So as recently blogged about, my 5km swim partner and fellow cigar enthusiast decided that upon completion of our swim we would cap off the experience with a cigar. On my recent trip to Toronto, I purchased 2 of the Flor De Las Antilles by My Fathers Collection, 2013 cigar of the year for us to enjoy.
As we posted up on Dave's deck overlooking beautiful Dartmouth, I was again looking forward to trying out this little beauty. The last time I had it, I was def feeling the effects of some amazing homemade wine, so i wanted to make sure the experience was not overly influenced by that, so sans alcohol for this one.
It has an amazing nose, coffee and leather, lit well and smoked beautifully. Everything I remember about it from the week before was the exact same. Flavor, consistent draw, easy pull, slow burn and kept its ash well. No wonder this was the cigar of the year.
I tried not to talk it up to much to Dave before he tried it, but the look on his face upon lighting it and getting it going said enough.
I still say this is the best cigar i have ever smoked and hold to it. Dave was quick to agree that this is one hell of a cigar.
I didnt even miss having an accompanying scotch or whiskey with it, this cigar can stand alone and not be harsh or overpowering.
As we sat in the afternoon sun, reliving our recent water war stories, enjoying our cigars I couldnt help but wish that I would have bought more of these before leaving Toronto. I am going to have to contact the store owners to see if they will indeed ship to me out East. Yes, they are that good.
So with that lovely experience under my belt, I was pumped to give another cigar a try this week for #cigarSunday. On a recent work trip to Halifax, my wife had a couple hours down time and asked if i wanted anything while she was in the city. Weeeeeeeelllll if you are down on the water front can you check out the cigar store down there. I havent been, but reading online and the reviews are mostly positive. She agreed and scored a MonteCristo no.4 and couple other beauties from Cuba.
I picked the MonteCristo no.4 for this #cigarSunday and was off to the liquor store to find a match for it. I narrowed down my beverage to 4 different scotches. All lightly coloured as the cigar was a medium to dark color so i wanted something with little to no smoke and wasnt going to compete with too much spice.
I asked one of the clerks who is knowledgable about scotches to weigh in on my decision and both our number one picks was the 14 year old Arran Single Malt. The liner notes and a quick look online was the selling point to me, but it was good to have some back up to confirm my suspicions.
According to the website, this is a newer product that replaced a 12 year old scotch. It has a 46% drinking strength and hits some spice and citrus notes. It is not a cold chilled scotch so when a touch of water or ice hits the scotch it gets cloudy. That is what is supposed to happen so dont panic. The clerk also notes this is one of his top 5 scotches and it doesnt really get the respect it deserves.
I was convinced so I picked up a bottle and headed home.
After a quick mow of the yard I was ready to get a #cigarSunday in before the rain started.
I tried the Arran both without ice or water and with. I def like it better without and maybe would add a drop of water next time. The ice really killed the spice flavor that was prominent without.
In terms of the cigar, well ' houston we had a problem'. I am not sure if it was a short cut, in that i didnt cut far enough down on the cigar, or if the cutting end was so stale it wasnt allowing for any smoke to get through, but i thought i was going to hyper ventilate trying to get the thing lit. It tasted okay on the smoke that i could get but holy jebus not what i expected in terms of smoke-ability. I was not impressed, especially for the price.
The end that I cut was rock hard. Even squeezing it and rolling it back and forth between my fingers to loosen up the leaf inside didnt do anything. I got about half way through and gave up trying to get a decent pull from it. To recut it would not have worked either i dont think because the hard rock part extended about half way to the ring and cutting it there were have caused some flaking of the outer wrap.
Overall, it would have been a delightful pairing of cigar and scotch, but really, really, really not impressed with the cigar. Again, not sure if I cut it to thin, or the cigar was just a dud, or the cigar store on the Halifax waterfront sold something it shouldnt have, but i have 2 other Cuban cigars from that store so we shall see.
On the upside, anytime you get to sit on a deck with a drink and cigar in hand should not be taken for granted. Couple tunes to sing and a quick chat with the departed and into the house to start making dinner. Hoping to get my workouts in this week so that a #cigarSaturday on the road can happen next week at a new location.
Sean "BigBoyRunning' Ryan