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Enjoying Scotch Whisky and a few other things

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Cigars

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!

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The Double Headed Monster video review

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!

The Dalmore 12 year and Alec Bradley Harvest Habano

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The other night I grabbed a healthy dram of Dalmore 12yr as opposed to the Gran Reserva (Cigar Malt) that I usually drink and headed downstairs with a Cohiba Puro Dominicana to spend some time talking to a neighbor. I have spent so much of my Dalmore focus on the Gran Reserva that I have not thought about the 12 year as much. While having a great conversation I started to realize how very polished and good the 12 year is and how well it was pairing with this Cohiba.

Tonight I poured another dram or two of the 12yr and headed downstairs with an Alec Bradley Harvest Habano to enjoy. The Dalmore 12 yr offering is so refined and a bit more elegant than the Gran Reserva in color and palate. The jammy fruit of the Gran Reserva is a bit more reserved in the 12 year and doesn’t linger or demand as much of your attention. The 12yr is a really good sipping whisky and I truly do consider it on equal footing as the Gran Reserva and probably a bit more crowd pleasing. Again, I do drink whisky neat unless it is overly high in ABV and then cut it with pure water.

The cigar, AB’s Harvest Habano really scored with me tonight. This cigar impressed me unlike others have in awhile. Its like a fine peace of leather that you want more of. It has a balanced and pleasant smell and the smoke is not offensive. The flavors are subtle but pleasing and it is definitely a cigar that I smoked down to the nub. This is a cigar I will smoke again, because I do have another one, and would jump at a box if given a good deal. You won’t be disappointed.

Gurkha Assassin smoke note

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Tried out an Assassin today while doing yard work and was really not surprised at how well I liked it. I’m guessing this is a competitor to the NUB series yet in true Gurkha fashion it seems more rounded and of course more expensive.  It has a large ring gauge and smokes like a wind tunnel. Large smoke, they should call it the smoke bomb. I have to say the CainF 464 delivered more flavor though. I will probably buy this again though.

WARLOCK Cigar and Fighting Cock Bourbon – More about good craftsmanship than angst.

Tonight, on the day the world celebrated the demise of the world’s most hated man since Hitler, I tried out a cigar and a bourbon with very masculine and brash names. The Cigar was a sample that I had received months ago at the Cigar Africinado smoke event in New York, Warlock. The bourbon was a miniature of Heaven Hill’s Fighting Cock.

I do admire good marketing, to me this is a bit over the top but it defintitely gets your attention. Now tasting a whiskey that refers to an angry rooster is reason enough for me to think that this product may be a bit rough. I was surprised. Not only is this a pretty nice bourbon but I think its more dignified than the name. It delivers a classic bourbon palate that almost, especially with a bit of water added, becomes creamy. I have to admit, this may find a place in my cabinet one day and would not hesitate to recommend it. Bottom line, if you find the marketing a bit silly, I understand, but it is a good bourbon.

I kind of wonder if Charlie smokes Warlock cigars? He obviously is a cigarette smoker but I think he would be much more dignified smoking a Warlock cigar. And like the fighting cock, the bourbon not Charlie, this also was a silly named cigar that turned out to be very nice. I was surprised at how smooth and tasty this cigar was. It was very smooth to me and delivered a consistent taste and burn. The blend of Nicaraguan and Dominican leafs to me are a winning combination and the Ecuadorian Cubano wrapper is a perfect wrap. The draw was a bit restrictive but not annoying. I recently had a cigar, memory blank right now, that was lauded as a great cigar but its overly restrictive draw turned me completely off.

So I don’t know what’s up with the overly machismo marketing but don’t let it turn you off of these two products, I think I’d classify them both as smooth and more docile than angry.

La Flor Dominicana Ligero L500 notes #cigars

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Smoked a LFD L500 last night and was left begging for more. It is a ligero leaf series cigar and is in the Cabinet collection.  The L500 is a large oily cigar that has a wonderfully complex and rounded taste. I seriously enjoyed this cigar with some Famous Grouse whisky and thought that if I could make a cigar this is very close to what I would strive for! I am very surprised to find many who do not think this cigar is exceptional. It will become a permanent resident of my humidor and join favorite status which has been extended to the Cain F and the  Cortez of late.

The Edinburgh Malt – Glenkinchie 12 yr notes w/Diamond Crown Cigar

Edinburgh, one of those towns in Scotland that is on the must see list and now a must see distillery, Glenkinchie. Of all of the regions of scotch that I have tasted whisky from, the Lowlands, is the one I have the least amount of experience with. The lowlands do not produce the major stars in scotch whisky today, yet produce some lighter, sweeter whisky. In fact, there are only a couple of working distilleries (Auchenotoshan being the other) with some possibilities of a future operation. Rosebank is a collectible but no longer existing distillery of the Lowlands.

Not knowing what to expect of this whisky I approached it with high curiosity. After a few tastes I was intrigued and pleased. I really enjoy the fact that this whisky had a complete different side to it. I also noted some light tobacco coming through the finish which spurred me to go to the humidor and grab the lightest, smoothest cigar I had. I pulled out a Diamond Crown, Connecticuit wrapper. Hardly a cheap cigar. Yet I thought of what I had, it was the best match.

The Glenkinchie is light, grassy and soft, slightly rubbery on the palate. It has a noteable finish, staying on top of the tongue with some pep that is not annoying or heavy. There is no bitterness in it at all. I find a bit of saltiness on the finish after drinking it for awhile.

As far as being paired with the Diamond Crown, I wasn’t as pleased as I thought I would be. The DC did its job, smoked wonderfully and is one of my favorite cigars. It was not an adversarial meeting of the two, but there was no magic. The next day I tasted the Glenkinchie and did not have a cigar. I found this better. I think this makes a good sippin whisky. I would enjoy this whisky with some good dry cheese or fruit. Its a good dram. I might also recommend this with seafood, boiled shrimp especially.

Cheers!

Cortez Natural Maduro

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This is an amazing boutique cigar that I picked up recently. This cigar smokes like a premium cigar but at everyday prices. There is not a lot of information on these cigars yet in way of reviews buy I must say it is about as pleasing as you can hope for. It is a well mannered medium to full cigar that delivers complex flavors from the first light. I smoked this with a Dalwhinnie 15 and they did not interfere with each other. This smoke is well made. The presentation is perfect. You can find them online at http://www.cortezcigars.com

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