Enjoying Scotch Whisky and a few other things


September 2011

Ruination – Man O’ War Double Headed Cigar

Angelenos Robusto and Kristoff Kristania cigar smoke notes

A week on the road led to me discovering two new and noteworthy medium bodied cigars. The first one I received in a monthly sampler/shipment, Angelenos by God of Fire, and the other the new Kristoff Kristania.

Now I’m much more of a medium to mild cigar guy and I do enjoy many full bodies ones when done correctly. This cigar has star-power! It absolutely hit my palate like Angelina Jolie would walking into the room. This cigar is produced by God of Fire at the Arturo Fuente factory in the Dominican Republic and they have got to have some secrets up their sleeves. I for one don’t expect much from a medium cigar other than some pleasant burning properties and possibly some nice spice or cedar flavor. From first light this cigar was the equivalent of opening a can of Cocoa. The spice and sweetness simply overwhelmed me and I really was in a special place in the first puffs of this cigar. I tend to smoke a cigar twice before I speak about it but I had to put this in writing and will definitely hold the second one I have for a special occasion when no one has the ability to bother me.

This one is a robusto measuring 5.25″ and a ring measurement of 50. The notes that came along with it describes it as a high-end, super-premium cigar and I believe them. The filler is Dominican and the wrapper is an Ecuadorian Connecticut leaf. The construction of this cigar is beautiful and I only ashed this cigar twice! This is simply an elegant and satisfying smoke, I highly recommend this one!


Now, onto the next one…..


I have been a fan of Kristoff cigars and when I heard they were releasing some new ones I just had to try them, regardless of the strength.

My reward was stopping by Havana Connections and procuring a handful of cigars, two of which are the new Kristoff offerings. The Kristoff kristania found itself my chew-toy through a blinding rain storm in Virginia and after an hour or so when the rain stopped and my tank ran near empty I decided the light rainfall and receding clouds would not stop me from firing this one up. I believe you can tell a lot, yet not everything about the taste of a cigar by gnawing on it for awhile. The cigar itself is delicious looking and reminds me of a well worn baseball glove. It also strikes me as tasting like fine leather. Its a rather large ring gauge at 60 and 5.5″ in length.

After firing it up it made itself clear, I am a smooth smoking no-nonsense cigar. It is a supremely balanced cigar and does not deliver any flavor like the Angelenos but this is an affordable cigar that simply delivers. You could smoke this cigar almost anytime of day and it will more than please the mild to medium smoker. I really enjoyed this cigar and will probably, or just will find it again. I have the other new Corojo limited and will probably comment on it in the future. I really am a fan of Kristoff and you should try them out.

Until next time! Smoke ’em if you got em!

Glenfiddich 12 year Single Malt Scotch Whisky notes


All hail the King of Scotch? Well, if you go by distribution, and I mean worldwide distribution then this may as well be the King.

The Glenfiddich is a very old distillery and I do have one friend who will drink nothing but Glenfiddich 18 which is a very nice dram indeed. But this is the 12 year and as  you can see, the special Glencairn tasting set offering that is in distribution as of this writing.

The set is very nice, it comes with a whisky diary that is has a calendar in it and a few pages in which you can review/rate each whisky you taste. It also comes with a Glencairn glass which is the glass I use most often when tasting if I am not using a tulip nosing glass.

This Glenfiddich 12 is a very nice, gentle scotch whisky that in my book would be a good first scotch to try. I have said that before about The Glenlevit and a few others and I will add this to a “must try” for the novice scotch drinker.

This is a single malt scotch whisky that has spent 12 years in an European as well as an American Oak cask. The result is a very soft and fruity whisky that has the distinct flavor of pears. The nose is not overly telling and I’m not sure how much time it spent in an Oloroso Sherry cask but I do not think of long. The ABV content is 40% and the finish is pleasant and even. Using the “grading scale” that is on the pages, I rated it a 8.5 on the nose (which in retrospect may be generous), a 6 on taste and a 5 on finish. The points are out of a possible 10. This is a nice everyday drinking scotch and many occasional drinkers would be more than pleased with this one. However, if you prefer a Macallan 12 as a daily drinker this one will come up short.

The set is nice and I always like to pick up a Glencairn glass when I can. This was offered as a special in my area and if you come across it you may want to check it out.



Dalmore 14 year Single Cask tasting

There is a certain pain being a scotch enthusiast in America. That being that there is a massive body of water in between the distilleries in Scotland and our taste buds being parked in North America. Yet a few retailers have seen fit to ship products over to us and for this, I am thankful!

So my most recent order from Master of Malt held a few goodies that I wanted to try and one bottle of Edradour that a retailer in California had but by law could not ship to the Commonwealth of Virginia. WTF! So I’m not going to get into a rant about the idiotic laws between the States in America and their agreements to sale or not to each other, but in times when we need all of the money to change hands in this country to support jobs, I’m just at a loss. And so is a shop in California.

So two of the small 3cl bottles I ordered contained something very unusual. An actual Dalmore single cask tasting. If you enjoy the Dalmore, as I do, you are used to the usual complex offering that Richard Paterson assembles with single malts in various casks to achieve a unique offering. These offerings are very nice and win awards, but they do not market a single cask to my knowledge. So seeing this 14 year aged product distilled in 1996 was a must try, and it has left me begging for, a full bottle!

I drank the first one about a week ago and was so impressed with its freshness and difference compared to other Dalmore offerings. You immediately notice that this does not have a sherry nose or color. The nose was light and if I was unaware of what I was about to drink I would guess a Speyside offering. The ABV is 55.5% which is quite a bit higher alcohol content than what Dalmore’s typical offerings are at. This was not lost on me when I took the first sip! It’s like a rose garden exploding in your mouth! But like Dalmore offerings quietly leaves a great mouthfeel and actually left me begging for more.

I do taste a lot more than I write about, pesky day job and all keeps me down, but I had to make note of this one! I would encourage you to try out the Master of Malt offerings, it’s the only way to get unique offerings on this side of the Pond (known officially as the Atlantic Ocean) and I loved tasting this “naked” Dalmore offering.


Crillio Trio, so what gives about a Crillio Cigar?

Alec Bradley Tempus Terra Novo Natural (5 x 50)
Kristoff Criollo Robusto Natural (5 1/2 x 54)
Perdomo 10th Criollo Robusto Natural (5 x 54)

So recently I was perusing a catalog for an on-line retailer and noticed a sampler pack for a Crillio cigars. I knew I had smoked some with the title but wasn’t exactly sure what it meant. A quick Google search revealed that it was a type of tobacco leaf originally used in Cuba, surprise, and has evolved into a mold resistant leaf. You can find some good information on-line about the leaf but the important thing is it delivers a slightly different flavor than other leafs.

So being intrigued, I bought a sampler, the sampler had two of each of the above cigars so I smoked the first set after letting them sit in the humidor for a couple of weeks. This told me enough, taste wise, that I do like this leaf and combination of fillers that each manufacturer had used though two of them are better than the other.

I have smoked Tempus before and noted somewhere that I really enjoyed it. The Kristoff cigar I had discovered a couple of years ago and really enjoyed their product and presentation so I was excited about trying their crillio cigar. As far as Perdomo, I have had some that I liked and some that i wasn’t so crazy about, that holds true in this selection.

The Kristoff was excellent, though I don’t have any notes jotted down about it, i do remember it being a smooth, tasty cigar that I thoroughly enjoyed, which has been most of my experience with Kristoff cigars. The Tempus I smoked while backstage at a concert with my oldest friend Shawn Mullins after he opened for Judy Collins at Wolftrap Amphitheater in Vienna, VA. Being I do not get to see Shawn often these days it was a special time and for me and the Tempus delivered.

And then, the Perdomo….. The Perdomo starts with a wonderful spice right off the light, then mellows, and then somewhere near the middle, gets, nasty…. well, not entirely nasty but not agreeable to my taste. Then, after your trying to figure out, what the hell does it mean, it mellows out and becomes a very enjoyable smoke. Confused, me too! But it happened with both cigars which leads me to wonder what happened. Was it a transition of leafs? I have no idea, and hopefully one day I will understand what it all means.

So as far as recommending, I would unhesitatingly recommend the Kristoff and Alec Bradley Tempus, but be aware of the Perdomo as having a “spot” of confusion. Maybe a different sized such as a Toro or Churchill would have a better result? Not sure if I will spend my dollars to figure it out.

And as a side, these are cigars I could recommend having a dram of scotch with. They are not overpowering and as long as you are sipping a highland, speyside, or lighter scotch you should be fine. I would be careful around a peaty scotch because I think the taste of the cigar would not overcome the peat.


How to cut, light, and choose a cigar

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