It was a sunny afternoon in Melbourne and the thought of smoke whet my appetite for a stogie. A few worthy contenders sat in my humidor. I closed my eyes, opened my humidor, and plucked out a cigar. In my hand was a stick of expertly rolled Nicaraguan tobacco – a maduro Padron 1964 Anniversary Series. Continue reading “Padron 1964 Anniversary Series (maduro)”
Springbank 15 year old is single malt Scotch whisky that is aged in ex-sherry casks for at least 15 years, before being bottled at 46% alcohol by volume.
David Allan of the Springbank distillery says that Springbank 15 year old is matured in ‘ex oloroso sherry casks …which come from Miguel Martin in Jerez, Spain’. Despite the casks being from Spain, Allan clarifies that ‘a lot of wood used for sherry casks is actually American oak’. Continue reading “Springbank 15 year old”
Malt Mileage Rating: ★★★★★
Origin: Dominican Republic
Malt Mileage Rating: ★★★★★
Origin: Dominican Republic
Recommendation: Buy it
The Ashton Virgin Sun Grown (VSG) line is blended by Carlos Fuente Jr using Dominican tobacco which has been aged 4 to 5 years. The wrapper tobacco, grown on a private estate in Ecuador, is said to heavily contribute to the flavour profile of the cigars in the line. Taken from the higher primings of the tobacco plant, the theory is that the leaf matures slowly as sunlight is filtered through the layer of cloud which commonly covers the land.
The flavour of this cigar is robust and intense with heavy notes of splintered cedar, muddied bark, resinous wood and earthiness, sediment rich Turkish coffee, roasted coffee beans, the darkest chocolate, potent dried oregano, dried whole walnuts, and, a bitter chicory finish. Soapy suds form on the back palate, joined by mild floral notes. A sweetness balances the quite earthy and woody flavour journey, from first puff to last. This is a balanced and full flavoued cigar with a slightly oily touch to the lips. Spectacular.
Try it with a peaty malt, such as Ardbeg 10 year old or Perpetuum.
A must buy for any cigar aficionado! Full marks.
|Name:||Punch Petit Coronations|
|Cigar details:||Punch Petit Coronations are handmade Cuban cigars that are 5 inches in length and rolled to have a ring gauge of 42. This may feel quite thin between the lips if a normal size cigar is your normal smoke of choice, but make no mistake this little package – as its name suggests – packs quite the Cuban punch.|
|Flavours:||Wood, wood, glorious wood! From the first puff the taste of wood and cedar dominates this cigar, accompanied by pepper, hints of bonfire, cocoa, bark, earth, dried muddy twigs, olive pips, and wood vanilla. The wrapper underpins the sprightly bite of spice infused tobacco smoke, to make for a stick that certainly punches above its weight. Do not underestimate this little fella, but do not expect much complexity either.|
|Match with:||There are few things in this world as delightful as a good Cuban cigar paired alongside the right peaty whisky. Talisker Port Ruighe complimented the Punch Petit Coronations with impeccable form – the wood and spice from the cigar was amplified by the peat and port cask finish in the whisky.|
Buy it, if you want a smooth and easy smoking cigar with heavy wood notes and some earthiness. Though very enjoyable, there did not seem to be much depth or complexity to this cigar. It was simply – and I mean simply – a pleasure to smoke. Simple, smooth and flavoursome.
Type: Single malt whisky
Origin: Highlands, Scotland
Overall reaction: 😀
Glenmorangie Companta is said to be inspired by the travels of Dr Bill Lumden, Master Distiller of Glenmorangie and Ardbeg, through the vineyards of France and the friends he met along the way. Suitably called “Companta” (which is Scots Gaelic for “friendship”), this whisky is matured in American oak casks then extra matured in Grand Cru casks from Clos de Tart and fortified wine casks from Côtes du Rhône. This extra maturation in these ex-French wine casks, as the below tasting notes indicate, seems to give the whisky an oaky and spicy kick that is softened by layers cooked fruit, berry jam and cherry rocky road.
The American oak, radiating with vanilla and coconut, beams through textured layers of cranberry, cashews, hay, honey, chocolate, port glazed dates and cherry ripe. While sweet, the bouquet also offers gusts of drying wine and occasionally notes of fruit cake and pear salad with red wine vinegar emerge.
The bite of wood and sharp winy notes is softened by cherry and rose rocky road, caramel and mixed berry jam, and in the backdrop sits a creaminess interwoven with citrus marmalade. Then comes the spice – mostly rigid and peppery – with varying shades of oak and the curious occasional snaps of bitter flowers.
The finish offers an electric foray of spice, amidst berry compote, guava and wood. As the spice dies the finish remains warming, and the alcohol fumes off the tongue with mild herbal undertones.
Buy it, if you want to explore the flavours that can be infused into American oak matured whisky by additional maturation in ex-French wine Grand Cru casks from Clos de Tart and fortified wine casks from Côtes du Rhône. The whisky ignites the palate with spice, berry jam and cherry rocky road in particular, but this complex little number always has a pleasant surprise up her sleeve – a very interesting and tasty dram, highly recommended.
After trying this whisky over some Ben & Jerry’s cookie dough ice cream, the sight of the Glenmorangie symbol now makes me salivate on cue like one of Pavlov’s dogs. Try Glenmorangie Companta with a good quality ice cream packed with cookie, nuts or fruit. This whisky also paired nicely with a number of medium strength cigars that offer some spice and wood, along with chicory bitterness – try it with Romeo y Julieta Wide Churchills Cubans or La Gloria Cubana Dominicans.
|Name:||Romeo y Julieta Wide Churchill (Cuba)|
|Cigar info:||The Romeo y Julieta Wide Chuchill is a stubby 13 centimeter long cigar with a 55 ring gauge so you can expect some complex, intense and sharp flavours to leap out of this rolled bunch of tobacco. Romeo y Julieta are perhaps one of the world’s most well-known Cuban cigar brands, with a “house” flavour commonly associated with wood and cedar. The Wide Churchill is an addition to the Romeo y Julieta family that seems to play on the wide ring gauge to differentiate itself from the rest of the familia. As the below tasting notes show, you can expect an interesting flavour packed experience with this cigar that surpasses what you might have tried in a Romeo y Julieta No 1, No 2 or No 3. This is a cigar for the serious cigar aficionado, not just the fellas who might puff a cigar once in a blue moon or for something to do on a bucks night.|
|Flavours:||There is no mistake that this cigar is a Romeo y Julieta. With each puff the taste of wood and cedar dominates, and then fades into a spicy finish full of black pepper, cocoa, espresso and the bitter bite of chicory and rocket. With each puff memories of my grandfather’s Italian salad came to mind, which was made from more bitter and woody salads than you can poke a stick at and drizzled in olive oil. As the cigar progresses it becomes more intense and flavour packed, with notes of black Spanish olives, burning wood, burnt herb bread, oregano, charcoal, ash and more of the wrapper on the finish. Overall, this is a solid and rounded smoke of medium strength that maintains a consistent woody profile beneath some interesting fireworks of flavour.|
|Match with:||This cigar paired nicely with a fine sipping rum that had enough age and oak influence to accentuate the woody style of Romeo y Julieta, but at the same time cut through the tobacco smoke and dance in tandem with the spices. Try it with Pusser’s 15 year old, Appleton Estate 21 year old or Havana Club Seleccion de Maestros. This cigar would also pair nicely with a peaty malt, such as a Bowmore with its undertones of peppermint.|
Buy it, if you are after a solid and balanced cigar with rounded flavours that are emblematic of Romeo y Julieta cigars but also push the boundaries with more kick, spice and complexity than the standard range of the Romeo y Julieta family. This cigar may not blow your head off with flavour, but it was an easy smoking bundle of Cuban joy.
|Name:||La Gloria Cubana|
|Cigar info:||Almost a decade after Senator Ernesto Perez-Carrillo fled Cuba in 1959 he rekindled a bit of his homeland in Miami’s Little Havana in 1968, when he began to make La Gloria Cubana cigars. Needless to say, it seems they were a hit and production of these cigars continues to this very day in both Miami and the Dominican Republic.
La Gloria Cubana contains long filler tobacco from Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Nicaragua, which means that this 7 inch Churchill is a bunch of long full leaves all lovingly rolled together and wrapped in a dark Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper – that bad boy, as you will see from our tasting notes, is responsible for much of this cigar’s flavour. The ring gauge is a standard of 50.
|Flavours:||The dark Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper clings against my lips, coating it with an oily film and a sour taste that is pleasant and offers hues of woodiness. Dark chocolate and unsweetened espresso accompany the oiliness, with notes of mild campfire, charred twigs and a bitter finish of chicory infused within the tobacco smoke. Mid-way the cigar becomes fuller, gaining soapy notes for a few puffs which then recede and are taken over by a consistent woodiness and earthy sourness – that chicory bitterness remains, though the chicory is wilder and reddened with an intensified sourness while a puckering red wine cask finish reminds me of the woody dimension of some Pinot Noir wines. The filler tobacco seemed to balance out the bitterness and sourness of the wrapper, to create an enjoyable and imminently puff-able cigar. This is an elegant cigar that is mostly consistent throughout, though the sourness intensifies towards the end. Excellent.|
|Match with:||This cigar pairs nicely with a soft red wine, such as a light Pinot Noir, or a wine cask finish whisky – try it with Glenmorangie Companta or Benromach Sassicaia.|
Buy it, if you are after a balanced cigar with a bitter chicory finish and shades of earthy woodiness that showcase the flavours of a lovely Ecuadorian Sumatran wrapper. These wrappers can sometimes be quite sour or bitter and thus overbearing on the palate, but La Gloria Cubana seem to have selected a wrapper that integrates nicely with the filler tobacco but which holds its own and becomes prominent on the finish. Superb.
*Thank you to cigarscity.com for the stick!
|Name:||Nub 464 Cameroon Torpedo Cigar|
|Cigar info:||The Nub 464 Cameroon Torpedo Cigar is handmade using a Nicaraguan binder and filler, and, a wrapper from Cameroon. The tobacco that is grown in Cameroon, and subsequently used as cigar wrappers, is the Sumatran black tobacco plant which was introduced into the African nation after World War II.
The idea behind the Nub cigar, and the reason it is so short at 4 inches, is because it is designed to give a smoker the “sweet spot” taste of a cigar from the first puff, a point which typically occurs an inch of so into a full sized cigar. With its fairly wide ring gauge the cigar delivers a cool smoke with lots of complex flavour, rather than the hot draw that is commonly experienced as some cigars near their end. Be sure to cut this cigar conservatively and not shave too much off at first, and adjust as needed. It smokes just as long as most regular sized cigars, despite its size.
|Flavours:||After experiencing 42°C heat in Melbourne, the city went cold – people had exchanged their shorts and thongs (what we call flip flops, sorry to erase any erotic images from any American minds) for jackets and jeans. With my belly full of ribs from TGI Friday’s and the weather being suitably cold for a warming cigar, I had an urge to toast a cigar. I plucked a Nub cigar from my humidor, got the dog on a lead, and off I went to enjoy a beautiful Melbourne night. So there I was walking along Melbourne’s SouthBank puffing away my Nub cigar, walking a tiny Chihuahua and taking meticulous tasting notes on my smart phone.
With the first few puffs, very little harshness was noticeable. It was almost as though I was smoking a block of 99% Lindt dark chocolate – cocoa, buttery cereal notes and the darkest espresso coffee hit my palate. Each draw produced a faint flicker of bonfire, which quickly faded into that 99% cocoa dark chocolate flavour profile which lingered on the palate for a few minutes. The cocoa was entangled with buttered burnt toast, and with each draw the cigar’s flavour profile became more and more interesting with an increasingly grassy and earthy theme. The taste of fresh coriander stalks bundled with bunched parley and mild spice soon became interlaced with the cocoa, then came poppy seeds in bursts together with alfalfa, snow pea sprouts and seeds, and, the distant taste of bitter orange with dried citrus peel. The finish also became more complex, and together with the cocoa were notes of twig, mild campfire and the curious aftertaste of a whipped cream éclair with the flavour but not sweetness of a banana lolly/candy. Gin came to mind as I reached the end of the cigar, with its botanicals.
The Nub was a very enjoyable cigar with prominent notes of cocoa, coffee, wood, mild earthy herbs, spice and a soft creaminess. Delicious.
Having my second Nub cigar, the flavours were very consistent as the first though I could detect more fennel at first, then earthy espresso, bark, nutmeg and bay-leaf, rosemary, charcoal, sweet paprika, white ash, pencil shavings and sooty overtones. Overall it was enjoyable, elegant and very complex. The bite of rocket leaf and a somewhat meaty/ savoury flavour also became more noticeable. This is a seriously complex cigar.
|Match with:||The Nub would pair nicely with a variety of spirits, whether peated whisky or gin. It seems like a versatile cigar with a flavour profile that would accentuate a number of drinks, including a coffee with a nip of cream liqueur, a Navy style rum rich in coffee and brown sugar notes, any number of peated whiskies that do not have overbearing maritime notes or a good quality sipping gin, whether William McHenry & Sons London Dry Gin, Bulldog Gin, Hendrick’s or if you’re game, a gin martini with an olive or lime twist. My pick of the lot for this cigar would be to pair it with a gin martini, or a peated malt.|
Buy it, if you want to try the delights of a Cameroon wrapper and you enjoy a cigar that offers big chocolate and coffee notes with undertones of wood and a complex tapestry of earthiness. It is a cigar rich in flavour, but easy to smoke.
*Thank you to cigarscity.com for the stick!