it brought what felt like silk underwear to my nose. So soft, at the same time so incredibly strong in smells (I talk about the whisky). Of course you smell the oloroso sherry, but that is one hell of a nice smell isn`t it?. It is so sweet and silky on the nose in an elegant way. Sweet vanilla and walnuts comes forward. Oriental dried fruits is crystal clear, and you can feel a touch of fine leather and almost old Grande Champagen cognac as well. The body of the Glenfarclas is mouthwatering full and creamy with tastes like described in the smells departement.

At last I had some pure water in the whisky(ey)'s. That brought industrial banana smell to the Woodford, the Springbank remained almost the same, a little more "mild" and kind perhaps. And if you think I put water into the liquid gold of the Glenfarclas, hehe, I did NOT.

So, Heiko and others interested in whisky(ey). The Woodford Reserve was a nice experience because I had not tasted a triple distilled bourbon made in scottish pot stills before. But I don`t think I will taste it again, the banana smell was just over the hill for me personally.

The Springbank is the most complex 10 year old whisky I have tasted to date. Outstanding for a ten years old.

The Glenfarclas was easily the best whisky I have tasted, a heavenly drinking experience.

Heiko, thank you for thinking about me when you looked at your outstanding display of whisky's in your bar, it was much appreciated and I enjoyed myself immensly doing this simple review.


Another comment reached me in the evening:
...I'm sitting outside with what was left in the glasses after I finished the review. I followed your advice, and the ERDM Grandes de Espana is a great match to the Springbank and the Glenfarclas...

I'm glad to hear that my suggestion was good also for you, Arild.

Thx a lot for doing such an outstanding review...

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Some special Whiskys from 1973

1973 - the year of my birth.... and due to my passion for Scotch Single Malt I'm always on the hunt to find bottles for a reasonable price which have been distilled in this year...

I have three open bottles from this year... a Glen Scotia, a Glenrothes and a Cragganmore.... but I wanna show the bottles which are still closed and wait for the day I gonna crack them.

left to right: Highland Park, Macallan, Glen Grant, Tobermory Ledaig

Let's start with some words about the first one.

Highland Park bottled by Mackillop's Choice is a single cask bottling, filled in 2009.

Highland Park distillery was founded in 1798 and even in 2010 they stuck to some old traditions. One of those is to hand-turn the malt on the dry floor which makes the malt cost two and a half times as much as industrially processed malt. Another keystone for the special taste of this Whisky is the use of Sherry casks for the maturation... makes it more expensive but also more special. A typical taste of Highland Park is decent smoke and the moorland herb.

Second in the row is the Macallan, some call it the Rolls Royce of Single Malt. The latest bottlings of this distillery are also Bourbon cask matured, but all the old stuff, like the one I have here, are matured in Sherry casks. The purists say that the Sherry covers the character of the distillery but I like this Sherry taste...

Macallan was one of the first legal distilleries in Scotland, being founded back in 1824 (started with their license in the mentioned year). Dried fruit and decent aromas of peat... that's what I like for that Whisky. Unfortunately it´s not cask strength but only 40 % / 80 Proof.

Glen Grant... mindblowing Whisky if it was in a cask for a long time. The cask has been selected by two guys who also put up the Whiskyfair in Limburg and I'm sure the made a really good choice. 36 years of age... also matured in a Sherry cask... the complexity of this Whisky is amazing, as I said before: mindblowing.

Founded in 1840 and they're also traditional in some things like firing some of their still with coal like it has been also in the beginning.... the newer ones are heated with steam.

Last but not least: Tobermory-Ledaig, the peaty version of this distillery which has been founded in 1798 but had many closure time over the centuries. An underrated distillery imho.

Finally a peaty one... hard to find peaty stuff for a reasonable price... others like Ardbeg or Laphroaig goin back to this year are extremly expensive... and outta my price range.

Those bottles are still sealed but they'll be opened one day for a special occasion, because I didn´t buy them for collectin but to enjoy them.

At the moment I have again an interesting bottle on its way: a Bunnahabhain, 1973 - 2009, 35 yo with 50.1 %, another bottling from the Whisky Agency.