Plenty has been said already about the Tatuaje Drac and the rest of the monster series. I have talked about them at length in my posts on The Frank and Boris. I’ll just do a quick summary here. The Drac is the second in a limited edition series of cigars by Tatuaje that is release around Halloween every year. They are extremely limited and highly sought after making for an extremely hard to find cigar. Last year I was lucky enough to get a whole box of The Frank. This year I wasn’t so lucky but I did manage to get my hands on two of The Drac cigars.
La Liga Privada line is a very different type of approach to cigars from Drew Estates. Most everyone knows Drew Estates from their flavored line of cigars; however, the Liga Privada No. 9 is a true masterpiece. The brand was introduced back in 2007 in only one size (Parejo). The cigar comes in five shapes: Robusto (5 X 52); Torpedo (6 x 52); Double Corona (7 x 52); a very limited release Perfecto known as the Flying Pig (4.13 x 60); and today’s featured cigar the Toro. All cigars come in an oscuro wrapper.
Today was yet another beautiful day in my tundra paradise. Not feeling like a particularly long smoke I reached for the Don Pepin Garcia JJ White Label that has been resting in my desktop for just over a month. I had been looking forward to this one for a while because I cannot seem to find enough smokes in the shorter vitolas.
First inspection shows a wrapper that is a bit more vein laden than I would like. Some of them are quite pronounced begging to affect razor edged burns. Despite this, the seams are unpronounced and the cap is nice and secure. Moving to the foot I notice two fairly pronounced dents that can only be described as pencil eraser sized divots. This leads me to believe that this one is under filled. Pinching from the head to the foot reveals a solid cigar with slight give. Unfortunately, there are two very significant soft spots. One is 2 inches from the foot and the other is right about where the larger band is located.
After winning a gold medal in hockey on ice, girls from Team Canada smoke cigars and drink bubbly in the empty (!) arena. What a great way to celebrate, right? But nowadays there's no smoke without some idiots complaining.
Aside from cigars, I also love to enjoy a fine wine. Almost weekly, I participate in various tastings and have also visited some of the most famous wine regions, including Bordeaux and Alsace. If I were to write about all those tastings, the blog would become a wine blog. However, from time to time I find it refreshing to share my thoughts about different wines, especially when they are as good as in this case.
Last week-end, with a couple of friends, we decided to open a bottle that I got for my birthday, it was a rather reputed Burgundy. We needed to find some more bottles to match that one and the idea of a triptych was born. We selected a fine Bordeaux and a Côte Rotie, a growth that I am less familiar with from Rhône. Here's how the wines fared.
Côte Rotie Brune et Blonde de Guigal
I didn't know what to expect here. The color was surprisingly light for a 96% syrah. The nose was rather inexpressive. The wine, however, tasted good with very soft tannins and flavors of black fruits (blackberry) and vanilla. I was disappointed with the finish as it was short and brought a strong acidity. One hour in the decanter managed to tackle this issue though. I would agree with the 88 rating by Robert Parker on this one. Price: $40-70.
Bouchard Vigne de l'Enfant Jésus 2001
Bouchard is the only owner of this 4-hectares parcel in the Beaune region. The quality of this wine is not exactly consistant and may significantly change depending on the vintage. Luckily, the 2001 lived up to our expectations. It was everything you look for in a good Burgundy/pinot noir, a ruby color, an elegant and rich nose with distinct cedary and nutty notes and a taste explosion on the palate with fresh flavors of red fruits and pleasant tannins. Price: approximately 60 €. Not sure if this can be easily found in the United States. You can try searching here.
Château Sociando-Mallet 2004
We left this one for the end and we were right. Sociando-Mallet is very often at the same level as some Classified Growths at half the price and one of my long-time favorites. This is absolutely true for 2004, quite a difficult year for Bordeaux. Very structured and ripe, it's dark as ink and has a wonderful nose of wild cherry. It is vigourous yet not aggressive, just what you expect from a grand Bordeaux. Great value. Price: ~$55.
Today we have a dual review of a Garo Aniversario X Belicoso, done by Stephen and Jason. Thanks to Garo Cigars for providing us with a sampler!
Stephen: Garo's new Aniversario X cigars offer four Cubanesque shapes (Salomon, "A", Belicoso and Toro Gordo). Aniversario X is listed as a full bodied cigar. I have had these resting in my humidor about a month. I smoked two for this review.
Jason: Garo Habano is a small boutique cigar company headquartered in California that started in 1996. The Anniversario X is one of the company's more expensive lines. There aren't many reviews out there on this cigar so I wasn't sure what to expect.
H. Upmann is a cigar brand with a rich Cuban heritage. Like most American cigar smokers, I have very little experience with that storied version of the brand. Instead the H. Upmann I know best is made in the Dominican Republic. Back when I was just a fledgling cigar smoker, Upmann’s were listed among my favorites. I thought of them as a very reasonably priced, excellent quality, medium to mild smoke. As I gained more experience and my palate developed, I quickly lost my taste for them. That is except for one particular line. Even after I moved on from H. Upmann to other more dynamic and robust smokes, I still continued to enjoy the H. Upmann Vintage Cameroon. At that point in my cigar smoking career I had developed a fondness for the Cameroon wrapper and the Upmann was one I continued to enjoy along with the Torano 1916 and others. Eventually I moved on from my Cameroon kick and thus stopped smoking even this line of Upmann’s. A recent conversation about Cameroon cigars brought back memories of this particular cigar and I decided I wanted to revisit it again as it has been a while since I have enjoyed one of the Vintage Cameroons.
Vegas Robaina Maestros is the first regional edition for Spain, released in 2007 and distributed by Altadis SA. It is slightly longer than your regular robusto, at 5.6 x 50. This cigar was my main target when I visited the cigar shops in Madrid. I found it without much trouble at approximately $13 each. I smoked one straight away but it was almost plugged. The remaining 2 cigars for this review have been resting 2 weeks in the humidor.