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theScotchlife

Enjoying Scotch Whisky and a few other things

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Cigars

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!

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Now, onto the next one…..

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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!

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.

Cheers!

How to cut, light, and choose a cigar

Jack Rose Dining Saloon visit

You’ve heard it all before, “this is the best bar ever!” Well, I kept hearing hype from friends via Facebook that there was an incredible new bar opening in Washington DC. The funny thing is that they live in Chicago. Now if this was two old drinking buddies or acquaintances from a miserable trade show I would have discounted it but they are not that. They are well-known scotch aficionados and their words were well counted.

I came to Jack Rose on a mission of sorts, to find out if this place “lived up to the hype.” I picked a Friday afternoon to venture down Connecticut Avenue and hit a liquor store that had the last remaining (and only) bottle of 21 year Fine Oak Macallan. This was already a good start, if you can call dropping $200 on a bottle of scotch bliss. So Jack Rose had to deliver.

When you walk into the aged structure it just feels like a place you belong. Unpretentious yet structured and cleanly laid out. And then it happens, your eye gaze is taken up into a dizzying array of over 1000 bottles of whiskey. What was most complexing and almost unbelievable was the true amount of scotch. No, not airplane scotch or scotch you had at the bar last night. Rare scotch, unknown scotch and if you are a connoisseur of the single malt a smile fights its way up to erase the thought that you have walked into “another bar” that will disappoint. And yes, there is a heaping variety of Bourbon also and very fine select micro-brews on tap. Truth is, this place is growing daily in spirits. I believe they have surpassed the 1400 bottle mark.

I was quickly helped at the bar by polite and polished servers. I walked up and down the walls two, three times before I settled on a 17 year Bowmore. It was incredibly good. Fact is, I have found a bar that I could go to constantly and always get something new to drink. How many places are there like that? I’ve never seen one.

The food menu is well done also. I ended up there for quite a while talking with the owner and other scotch enthusiasts and ordered pretty much the whole “starter” menu. It was all outstanding.

If the downstairs isn’t enough, there is a wonderful upper level that has another bar and a grill that will serve you freshly cooked bar foods while you watch and mingle. This level also is going to sport a cigar humidor and because it is open air even the DC government will allow it. My conversation with the owner Bill Thomas was long and entertaining. Bill showed me the place and the “private” bar that will be used for those who want some privacy to drink their favorite drams while the rest of the place is caught up in the din of a busy night of revelry. Bill was kind enough to share several rare drams with me and a few others and we spent a substantial amount of time with his good friend Harvey Fry who is nothing less than a sage of scotch. I do think this man has forgotten more, if that is possible, about scotch that I will probably ever know.

So really, for me, it’s hard to get excited about a bar anymore. Jack Rose has changed that, permanently. I have to say, this is the best bar ever! And you will find me there on occasion, you can count on it.

Jack Rose Dining Saloon
2007 18th Street Northwest, Washington D.C., District of Columbia 20009 (202) 588-7388 ‎

 

Here are a few of the whisky’s I had.

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The Double Headed Monster video review

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!

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!

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