Drinking our way through Italy

The Colosseum in Rome from our hotel

It was June 2018, and we had zigzagged our way around the cobble stone streets of Rome, the hilly Tuscan towns of Pienza and Montepulciano, the picturesque seaside village of Lacco Ameno in Ischia, the ruins of Pompeii, and, finally, the chaotic city of Naples.

Continue reading “Drinking our way through Italy”

Macanudo Estate Reserve Robusto (Dominican Republic)

Name: Macanudo Estate Reserve
Batch: 0290/1800 – 2014
Rating: ★★★★★
Origin: Dominican Republic
Cigar details: This cigar is handmade from Jamaican binder and filler tobacco and wrapped with a US Connecticut shade wrapper. The tobacco has been aged for at least 8-10 years.
Draw: Flawless
Burn: Flawless, with an even burn that did not extinguish even when the cigar was left alone.
Construction: Excellent
Consistency: Excellent
Flavours: This is an ultra-smooth cigar that errs to the milder side of a medium strength smoke. It can easily underwhelm an experienced smoker, but its subtle flavours are sublime for those who enjoy an elegant cigar with lots of nuances and complexity – find a foundation of cocoa, cappuccino, ground coffee, crushed nuts, vanilla and soft cream beneath the silken cedar infused tobacco smoke as it prickles the palate with hints of pepper.
Format: Robusto
Match with:

This is a very smooth cigar that can easily be dominated by some whiskies and spirits. The last thing you want with a cigar of this age and style is to lose its flavours to a tsunami of malt and oak. Try it with Glenmorangie Companta, Appleton Estate 21 year old rum, Glen Grant 10 year old or any Chivas Regal. This cigar also matches nicely with a mild espresso (try a Honduran single origin) or an iced coffee.

Padrón 1964 Anniversary Series (Nicaragua)

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Rating: ★★★★★

Draw: Exceptional

Burn: Exceptional

Construction: Superb

Consistency: Excellent

Flavours: The draw and initial flavours are woody with twigs and dry leaves, leather and a smoky note (think smoked meats) with a maduro rich finish, the slight bitterness of green olives and a mild oiliness. More roasted ground coffee, nuts and very dark chocolate evolves with each puff, with olive leaf undertones and dried oregano. This is an absolute classic cigar, one of the best burns and draws I’ve encountered in a cigar. Beautiful. I want a box of these. The tobacco has, apparently, been aged for four years and this is certainly noticeable in the complex yet smooth flavours offered by this box pressed cigar. Some tweezers might be advisable, because I found myself puffing it until it reached the width of my fingers!

Origin: Nicaragua

Format: Robusto

Match with: Savour with espresso and a teaspoon of raw sugar, ginger beer or a Spanish style rum (Havana Club Seleccion de Maestros immediately comes to mind) or a Navy style rum such as Pusser’s Blue Label. It also pairs particularly well with an old cognac, with rancio notes in the eucalyptus and umami spectrum (DEAU Louis Memory).

ACID Nasty (Nicaragua)

ACID NASTY

Score: 78/100

Draw: Excellent.

Burn: Excellent.

Construction: Poor, despite a careful cut the wrapper unraveled badly on one.

Consistency: OK.

Flavours: This is an intense oily cigar, offering notes of leather and thick medium-rich tobacco with bitter dried rose buds and tarry notes that matched the film of floral oils that lingered on the lips.  It did not however keep my interest and a quarter into the cigar I had lost my desire to keep smoking it – now that ain’t good! By no means is this a “nasty” cigar, but it left me underwhelmed in terms of its flavour profile despite its intensity.

Origin: Nicaragua

Format: Pyramid

Matched with: This cigar matched nicely with an espresso with a dash of Cognac and brown sugar, or some orange liqueur such as Cointreau. The brown sugar with brandy or citrus notes in the liqueur cut through the intense oily notes of the cigar, which complimented the bitter coffee lying beneath the sweetness.