Monday, October 13, 2014

03/10 - 04/10 - Swiss Herf Weekend

Even though our annual Swiss Herf was different than the years before, because we did it just with a very small group of 4 guys, we also had a very good time.

As usual we met at the shop of Urs Portmann in Kreuzlingen. Coincidentally there was a torcedor at the shop on Friday and Saturday, therefore we'd the chance to start the day with some fresh custom rolled cigars... I went with a Lancero and a Robusto and I also tried the new Por Larranaga Picadores later - a good cigar btw.

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Esteban Lazo Alfonso (Santi Spiritus factory) and Urs Portmann with a special Culebra

Waiting for an ordered cigar

Esteban at work...

After the check-in in the motel we drove to Dornbirn because we'd a reservation in the Gasthaus Gemsle for this evening, a place which is on my list of restaurants that I visit on a regular basis. We started the evening with a short smoke, the Punch Small Club, Regional Edition for France from 2009, a Petit Robusto. I'm not a big fan of Punch (with a few exceptions) but this was a very good smoke, thx again to Gabriel for the cigar.

Punch Small Club, RE France 2009




Because of the fact that I'd no lunch on this day, I took the full dinner program with a starter, main course and dessert. The steak tartare was delicious, I enjoyed a good portion of veal liver with some hashbrowns, and the chocolate with the liquid core was outstanding... All the others were happy with the food too.

As a little surprise I had taken some whiskys with me to make a tasting where we compared old and new bottlings of nearly the same age of whisky.

The first pairing was a 10yo. Bruichladdich, bottled in the late 70s (definitely before 1979), the new bottling for the comparison was a 12yo. Buichladdich which has been distilled approx. in 2001 or 2002. For me the old 10yo. was over the new 12yo., more complexity, more balanced with a pleasant touch of sherry.

The second pairing was also very interesting, also Bruichladdich: a 15yo., bottled also in the 70s or 80s, therefore it should've been distilled back in 60s, maybe late 50s, depending on the bottling date which can only be fixed approximately. The color showed that it was at least stored in refill sherry casks, maybe not dark enough for first fill, but who knows... The bottle for the comparison was a 15yo. Bruichladdich, Second Edition, finished in a Chateau Yquem cask. Due to the closure time of Bruichladdich between 1994 and 2001 (I think the bottle was bought between 2002 and 2006), I think that it's been distilled in the early 90s, maybe it's also a bit older that 15 years.... who knows. Now again the question: which one's better. Honestly both were very close in the beginning, especially in the nose.The new one gets some "points" due to the Chateau Yquem cask finish, but the sherry aromas of the old one are great too... after approx. 20 minutes in the glass... just with a little rest in both glasses.... the old bottling was still present while the new one was gone.

Update for the comparison of the two 15yo. bottlings: I made the same comparison a few days later at home but let both glasses rest for at least 15 to 20 minutes. The old one developed an overwhelming Sherry sweetness which was cladding the mouth, the fruity notes and the sweetness of the Chateau Yquem finish have been faded away a little bit and it was missing some body. Within this test the older one was the obvious winner with much more body and complexitiy...

During this tasting (of whiskys I knew beside the old 15yo.) I enjoyed an old Upmann No. 2 from 1996, a perfect choice which went very well with those Single Malts.

Steak tartare as a starter

Veal liver and hashbrowns

Chocolate cake

Some old Laddie and a Upmann No. 2 from 1996

After a short night I woke up and saw a lot of fog outside but a quick look on the webcam of the destination of the day showed me that there's to be no worries... it's sure that we would get a great and sunny day. We arrived at the Restaurant (and viewpoint) Hoher Hirschberg with the sun shining from the blue sky and some thick clouds below us in the valleys. Just on an altitude of approx. 1'100 m it was high enough to escape the grey tristesse...

A few people arrived already there during their hiking tour and I was sure that it would fill even more later. Time to fire up another cigar... I started with an outstand El Rey del Mundo Grandes de Espana from 1995... a damn shame that this cigar has been discontinued years ago...

Fantastic morning smoke

In preparation for the planned evening in the Casino Bregenz we decided for a small lunch but later on we couldn't resist the tempting plum strudel with cinnamon icecream... of course we'd some more cigars... a SLR Double Corona from 1998 outta the 50ct cabinet, a Romeo y Julieta Cazadores from 1996, Partagas Coronas, Ramon Allones Superiores, Partagas Seleccion Privada EL 2014... just to name a few of those fantastic smokes...

Luckily my fellow smokers brought some sun protection with them (I didn't need some because I still had a good teint from my Florida vacation), at the end of the day they're really happy about it as it helped them not to look like some of us 2 years ago when we'd been on the Saentis.

In the late afternoon we went back to the hotel for a quick shower, all day long smoking in the sun is really exhausting...

Ruminating cow in front of the Saentis

A small lunch

SLR Double Corona from 1998

Plum strudel with cinnamon icecream

We changed clothes, put on the business shoes, shirt and jacket and moved to the Casino Bregenz. There we'd a fantastic four course dinner before we enjoyed an after dinner cigar. Based on the fact that cameras are not allowed in the casino I left it at home and just a few snapshots with my cell phone cam, sorry for the low quality of those...

Best of tuna, scallop and wild salmon "roasted, baked and pickled"

Angus beef consommé with crepe roulade, mushroom-royal, Madeira and parsley

Duo of veal served with pumpkin, mushrooms, potato and parsley

Traditional Crème Brûlée with plum variations

Fonseca Hermosos No. 4 - I wrote a tasting report about this ago earlier here on the blog, it's a disappointing smoke. The more I was surprised when I smoked it again. Full of flavor and a very interesting development during the smoking time... unbelievable that this cigar improved in that way, it made me thinking of buying one of those boxes which are still floating around.

Fonseca Hermosos No. 4, RE Benelux 2010

Later on we gambled a little bit with the jetons which're included in the "Dinner and Casino" ticket but we didn't crack any jackpot... another cigar or two were smoked and we drove back in early hours of Sunday morning.

Due to the heavy traffic on Friday which's to be expected for Sunday too, we canceled the originally planned brunch for Sunday morning. Finally it's a good decision, there were a lot of traffic jams for the guys driving home to Germany and they got worse during the day.

A great weekend, thx for coming guys, it was a pleasure to spend those two days with you....