Tag Archives: Pure Indulgence

Scotch Whiskey Tasting – Notes from Highland Cigar Company

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 😉

IMG_3347
From Left to Right – Auchentoshan 3Wood, Bowmore 12 year, Laphroaig Select

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

Antonius Robusto
Antonius Robusto

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 IMG_3350Antonius 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.

Wine review: Inspiration Vineyards 2012 Dry Creek Zinfandel

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…

Cigar Review – Tatuaje Verocu Red Tubo

Tat-Red Verocu

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.

Pure Indulgence on Radio Dentata

Hey Folks,

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.

Radio Dentata - Uncensored 24X7 radio for Adults

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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Wine Review: Cornerstone Cellars 2007 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

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.

Soon on Pure Indulgence, we’re going to interview Craig from Cornerstone Cellars but until then, give his wines a try.

Balvenie Roadshow Masterclass Tasting Notes

Balvenie 12 year DoublewoodFirst 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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Don Cervantes Interview Part Four

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

The interview was conducted in November of 2010 for Radio Dentata‘s Pure Indulgence at the Occidental Cigar Club

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Los Gatos Cigar Event featuring Don Cervantes

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!

Urban Legend May Newsletter

Urban Legends Cellars is a local winery in Oakland near Jack London Square that features quality wines, and a great staff. Recently I helped them bottle the latest release.

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Jack London Art
First Friday May 6, 6 – 9 PM
Urban Legend Cellars, 621 4TH ST
Joaquin Joaquin Newman, Photo by Eduardo Pineda

We’re doing second Friday early this month! We’ll be at the Indie Awards 2nd Friday….

Marilee and I have been frequenting La Borinqueña Mex-icatessen, where we have admired Tina “Tamale” Ramos’ gallery of Joaquin’s work. We’ve been drawn in by the mix of humor, history, and culture in his works. As a salute to Cinco de Mayo we’ve asked Joaquin to be our May artist.

Joaquin is a co-founder of the Forrealism Movement and studio in Alameda.

“The Forrealism Movement is composed of a group of mixed Indian and Latino artists who create works collectively, drawing from our own traditions and those of our elders who have shared gifts of their wisdom and experience. We do not purport to be religiously bound to these traditions; rather we strive to deconstruct racial barriers in order to construct cultural bridges toward a greater indigenous consciousness.

As urban Indians working in a city where many cultures come together, the scope of our work spans the Americas. It is not limited to symbolism from our particular cultural background; we serve our community more generally. No one of these traditions defines us, nor do we attempt to expose the complexities and rites of traditions that require specific intention to understand.”
Pink Out!
6:30 – 9:00 PM, Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Butterfly, Pier 33, The Embarcadero, The City (SF)

We’re packing up the pink flamingos and once again heading across the Bay Bridge to join our fellow Rosé fanatics with the 2010 version of our Best Micro Winery-winning Rosato di Barbera!

Join us for an evening of great food, fun times and, of course, fabulous Rosés from around the world

Tickets are $35 in advance and expected to sell out! Purchase Tickets

Urban Legend: 2011 Indie Awards exclusive wine supplier
6 – 10 PM, Friday May 13, 2011
Kaiser Center, 300 Lakeside Drive, Oakland

Look for an uptown theme this year. Uptown cupcakes, Urban Legend Uptown blend on tap, and more. Being newbies, we’re not sure what to expect but with cupcakes on roller skates it should be Oakland style fun. We hope to see you there!
Uptown gets outta town, and Rosato gets around!

Urban Legend wines are making the rounds of local restaurants. Uptown is now served in Berkeley, and our Rosato is gaining a following all around town. We’ve got new places for you to try Urban Legend, and new wines in familiar haunts:

* 900 Grayson, 900 Grayson @ 6th St, Berkeley, CA
o 2010 Rosato di Barbera – Chris is a big fan of summer pinks
o Uptown- by the glass and 1L refillables!
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* Millennium,580 Geary St., San Francisco, CA 94102
o 2009 Petit Verdot
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Pappo, 2320 Central Ave , Alameda, CA 94501
o 2009 Sauvignon Blanc

* SR24, 5179 Telegraph Ave @ 51st , Oakland, CA 94609
o 2009 Tempranillo – almost gone
o 2009 Syrah – coming soon
o 2010 Rosato di Barbera – coming soon
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* Where would like to see Urban Legend?
o Send us the restaurant name: info@ulcellars.com