While in Atlanta, I’ve been checking out Highland Cigar Company, usually going on Sundays. Last week, the 28th of June, the folks there hosted Simon Brooking, from Beam/Suntori and we tasted some nice Scotch Whiskies.
Simon’s a knowledgeable guy about both Whiskey and the history of many different brands, plus the wet past of Scotland. His tales were amusing, his toasts, heartwarming and jokes, well any good Scotsman would be proud. Plus, for once, I wasn’at the only one wearing a kilt at Highland 😉
Now, onto the juice.
Three different scotches paired well with the Antonius Robusto – a mild to medium bodied Dominican cigar that had been rolled and “forgotten
about” for about 8 years. The blend had more power than expected, but was mild enough that a novice smoker could enjoy it, along with it not balancing well with the whiskies. To be honest, I was shocked that the cigar paired so well with an Islay whiskey, but that’ll come up in my notes shortly.
The first whiskey was Auchentoshan 3 Wood. Matured in Bourbon, Oloroso Sherry and PX Sherry casks, this scotch had really refined flavors and a lovely finish with a pleasant finish. I found it balanced and it blended well with the Antonius, complimenting the wood notes of the cigar. This was a favorite at Highland, due to the lovely, sweet finish.
Next was the Bowmore 12 year. Listed as an Islay, I found this to be rather pleasant compared to what most folks think of when someone says Islay Scotch. The mild citrus notes came upon me at the end of the drink, along with mild peat and sea.
Last was the Laphroaig Select – a masterful blend of various scotches hand picked by a “select group” of tasters. This is honestly the lowest peated scotch they make. Peat has been a bone of contention for me for years, due to the effects it has on my stomach (I suppose I could drink less but where’s the fun in that? LOL!) But this whiskey shows reserve on the smokiness, adding more balance and less of that gasoline taste that tends to put drinkers of whiskey off. The finish of the Antonius went very well with just enough backbone and intensity to compliment the Laphroaig and not be overpowered.
Overall, the Antonius was a solid choice for this whiskey pairing. Balanced with wood notes, hints of spice and vanilla appeared on the palate. Firm in the fingers, the draw was delightful. A cold draw brought in flavors of cinnamon and baking spice. Construction was also solid, though I forgot to get pictures for the blog.
There were two other whiskies we’d tasted but sadly, my notes are not legible – typical of being a published romance novelist. They were both Laphroaig, however, and wonderful in their own right. I’d lit up a second cigar at this point.
Currently, Highland Cigar Company is doing tastings on Tuesdays throughout the summer.
For a different experience in Scotch Whiskey, see my notes about the Balvenie Masterclass held back in San Francisco a few years back.
Located in the heart of the Russian River Valley, operated by John and Barbara Philips. Grapes come from an eastern facing Hillside Vineyard just outside Healdsburg, CA.
My retarded ass got audio, but I didn’t get any video or photos, so you’re going to have to resort to stock photos for now. The pairing for this meal was actually buffalo steak with Cajun spice.
My preferences in Zins tend toward big, fruity powerhouse styles with meat laced pizza (no cheese!)
But right from the start, the nose is nice spice and pepper. Berry notes, along with an unidentifiable green substance, not sure what that is. But it’s present in the old world wines I tend to enjoy.
Taste – a really relaxed Zinfandel. Sweet cherry on the palate followed by a medium dry finish coating the mouth deliciously. Hints of terroir, with more balance than expected out of California wines as of late.
This was a stellar wine pick that I grabbed at Underground Cellar. You should check them out. I don’t get paid to endorse them, though hopefully that’s going to be a thing some day. Oh, I can dream…
You’d think I’d come back with this blog and make a bang by reviewing something totally different, right? I suppose we at Pure Indulgence like to stick with the classics, and this cigar is no exception.
My Tatuaje Red Tubo sat in my humidor for almost three years before I decided it was time to just smoke it and only because I’d just edited all day. I thought initially the cigar would have lost some flavor the way the SW Reserva had (had one in my humidor for two years and it just…it was good but not great but that might have been my fault) but I was wrong.
Let’s start with the basics of the cigar. From the get go, construction is top notch. Pete Johnson knows his craft well. Upon lighting the cigar, I picked up instant notes suggesting the cigar still had life in it as hints of sweetness wafted over my senses.
Following said excellent construction is the perfect draw which brought notes of spice that mellowed into a sweetness throughout the cigar. At one point I thought of a sweet bread. I know, odd for a cigar right? But I know a guy who swore he tasted Frankincense in the regular Tatuaje Red Label. Also, I usually pick up notes of cardamom in the Red Label.
Second third of the cigar still burns well, draws well and lets that sweetness dance across the palate until it gives way to subtle notes of pepper and spice followed by a woodsy, almost leathery taste.
The finish ended with the sweetness returning ever so slightly but to be honest, I was more concerned for my fingers as I’d literally smoked the entire cigar down to the last half inch.
If Pete makes more of this blend ever, I’d highly suggest you pick it up and Indulge.
It’s been several weeks since we have had an episode of Pure Indulgence on Radio Dentata and due to the latest server crash/hack attempt, shows got lost. Thankfully I had the master copies so once I figure out what’s what, we’ll be uploading and playing again. I think though in light of my normal workload we might go to a once a month format.
Maybe twice a month, who knows.
I wanted to update the readers of this blog though. On an upcoming show we DO discover one of the tenets to The Pure Indulgence lifestyle. So stick around to Radio Dentata for that announcement!
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First off, I have to state that this wine is an incredible one. The folks at Cornerstone Cellars did an outstanding job as usual. We’d had this bottle lying around for some time as a wine I picked up of theirs some time back seemed to be a little young, so I let this one sit for six months. Glad I did because the wine nose is very powerful, yet typical of Cabernet Sauvignon.
Lush and full with leathery thickness on the palate, this medium to full bodied wine hits like a freight train on the mouth. It’s delicious, starting off with spice and balance to compliment the leather notes and chewy mouthfeel.
First off I want to say I’ve been a scotch drinker for a very long time but the scotch we normally drink, made by William Grant is a great blended drink but it’s just that. For the price, it works for our household right now since we’re not living in extreme decadence *g*
However when an opportunity arises to not only experience a Pure Indulgence moment but to share it with the world, and for FREE, I say let’s take it! On the night of May 3rd, we were invited to a private tasting with about fifteen others at Le Colonial in San Francisco.
The restaurant itself is an older style building with a definite feel for exquisite food and clientele. Our private tasting was held upstairs by a man named Nicholas Pollachi, one of five Balvenie Ambassadors in the world who charmed us with humor, education and of course his Scottish accent. Sadly I didn’t get any video of this like I did with the Los Gatos Cigar Tasting. But here are my notes on five different releases:
First up: Balvenie 12 year Doublewood -Aged not once but twice. First in bourbon casks typical of how whisky is kept, and then a second aging occurs in more impressive oloros sherry casks giving the 12 year a slight sweetness. More often than not this is what I’m drinking at Occidental with my cigars.
Next: Balvenie 15 year single cask – This particular juice has hints of vanilla and oak from the Bourbon cask it was aged in. It’s a slightly dryer scotch with a nice finish and some floral notes on the nose.
The 14 year Carribean Cask -I had the privilege of tasting this at Occidental a few months back and was wowed. The nose had hints of things you’d normally associate with quality rum. A medium finish complimented the floral flavors on the nose and palate. Even better was the fact that this particular scotch is very easy to drink.
The Portwood 21 year – For fans of port, this particular offering has just the perfect nose, smells of porn infuse into the scotch from the barrels it was aged in. With an easy mouthfeel, this particular scotch is smooth with a floral back end on the palate with port-like notes and a light smokiness.
Lastly, we sampled the 17 year peated cask – This is for fans of the peated whiskies. The process used to achieve is rather unique in that it’s not a true peat malt offering . A good amount of smokiness followed by a soft nose, compliments this whiskey. This is a dryer style offering.
Overall, the tasting was fantastic and even better, Nicholas is a cigar smoker so when he returns to San Francisco we’ll have him on Radio Dentata’s Pure Indulgence.
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Max Myers continues talking to Pure Indulgence about the Don Cervantes cigars, charity and worker treatment in the Ecuadorian Factory while we enjoyed the Masterpiece Platinum. Review here
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We had a great time at Los Gatos Cigar Club talking to other cigar smokers, interviewing a few of the folks to talk about libations, cigars and of course learn more about Don Cervantes luxury cigars.
Below you’ll see a few pictures of the event, mostly the cigars, Max from ACC Cigars, some of the cigar accessories, and soon I’ll have a link to the podcast interview on Radio Dentata
It was definitely a fun event and I’m looking forward to doing more. Thanks to the folks at JMG for all their hard work and a special shoutout to Rich at Los Gatos, for his shop promoting the Good Life.
Look for more on Don Cervantes and the exciting things coming from ACC Cigars soon!