DICTADOR DELIGHTS!

The stunning Dictador rums and the exquisite Dictodor Gin from Columbia are a treat not to be missed, and I was privileged to  attend a Dictador masterclass tasting very recently!

First tasting was the Dictador Columbian Aged Treasure Gin 43%. Columbian Treasure Gin is based on a unique Columbian fruit Limon Mandarino which blends the exotic s
weet taste of the tangerine and the acidity of the lemon to give fantastic balance.

The base spirit for the Columbia Gin is made from a neutral spirit distilled up to five times from sugar cane. The berries, botanicals, citrus peels and spice when combined with the ageing process merge to create this unique gin.
To give an extraordinary smoothness, the spirit is placed in oak barrels which was previously used to age other Dictador rums for 35 weeks.

Colour: Slight amber colour reflective of the time spent in a barrel – its clarity and brightness boasts of a truly revolutionary product.
Aroma: Initially tangerine enhanced with lemon notes before a secondary aroma of the botanicals that provide the freshness and balance. Mint, spearmint and pepper and a bit of sweetness from the wood and berries.
Palate: The pleasant notes and roundness from the tangerine, lemon, mint and pepper, with the traditional flavours of gin enhanced by the time spent in oak barrels results in a truly unique gin.

Colombian Treasure Gin – Enjoyed on the rocks, garnished with a twist of tangerine peel.

Next up was the Dictador Amber 100 Rum  40%

This Dictador is a Columbian Rum which is part of Dictador’s 100 range. This Amber expression, which is aged for 100 months (hence the name) in ex-bourbon barrels made from white American Oak. The rum is carefully removed from the solera using only gravity to preserve the stunning natural colour, aromas and taste before bottling at 40% ABV.
This rum is well suited to neat sipping or cocktail making.

Colour: Intense dark amber.
Nose: Sweet warm notes of vanilla and fudge, with a smoked hint from cigar tobacco notes.
Palate: Light oak and vanilla with a smooth body and yet more aromatic cigar smoke.
Finish: The smoked note continues throughout the finish as it lingers.

Dictador Cafe 100 Rum 40%

Moving on the something I was really excited to try especially as I’m a big fan of coffee was the Dictador Cafe is a 11 month aged rum which uses ex-bourbon oak barrels after distillation in a continuous column still.

This is then filtered through Colombia’s most well known agricultural product – Arabica coffee beans which provides a vast and deep flavour for those who are seeking something more in their rum,

Cafe 100 is the perfect partner for the most discerning of drinkers who value their rum as much as their morning coffee.

Colour: A deep vast colour which stands out in the glass.
Nose: Rich coffee nose, plenty of sweetness with fresh vanilla blends together nicely with malt and biscuit aromas.
Palate: A light palate of dry cocoa. Aspects of the nose continues, such as coffee and fresh vanilla.
Finish: Aspects of the palate creates a lingering finish.

The final rum in the tasting was the incredible complex Dictador 20 Year Old Rum 40%

This Dictador, 20 Year Old Rum from Columbia is made from the fermentation of virgin sugar cane honey, distilled partly in copper alembic and partly in steel continuous column, to achieve a medium body rum of which the honey is evident throughout the nose and palate.

The Dictador is then aged in pre-used oak barrels using the solera method and finally bottled under the highest quality control to ensure everything is contained in the liquid flavour.
Colour: Intense dark amber with red brown tones.
Nose: A big nose with soft caramel, vanilla and honey as well dry seeds, roasted coffee before a final rich rounded oak sensation.
Palate: Soft and rounded, dry delicate yet big and full of flavour. Caramel follows through on to the palate with more vanilla, honey and a hint of cocoa.
Finish: A strong, hard to come by texture, exceptional complexity and stunning finish.

Hope these tasting notes have inspired you to indulge in these luxurious drinks from Columbia!

Slainte

Pete

Cigar Auction!

Smokey greetings from surprisingly sunny and mild London, so much so that the roof has been off the C7GAR car for most of the week. Hopefully the start of some good weather car herfing :)

It’s been a busy week with a very entertaining Jack Whitehall evening at Wembley Arena last Sunday and a superb Valentine’s day of herfing that started with a wet shave at Trumper in Curzon street and continued with a herf at Turmeaus Mayfair with some of my new hugely popular Orchant Selection Cigar Malt and Romeo y Julieta Wide Churchills (well it was Valentines and that would be the suitably romantic brand!)

Pre-dinner drinks (or prinks as my daughter would say!) were at The Garden Room at The Lanesborough (Glengoyne 21) and Montecristo 80th Anniversary cigars followed by dinner at Cecconis I love this restaurant and how I miss the days when we used to smoke cigars after dinner there.

To finish the night we had some plate smashing fun at The Elysee I hadn’t been there for many years but I reckon it’s as much fun as it always was.

Our auction catalogue is now online and this will be our 20th Cigar Auction from C.Gars since the auction department was established in 2009.

There are some 280 Lots of Vintage, Mature, Pre Embargo, Davidoff, Dunhill and Limited Edition Havana cigars on behalf of estates, investors and collectors.

Auction Lots can be viewed online on this link.

PDF catalogue can be viewed on this link.

Some of my favourite Lots include:

Lot 222 Davidoff Chateau Latour 1980’s cabinet of 25 cigars at estimate of £1,800 – £2,200

Lot 234 Dunhill Estupendos 2 single 1980’s cigars at estimate of £1,200 – £1,400

Lot 229 Davidoff No. 1 1980’s box of 25 cigars at estimate of £1,200- £1,500

Lot 248 Partagas Anniversary humidor of 300 cigars from 2015 at estimate of £12,000 – £14,000

Lot 264 Montecristo 2004 Limited edition humidor of 100 cigars at estimate of £3,000 – £3,500

Lot 275 Ramon Allones Coronas Pre embargo cabinet of 100 cigars at estimate of £10,000 – £12,000

Lot 277 Romeo y Julieta Coronations de Luxe Pre Embargo cabinet of 50 cigars at estimate of £3,500 – £4,500

Lots are available for inspection by appointment Monday to Friday at our London offices. We are delighted to provide any further details or condition reports, simply email Laura Graham or Michelle Adler in our Auction Team at auctions@cgarsltd.co.uk quoting Lot numbers.

There’s a splendid variety of aged and rare smokes and should be a few bargains to be won I reckon. Bidding is fun and easy and works a bit like eBay. Think of it as cBay!

Supply of Havanas has improved marginally with the odd boxes of Montecristo 80th and Cohiba BHK’s showing up now and again particularly at our La Casa del Habano. I’m down to my last few boxes of Cohiba Robusto Supremo so if you haven’t stashed them in your humidor by now …that boat is about to sail! The next best thing IMHO are the Trinidad Topes but they seem to be in short supply and we can’t keep them from flying off the shelves.

I’m heading up North to Turmeaus – Liverpool on Monday / Tuesday and looking forward to another great tasting event. Our tasting events are always sold out fast! Get booked up here to one of our events for a fun and informative evening of cigar sampling and whisky/rum tastings.

Have a smokey weekend

Peaceful puffing

Mitchell

 

Terrific Triple Distillation!

If you want to indulge in silky smooth Single Malts then triple distilled whiskies are the way to go!

The unique lowland distillery Auchentoshan Single Malts are a true delight! They offer incredible character, flavour and supple smoothness which will appeal to anyone new to whisky including malt maniacs!

Having been privileged to have sampled these great Lowlands, here are my reviews,

Auchentoshan 12 Years 40%

This new, 12 Year Old bottling exhibits the new, slightly Imperial aesthetics in which Auchentoshan have re-branded themselves with.

Appearance: Golden honey.
Nose: Cereals and exotic fruits make up the fantastic nose on this 12 year old Auchentoshan.
Palate: Smooth and sweet with barley, vanilla and hints of tangerines.
Finish: Dry and very long, sweetness from the barley continues as well as ginger and a lingering nutiness.

Auchentoshan American Oak 40%
Introduced in 2014 to replace the Classic Auchentoshan comes this new Auchentoshan.

Triple distilled and matured solely in American bourbon casks, the result? Auchentoshan American Oak, a Lowland Single Malt Whisky with the sweet aromas of vanilla and coconut – along with the signature smooth, delicate, Auchentoshan taste.

Colour: Bright gold.
Nose: Oranges and lemons with delicious toffee chunks and milk chocolate. Wafts of grassy air and clotted cream come and go.
Palate: Bounty bars, yet more citrus in the sense of peels with peaches. A little buttery, with golden barley and oak spice developing on the mid palate.
Finish: Lasting notes of grapefruit and toffee pennies.

Auchentoshan Three Wood 43%

The Auchentoshan Three Wood is a Lowland single malt matured in 3 different casks, namely: Pedro Ximénez Sherry
casks, bourbon casks and Oloroso Sherry.

Colour: Rich golden bronze.
Nose: Blackcurrant, brown sugar, orange, plum and raisin.

Palate: Fruit and syrup. Hazelnut with hints of cinnamon and lemon. A butterscotch sweetness adds to the overall complexity.
Finish: Fresh and fruity, with long lasting oaky sweetness.

Last but not least, the great Auchentoshan 18 Years 43%

Triple distilled and matured in American bourbon oak for over eighteen years. The result: a refreshing Lowland single malt whisky with the added infusion of ripe citrus and green tea, the warmth of toasted almonds and the signature smooth, delicate, Auchentoshan taste.

Colour: Deep golden summer barley.
Nose: Fresh tobacco leaf – then sweet with a hint of caramelised sugars, green tea and toasted almonds.
Palate: A floral freshness with sweet barley sugar at first – this gently ebbs to reveal a tangerine zestiness. The palate is left alive and refreshed.
Finish: A long, lingering and well balanced dram that invigorates the mouth.

Slainte

Pete

Caribbean herfing!

Brrrrrrr… I’m finally back in London after a few weeks of Caribbean sunshine. The R&R has done me the world of good after the busiest year I can ever remember in my life (thank you lovely clients!).

I relaxed on a fabulous cruise that fortunately was cigar friendly and herfed my way through 8 beautiful Caribbean Islands. Great coincidence that one of my old pals Robert White was on Aruba at the same time as me so we met up and herfed our way through 5 cigars and as many cocktails in the sunshine and then popped into the very well stocked La Casa del Habano for a mooch around.

Whilst on Barbados I found the LCDH which has a lovely modern designed humidor and a few interesting cigars. Nice bar, friendly service and located in a very nice shopping area.

My favourite stop was on the beautiful island of St Kitts, I swear I have never seen such clear blue ocean waters and beautiful sandy beaches in my life. My friends Celal, Kaan and Michael run the LCDH in St Kitts and were fabulous hosts. It’s a very new La Casa and they have an excellent humidor. They are building up their stocks and this could well end up to be one of the very best humidors in the Caribbean.

I enjoyed the Caribbean regional edition La Gloria Cubana Paraiso immensely. One of the best regionals I have smoked in a long time. The La Casa has a spacious and super comfortable lounge, excellent bar and an outdoor smoking terrace (if you can stand the heat!) The business is very ably managed by Cuban Orlens Guerra and his excellent staff. Can’t recommend this place highly enough. Check them out on this link.

My next herfing stop was at the La Casa in St Maarten. I visited last year but the shop has now expanded to include a comfortable sampling lounge and owner Carol was as charming as ever. This La Casa has a huge range of cigars and cool accessories.

As I’m typing this blog I’m smoking an Inca Secret Blend Reserva D’Oro, I made 5000 sticks available a few weeks ago at a very attractive £9.99 a stick price but with a limit of 5 cigars per order so we could share the love around :) The take up has been overwhelming and the feedback universally excellent. These cigars are made with the very difficult to successfully grow Pelo De Oro leaf as it’s so susceptible to Blue Mold disease. We grow Pelo de Oro by choosing the right season with little rain and we try to give the plant a lot of space with very good water drainage. Fair to say we have produced an exceptional cigar.

Stocks of Trinidad Topes are coming through again and I reckon these are at least as good as the now sold out Cohiba Robusto Supremo. They certainly seem to be as popular. The latest release from Havana is the H. Upmann Magnum 54. This is a great size for me at 4 3/4” length and 54 ring gauge. Volumes of smoke through this large gauge, well-crafted cigar. Available in singles, cabinets of 10 and 25.  Highly recommended.

Cohiba BHK’s and Montecristo 80th anniversary are trickling in at a very slow rate and selling out at an alarming speed. Great smokes, grab them when you can.

I have a few of the Spanish regional edition Punch Jars available – double banded, 5 years aged and limited edition of 2000 jars made. Quite beautiful.

Our Turmeaus shops have a rolling program of whisky and cigar tasting evenings that can booked online. I’m looking forward to the next one on the 20th February at Liverpool.

If you aren’t already aware the tobacco health warnings are all changing by May of this year. If I understand correctly, very sadly there will be plain packaging for pipe tobacco. Such a shame as some of the tin and pack designs are really quite beautiful but they will be destined for the dustbin of history. Pipe smokers may want to order a few extra tins now so they can decant later. All cigars under 3g will also be plain packaged whilst other cigars will have new health warnings but not the ridiculous plain packaging.

I understand the reasons for the department of Health and others to discourage children starting to smoke cigarettes and cigarettes play no part in my business but I can honestly say that having opened a lot of tobacconist shops over the last 20 odd years I have never seen an underage person coming into my shops trying to buy a cigar or pipe tobacco! (We don’t even let children into our shops!)

Our February 26th Vintage Cigar Auction catalogue is complete and will be posted out to registered bidders late next week and Lots will be online here as usual 10 days before the sale. We will be taking bids online for almost 300 Lots of interesting, aged, rare and mature cigars. Bidding is easy, fast and fun and no doubt there will be some bargains to be bagged!

Valentine’s Day next week and I believe my Valentine is treating me to a decadent day and evening. Spoil yours with something special here.

I’m off to herf at Turmeaus Mayfair for the rest of the day as I haven’t been there for a while and I understand the range of whisky and cigars have had a bit of a spruce up, so I better do some quality control checks 😉

Peaceful puffing,

Mitchell

BOWMORE – LEGEND OF ISLAY

The first recorded mention of the distillery was in 1779, the first on Islay.

Bowmore Distillery is situated on the shores of Loch Indaal, right in the heart of the lovely town of Bowmore, which means great reef or Sea Rock. A few distinctive characters of Bowmore Single Malt Whiskies are smoke, salt and sea-weed, a great combination which will appeal to most fans of Islay drams!

Bowmore 9 years Limited Release Sherry Cask.

This Bowmore 9 Year Old is the latest addition to the Islay favourite’s core range. Matured in the finest Oloroso sherry casks, Bowmore 9 Years Old reflects the natural elements that surround the No. 1 Vaults and the generations of tradition within. The result is a rich whisky with notes of cocoa, dark fruits and crème caramel, along with Bowmore’s trademark smokiness.

Colour: Treacle amber.
Nose: Breathe in rich cocoa, pepper and raisins balanced with citrus tang and wisps of Islay smoke.
Palate: Complex sherry with peat smoke followed by dark fruits and sweet crème caramel.
Finish: Savour the perfect balance of sea salt and peat smoke.

The next Bowmore Single Malt that really stands out for its perfect harmony of peat smoke and Sherry sweetness is the Bowmore 15 Years Darkest.

Matured in an inspired combination of both bourbon and sherry casks, this stunning 15 year old edition spent its final three years in Olorose sherry casks which is what gives this 15 year old ‘Darkest’ a beautiful Bowmore balance.

Colour: Burnt Sienna.
Nose: Dark, delicious rich chocolate and raisin aromas compliment the classic Bowmore smokiness.
Palate: Wonderful Cedar wood and rich treacle toffee flavours.
Finish: Robust and warming with just a hint of sherry tannin’.

 

As a really special dram that combines character, balance and incredible complexity has to be the Bowmore 18 Years. Cosseted away in the finest, hand-selected oak casks and allowed to mature at its own sedate pace, this is one of the most remarkable, perfectly balanced malts of its kind. A rare exceptional bottle, the stocks of Bowmore 18 Years Old may be limited but there’s no end to its enjoyment.

Colour: Mellow mahogany.
Nose: Creamy caramel toffee, with ripe fruit and smoke aromas.
Palate: Incredibly complex, with beautiful soft fruit and chocolate, all balanced together nicely with a light smokiness.
Finish: The finish is long and wonderfully balanced.

Slainte

Pete