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theScotchlife

Enjoying Scotch Whisky and a few other things

Month

July 2011

San Cristobal Elegancia cigar smoke notes.

I got this from the cigar rep while I was in a cigar store in Burke,VA recently. It’s a mild smoke that I would probably never purchase because I prefer bolder cigars. I wanted to write about it though because it is actually a nice smoke! I smoked it before anything else to get the flavors and only drank water. It has a nice tobacco flavor and I think would be a fantastic morning smoke. It would also be good company on the golf course. It’s a new cigar so you may have to search for it but if you prefer mild cigars you will probably enjoy it!

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Hogs Head Blended Malt Scotch Whisky

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So I’d heard that a lot of scotch was finished in a “hogs head” cask from Scotland and in my curiosity to find out information about casks I started to search for this elusive Hogs Head. I had actually had a dram of it in Vegas at the Casa Fuente at Caesar’s. And that was the last I saw it once I got back to the DC area. Then recently on a trip through Georgetown I decided to walk around to the three liquor stores in the area and see what they were carrying. I stumbled upon a single bottle of the elusive Hogs Head whisky. It was priced fairly reasonable, I’m sure its a lot cheaper at home, but wasn’t a bad deal.

The nose is a bit strong but a wonderful “pure” scotch aroma. You can tell you are about to have a flavor explosion on your tongue. As typical, I have my whisky neat and in a proper nosing glass since my experience at the Nth. It is a vatted or blended malt of several whisky’s from Islay and a bit from the Highlands. Its a smokey, peaty experience and is not meant for the faint of heart. I’ve read one review that a younger gentleman posted and he said it was the worst whisky he had ever tasted. He evidently has not had a lot of whisky. There are some that are really bad and I have yet to write them up for someone out there probably likes it. I’m very sensitive to saying a whisky sucks because jobs depend on it and my palate is not everyone else’s.

Anyhow, the Hogshead is something I pull out from time to time and I always enjoy it. It can handle any full body cigar and will bury a medium to mild cigar so choose carefully.

Good luck on finding it in America and if you happen to see it at a bar, or happen to be at Casa Fuente in Vegas please try a dram and tell me what you think!

Cheers!

Pinar Del Rio 1878 Capa Oscura smoke note

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A quick word about a relatively new release from Pinar del Rio. This is a new dominican product called 1878 Capa Oscura. It is a medium bodies cigar but looks like it would be much stronger! I picked it up in Georgetown I think, and that is the only place I’ve seen it in the DC area so far. I picked it up, along with others, at Signature Cigars off Wisconsin Avenue. Its a very nice shop by the way and one worth spending some time at!

Anyhow, the presentation is very nice, love the pig tail and the construction is very nice. It smokes very evenly and clean. Here is the kicker! It costs me like $6! It looks and smokes like an $8 cigar or better. I was hoping to smoke another one before I wrote this but at the rate of things I’m not making it back to Georgetown this week. So if you see this one, there is a maduro also that is pleasant as well with a black band, I would encourage you to try it. It is a great value smoke!

** Update, I actually bought these PDR’s at Havana Connections in Williamsburg, VA. Finally remembered!

Balvenie Signature tasting notes

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It is with much admiration I write anything about The Balvenie products and this is no different. You can go to their website and you will see their marketing about how they control the whole production of their product from grain to barrel and in a world where so much is borrowed or outsourced it is refreshing that someone in this day and age can control costs and still produce a fantastic authentic product.

The Balvenie Signature which is aged 12 years is an absolute hit. I actually had to travel to Georgetown, DC and purchase it because Virginia’s ABC doesn’t stock it. That means I had to only travel five miles from my office so it’s not like it was a hike. I also picked up a couple of expressions that ABC of VA doesn’t carry also and will talk about them soon.

But back to the Signature. As with all Balvenie products it comes down to Malt Master Dave Stewart to produce their fine expressions and he really hit this one right. A combination of single malt barrels from three different cask types brings it all together. You can call it blended if you like but I do prefer the vatted or married analogy when you are talking about mingling single malts. The nose is very nice and very Balvenie. I quite like the spice of it that is stronger than their Doublewood and the spirit hits the tongue like a grand dive of an Olympian. It lingers nicely and absolutely begs to be drank neat to me.

The only problem I’ve had is seeing the bottle deplete so quickly. Luckily we’re not talking about a $100 product, I think I paid somewhere in the $30-$40 dollar range and can’t wait to get another one.

As an aside, I’ve smoked a couple of cigars with it, tonight was a Park Avenue 44 which kind of got buried by the scotch and then an E.P.Carillo which paired much better.

So to clear it up, this is a great DD or daily drinker. I will buy this product again and will continue my trek through the Balvenie lines. I do have most of the 17 year products now and recently snagged one of the few remaining Islay Casks from the U.K. thanks to a good friend.

Word on the street is the Balvenie boys tour with the Morgan will be coming to the DC area in the near future and I’m really looking forward to it. You can find information on their website.

Until next time,

Cheers!

New Look to the blog…. Many posts to come, I’m wayyyyy behind!

I’ve been dragging my heels, well, more like my ass on getting new posts out. Call it laziness, or just life. Anyhow, I’ve smoked a LOT of cigars in the past month and have some news about that and have had a few drams of scotch and bourbon to talk about. On a much different note, I’ve some thoughts on what bars and restaurants are doing ALL wrong at their bars to attract lovers of fine spirits. Also, I’ve a few words about the liquor stores and cigar shops in Virginia and Washington DC.

I’m also curious to know what you are spending your hard-earned money on these days. I’m constantly looking for value in lower priced scotch and cigars and hope to open a dialogue maybe on my Facebook page The Scotch Life. Until then, which should be a matter of writing this weekend, enjoy life my friend!

John

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