Iwai Tradition – quick whisky review 

Had a chance to try this at Highland Cogar Company last Sunday – it was outside of the tasting I’ll post notes on soon. 

Just a shot but I found the Japanese once again reminded me that they know a thing or two about producing good whisky. 

The Iwai Tradition started off with sweet notes and light peat. Golden in color, it had a medium finish that almost reminded me of sherry cask finished whiskies. 

Wine Review: Chateau Vircoulon 2011 Bordeaux

 Chateau Vircoulon 2011 Bordeaux
Chateau Vircoulon 2011 Bordeaux

Trying something a little different.  Now that this isn’t WP hosted, I can upload audio.  I apologize for the quality and the shitty short notes.  I’ll buy another bottle (oh damn) and do a more formal review.

 

Bourbon Review: 1792 Single Barrel for Decatur Package Store

Our weekly review includes this specialty barrel release of 1792.  I’ve had the original release and it was pretty tasty but man was it spicy as fuck.  
1792 Single Barrel DPS Bourbon
This limited release had the same attributes but since I began drinking bourbon, I’ve learned a few tricks about the hotter blends.  This was also, was spicy as fuck. Got an orange tint on the color with caramel notes on the nose.

I added whiskey rocks to it. That made a huge difference.  The rocks
were the ones that just cool the drink down.  I’ve found they’ve helped take away some of the intensity and heat without dulling the flavor of a whiskey.

DPS Single Barrel Bourbon
Letting the glass sit for a moment gave it room to breathe and finally cool down.  Now the sweetness comes out – light corn but mostly mellow caramel with a hint of vanilla on the end. Not a shooting bourbon, that’s for sure, unless you like burning your throat!

Cigar Spot in Birmingham, MI!

That’s right, you read that correctly.  A cigar bar, aptly named Churchills is located in downtown Birmingham, Michigan.  I don’t know the area very well, but I was out there yesterday for a speaking engagement and upon finishing, decided I’d find a local spot.

IMG_3620One of the women I had talked to had told me she knew a few spots, but this one was probably the one still opened at this hour.  It was after 10 PM when we were heading out.

After a short drive from my hotel, she dropped me off.  I walked in to this rather large space, sort of like Highland Cigar Company, but arranged more with tables and booths, rather than couches.  I have only the one photo of the place, as it was late and I was sleep deprived.

Huge leather chairs decorated the place, along with a sizeable walk in humidor.  It looks more or less like an Ashton sponsored cigar bar.  Decorated with Ashton artwork and ashtrays, a premium selection of Davidoff cigars, among others, the place carried a varied clientele, even at that late an hour.

I sat down and perused the extensive drink menu.  Settled on Founders IPA and a glass of bourbon to finish with while the staff cut and lit my cigar for me.

I was left in relative peace – fine for a newcomer in my current mental state, but for the waiter coming by to tend to my drinks.

Awesome spot overall.

Cigar Review – Nestor Miranda Danno One Life Edition

Nestor Miranda Danno – a Nicaraguan blend with a broadleaf wrapper and pig tail cap.   The cold draw produces flavors of light dark fruit with something mellow, maybe spice?  The wrapper looks a little rough, few IMG_3578veins.  Very dark chocolate color. 
The first few puffs start off with wood flavors-the dark fruit is definitely present along with muted spice. Not that power heavy stuff one gets from cigars from My Father factory.   In fact, I tasted plum on the initial few puffs.
Hints of leather appear along with a stronger sense of black pepper. This is just the first third. It actually paired well with the Laughing Skull beer (IPA) I had that night with it.
Starting the second third, the flavors give way to wood and the spice takes a back seat. The burn was slightly uneven.
The wood notes grow slightly in intensity. The smoke is cool. I was surprised at the construction.  If you’ve seen my rants on FB or twitter, you’ve seen that a number of cigars close to this size I’ve smoked have been duds, a disappointment considering they’re coming from some of my favorite makers.  Regular sizes (Toro, proper Churchill, etc) smoke just fine.
IMG_3579The final third is a mellow version of all the previous spices, chocolate and balanced bitters bonus the deep wood from earlier.  The burn line self corrected. Overall, a well made, tasty release with plenty of complexity from Nestor Miranda.

Cigar Review: Ava Maria George

Ava Maria George’s – starts off with leather and pepper followed by strong baking spice. The cigar has an even draw,producing gray clouds of smokeAva Maria. Around the end of the 1st third the coffee flavors pick up. I expect them to intensify along with the mellowness of the cigar.

The second third brings forth sweet coffee and wood nights, not quite cedar.

The spice returns on the final third – only more intense on the baking spice notes.
Interestingly enough, I found this while researching this cigar.
Ava Maria 2“I find it to be a cigar that has a wonderful strength. Because it’s not overpowering, but it’s not mild.”

– Manuel Quesada (Fonseca)  So that’s cool.  And Mr. Quesada is right.  It has a good strength that doesn’t overpower.  Usually for a cigar of this color leaf, I tend to avoid them, thinking there is way too much wood, but this cigar did not show that at all.  It held more balance in the end.
An even burn with plenty of smoke, gray ash and solid construction made it one I’ll want to have more of in my humidor.