Tag Archives: Sascha Illyvich

Cigar Review: Raices Cubana Distributed by Alec Bradley

Raices Cubanas 1941 starts with a medium-brown Honduran wrapper that’s glistening with oils. A careful blend of Nicaraguan and Honduran long-fillers lies just beneath, encased in a Nicaraguan binder.

Raices Cubana – Distributed Alec Bradley

The review:  This is the 6X60 size and normally I shy away from that large a ring gauge (with the exception of Padron) but this cigar definitely didn’t disappoint.

Pre-light draw is very raisiny. The initial puffs are nutty and semi-sweet   Black pepper features prominently up front once the cigar gets going.  A good amount of smoke plumes from the foot.

The cigar has a very easy draw for being packed so full of tobaccos.  The burn line started off uneven but I chalk that up to my lighting technique, and a touch up fixed that.

Flavors at the second third include cocoa spice and red pepper. The cigar becomes mellow at this point while maintaining softer flavors wth hints of wood and black pepper.   By now I’m really enjoying the complexity of the cigar.

The final third of the cigar is where it gets interesting.  First, we had that red pepper bit, then black pepper, and finally?  Vanilla Coffee Bean!  YES!  ha!

This is definitely a medium to full bodied smoke though.

Cigar Review: Montecristo by AJ Fernandez

The Montecristo line isn’t a line I normally gravitate to, not with all the boutique blends coming out from some of today’s hottest blenders, but I picked it up in my local shop here in Decatur.  (Got Cigars?  232 Ponce De Leon) at the suggestion of the owner.

What can I say to start with?

Montecristo by AJ Fernandez

The backstory:

Made in Nicaragua at the A.J. Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua factory in Estelí, Fernandez worked with Altadis’ Grupo de Maestros to develop this new Montecristo, which consists of Ecuadoran Sumatra wrapper, Mexican San Andrés binder and filler from Nicaragua and Honduras.

Montecristo Crafted By A.J. Fernandez will come in five sizes: Churchill at 7 inches by 50 ring gauge; Figurado, at 4 by 52; Gordo at 6 by 58; Robusto, 5 by 52; and Toro, 6 by 50. The Montes, which are all box-pressed, are set to retail from $9.95 to $12.50 and come in 10-count boxes

The Review:

This oscuro cigar starts off with solid wood and white pepper notes.  The box press is firm in the hand, but not razor sharp like the Padron Anniversarios for example.  Light brown in color, with a solid pre-light draw, the flavors emerging from that were pretty light to my taste.   Upon lighting, the cigar showed not only an even burn, but consistency of the following:  Said white pepper, wood, with a touch of honey and bread at the back of the tongue.

 

The second and final third of the cigar maintain that consistency with one exception.   The flavors balance out more and the Montecristo draws better.   I’d say this is a medium-bodied cigar.  Would I grab another?  I sure would.

Where to Eat and Drink in Atlanta

I’ve been a resident for enough time now that I’m beginning to get the lay of the land in Atlanta/Decatur, so I thought I’d share some recommendations with you.

Not all are smoke friendly, but all are friendly to their patrons. Some of these places don’t really need my help, but I like giving good press when it’s well deserved, as it often goes unnoticed.

First up, of course, I’ve already mentioned Highland Cigar Company, my home away from home.  From awesome drinks (watch Clif in this clip below) to great ambiance, the cigar club is just the place you’d expect to find Falcons fans (and the occasional misguided Patriots fan – but we’ll forgive Bekks…) the place is hard to beat.  Located in Inman Park just about .7th of a mile from Inman Park/Reynoldstown MARTA station, the walk there is a gorgeous one as you pass beautiful homes.

My man cliff making drinks at @highland_cigar #cigars #booze #cocktails

A post shared by Sascha Illyvich (@saschaillyvich) on

Next up, haven’t been here yet, but I’m hearing good things, and honestly? The social media interaction is spot on with two lovely SOTL – Dona Mathews and Alexis June have hyped up Habanos, just near downtown Atlanta.  Find them here.  Both women are active on FB too, so peep them and show them some love.

Got Cigars? – This little spot at 232 E. Ponce De Leon in Decatur by the Square hosts a solid collection of cigars and the owner knows her stuff.  That’s right, I said her.  A female run cigar shop is a rarity but Rukia is a boss.  Go in, grab a cigar and stay for a while.  The couch is comfortable.   Stay outta my spot 😉

Le Monde #cabernet #franc #friuli #Italy #wine

A post shared by Sascha Illyvich (@saschaillyvich) on

Non-Cigar places:  I really have a thing for going to Leon’s Full Service.  I’ve taken all three girlfriends there for food, plus some other friends and the wine program for wines in the glass tends to be just what I’m looking for at any given time.  Sometimes I want white, when it’s blazing hot round these parts, sometimes I want superbly warm and red, but they have a great beer selection and do yourself a favor.  Get the bacon in a glass and add the homemade peanut butter.

Mac Mcgee’s Irish Pub – Go for a pint but please, lay off the Guinness. It’s bullshit when you stack it up against the numerous other libations they have on the fairly thick beer menu.  Or go for a dram, the list is lengthy.  They also tend to do a lot of local community activism so if that’s also your thing, check them out.

None of these places really needed my help in promotion but like I said, spreading the good word always comes back to return threefold!

Wine Review – Bonny Doon 2015 Pinot Meunier

As a gift to myself, I decided to join the D.E.W.N. club from Bonny Doon Vineyards.  As a member of the Distinctive, Esoteric Wine Network, I’m paying for shipments of four bottles quarterly.

img_3909This shipment arrived and last night’s meal was lamb burgers.  The recipe I used was a variation I have to rework a touch, too much spice and not enough savory, but the lamb flavor came through in spades so that’s good.

The newsletter goes on to talk about having planted Pinot Meunier and giving it a go after revisiting the idea and memories of tasting a wine from Domaine Chandon (who know a thing or two about wine) made of 100% Pinot Meunier.

Point is, the wine itself has the following statistics:

Bonny Doon 2015 Pinot Meunier
Bonny Doon 2015 Pinot Meunier

Varietal: 100% Pinot Meunier
Vineyard: Yont Mill
Appellation: Yontville
ABV: 14%

Now the juice.

A quick swirl in the glass gave me bright cherry flavors.  The taste itself was more or less like sour cherry, with some candied fruit on the palate.  Light tobacco and a hint of charred oak made me fairly happy.  The finish was medium, more light-medium than anything.

According to their newsletter, the wine is drinkable now, but could benefit from 6-8 years of ageing.

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.

 

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.

Wine Review: Noble Vines 181 2012 Merlot

Lodi California
$11.00181 Noble

Color: Deep Red
Nose: Classical merlot nose of spice and berry.
Taste: Immediate earthiness from chalky soil. Intense tart cherry followed by subtle spices and soft tannins.  I wouldn’t be surprised if this went well with braised lambs, hard cheeses or certain Italian sausages.  Overall, it’d a good starter merlot because the tannins don’t punch your palate to hell!

Medium finish. Paired with a Liga Undercrown Toro by Drew Estate for a soft, cigar/wine combination.  In fact, the the sweetness of the Undercrown paired beautifully with the softness, cutting through some of the tannin structure of the merlot.  This was a wine made for drinking with deep, well made maduros.

Oxidation opens the wine slightly.

Cigar Review – Casa Magna Colorado

When it comes to a robust cigar, I used to think of stuff that was too strong initially.  JdN, LfD, etc.  The problem I had as a beginning cigar smoker was the nicotine kick overpowered the flavors and I often got light headed.

casa-magna-colorado

Not so with this release from Manuel Quesada.  Casa Magna Colorado features a Cuban Ligero seed Colorado wrapper, Viso and Ligero fillers from Nicaragua, this cigar starts off with plenty of balanced spices.

The packaging is elegant, yet simple at the same time.  The large band is striking and lets you know you’re smoking something with heft.

A good bit through the cigar is a plethora of earthy notes combined with the spice.  The smoke to me smells rugged, in a really good way.  As in, no one will mistake this cigar for something else, because it’s just that good.

Even better, the cigar burns really slow.  The draw is excellent.   This is one to be a permanent staple in any respectable cigar smoker’s rotation.