Tag Archives: Havana Club

Happy “World No Tobacco Day” Everybody!!!

So, what a better way to celebrate World No Tobacco Day 2017 than to have good company, good drinks, nice weather, and a wonderful cigar…

Lloyd called me up earlier today – a good friend from the FOH forum and from the smaller group of us from the general Toronto area that fairly regularly gets together for MegaHerf events and other gatherings.  Up out of the blue, he was coming back from a business meeting and travelling through the area, and was wondering if I minded some company for a visit and a cigar.  Definitely.  Easy as pie.

Good time spent catching up, some nice brewvrages, nice weather (if not a bit breezy), and he even gifted me a nice Monte 1 from 2012-ish (he wasn’t sure of the box code offhand), and I to him a Cohiba Siglo IV from 2012 (I think) that he picked out.  The Monte 1 was something that I haven’t had in quite a long time, so it definitely caught my eye when he offered a pick from what was in his travel humidor.  A solid 89 smoke (a couple of relights due to the wind and my incessant chattering), which i enjoyed with some HC 7 & Coke, and enjoyed both overall nearly as much as the company.

Happy “World No Tobacco Day” everyone!  Here’s to my fellow tobacco pirateers everywhere.  Arrrrrggggghhhh!  Lol.

Cheers all.

Wow, WTF happened here???

So, its been months and months since I’ve even been on here.  My last post was way back on November 20th of last year. Holy fuck, where the HELL did the better part of the last six months go?!?!

That last post was my wrap-up after last November’s trip down to Havana for the Friends of Partagas Festival.  I know, I know – like so many other things on here from the past year plus, I know I still need to do further updates.  Your text messages and emails have reminded me of such, lol!  I still have to publish a number of posts on some work stuff, some TASO missions, and other goodies.  And yes, further on that last Havana trip, as well as oodles of cigar reviews and tastings from last year.  I’ve got a SHIT-TON of this stuff to catch up on, as well as getting to some emails and other things.  Hell, I haven’t even been on the FOH forum in just about as long, and I opened up my email the other day (for the first time in about four-and-a-half weeks) to find 1189 emails wating for me!  Lol.

Actually, it was a text message / pic sent from a former co-worker that reminded me I need to get stuff caught up on here.  A picture of me porning-out over street-meat when we were in Germany doing the Syrian refugee flights in Nov/Dec 2015:


So his message reminded me to get going on here again.

Likewise though, I could also post photographic proof that shows that black men have apt skills when it comes to deep-throating pork products.  So, c’est la vie.  Lol

In all fairness though, it’s been a busy if not productive chunk of time for me.  My wife and I basically gutted our house and refinished it, all except for the kitchen itself.  Main bathroom refinished, downstairs bathroom completed, new carpets and specialty flooring throughout, some upgraded electrical and Cat6 and “smart home” stuff, reclaimed wide-plank hardwood flooring, all-new baseboards and trim throughout, rebuilt front foyer and custom wrought-iron balusters and railings, new LED lighting throughout, etc., etc.  All with fresh coats of paint top-to-bottom, refinished kids’ rooms, and a redone master.  This “jack-of-all-trades” definitely had his hands full, and I was especially grateful when I had two local specialty-contractors (good family friends) come help me out with two tricky things.  Lots of pictures were taken (even of the Mrs. in yoga pants and smashing out flooring tiles!), so I’ll do some posts on that series of projects too I guess.

We’re in the home stretch finally though.  About two weeks of relatively minor finishing touches to get done.  My schedule is going to be freeing up more after this week and upcoming holiday weekend.  I’ve got lots of rough sketches in place for blog posts, so it all will definitely (and finally) be coming down the pipeline shortly.

In the meantime, how about this???…….


I looked back on some notes, and I’ve nary even smoked any cigars since the last Havana trip ended back on Nov 19th or so.  A fucking travesty, I know!  Some of those cigars make up my last actual notes on cigars smoked.  I do remember I had a fairly good custom “robusto largos” (from Jorgito at the Club Habana LCDH [of “Monsdales” fame], Nov 2016 rolled) back at the tail-end of March for my birthday while soaking up a starry evening and hanky-panky in the hot tub, but I’ve got no detailed tasting notes or general info on that one (lol).

So, while your tardy scribe has been sitting here compiling this, he’s been enjoying a Ramon Allones EL 2011 Allones Extra.  Short review?  “Mmmmmmm – YUM!”

I do believe ithis stick was from an “RAE, Ago 2011” box (which has generally been a great box code, for what it’s worth, be it with these or any other Partagas/Ramon Allones/associated cigars).  Start was at 2:00 pm, enjoyed with the remnants of a bottle of Burmester 10-yr Tawny Porto (that I bought in either Prestwick, Scotland or Lages, Azores , Portugal early last year), and followed up with big cupfulls of blended strawberry daiquiris with what can only be described as way-too-much Bacardi white and Havana Club Anejo 7 Anos rum (hindsight being 20/20….hiccup!)  A hot, breezy day (27 degrees Celsius, 54 % RH, and 37 kph winds) that honestly reminded me of smoking cigars in Cuba, but a just reward for nearly wrapping up on the home remodel stuff, and getting the “great outdoors” / yards-and-back-deck all ready for spring and summer enjoyment.

The cigar started off with a kick to the nuts.  Powerhouse flavours from the get-go; dried cranberries, raisins, nutmeg, sweet molasses, all wrapped in heavy-/rich-and-oily tobacco essences.  Smoke volume wasn’t overly impressive, nor was it particularly viscous on the mouth-feel.  That said, the flavours definitely let me know I was in for a treat.  Strength and flavoursome all wrapped up together, with a bit of faint aged-elegantness starting to come into play now with nearly six years on them (coupled onto the two-plus years of age that the EL cigar tobaccos have to start with).  A few relights (due to winds and such, though I was relatively sheltered on the back deck).

I’ve generally always been a fan of this cigar.  I’ve had some lackluster boxes, and some stellar ones.  I know it’s one of those polarizing cigars that people either like or don’t.  I’ve even bought some boxes from others who weren’t fans, and those have turned out to be wonderful boxes for me.  But these are performing so consistently for me over the years, and are starting to hit such a finessed stride now, that it’s hard for me to not recommend them to anyone and everyone willing to give Ramon Allones / stronger / Limited Edition cigars a try.  A great brand, a wonderful retro band, classic RA box styling, an EL cigar at a reasonable price point (boxes initially sold for $279 USD, I believe, for a 25-box of corona-sized stick), and great burn and flavours…what’s not to love?  If you can still get any, I’d say to jump on it – even for upwards of $400-470 USD at this point, at least, if you can still find them anywhere.  I’ll definitely be savouring my five-plus boxes remaining.

An easy 94 – maybe even upwards of a 96 (but points deducted for heavy booze on the palate affecting the informal scoring, lol).  Finished at 3:25 pm.  And savoured well.

Here’s to many more!

Cheers all.

Rum Vertical-Slash-Horizontal Tasting (Part 3 of 4)…

Continuing still from my first and then second posts on this rum tasting, here’s number three.  These five were enjoyed two nights ago as well (right after those in Part 1 and Part 2), but I’m just unfortunately posting it here early today, as the inability to see my computer straight later that night, LOL, and then family stuff yesterday, all led me to be unable to post until now.

Also, after supper that night was enjoyed before the last groupings of rum, these five were then enjoyed along with a quite nice H. Upmann No. 2 from 2008 that I was given in trade from good brother Emil (Oct 2008, “USE” coded stick), and after a nice sunset-filled sky that evening.  The dense, creamy rich smoke from that cigar, and the bold power it still had in a nice balance profile, meshed well with these rums below.

Again, these five rums are sampled straight up, about an ounce of each, with no mixers, ice cubes, or chilling, and enjoyed at room temperature.

And so…

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9.  Bacardi Ron 8 Anos.  (40% alc/vol, Puerto Rico)  This one is aged for a minimum of eight years in oak casks, and then finished apparently in sherry oak barrels.  While Bacardi Superior white is simply a mixer only, this stuff is different.  From the box packaging, this is a special blend originally created in Cuba by Facundo Bacardi Masso, and was the “private family reserve blend” for over five generations.

This stuff has a nice aroma to it.  On the nose, there’s molasses sweetness, honey, and almost a saltwater taffy tinge.  Legs are fairly nice in the glass, very long and coating within the glass, and the golden copper colour is pretty good too.  Very balanced in the mouth, with a lemony sweetness, and a smoky woodiness to it.  The oaking is quite apparent with this, and helps meld it very nicely.  An excellent and well-balanced sipper, I was also getting hints of sweet spice (nutmeg or cinnamon on the fringes perhaps), with a sweet stonefruit ripeness to it.

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10.  Havana Club Cuban Barrel Proof.  (45% alc/vol, Cuba)  This lovely rich-copper-coloured rum, from the packaging notes, is aged in specially selected fresh white oak barrels, and then polished off in unique “finishing casks”, and then bottled straight from the cask directly at 45% alcohol by volume.  This is the rum that, apparently, was discontinued and then reintroduced under a slightly changed recipe and different packaging under the Seleccion de Maestros label.  This particular bottle of rum is my last of this type, from a 2011 trip to Cuba, and from one of the last production runs I believe.  The rum in this is a minimum of seven-years-old (rather than a blend with seven years being the maximum, such as with the Havana Club Anejo 7 Anos), with it generally being referred to as a 10-year-old for the majority of the rum within it.

On the nose, some fresh nuts (cashew or brazil nuts?), some smoky honey, and almost like a rich black tea.  Very distinct and slowly moving legs to this rum in the glass, with almost a negative attraction of the rum and the glass together (the rum doesn’t coat the inside of the glass so much as it pools itself into little droplets to “avoid” contact with the glass).  Flavours of rich dark honey, caramel, some smoky woodiness on the back of the palate even, and then a full-bore heavy alcohol heat to hit on the backend of the flavour profile.  With the heavy flavour profile and alcohol heat, it’s a very thin and lightweight feeling rum on the mouthfeel.  A very nice rum to pair with nearly any cigar.

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11.  Havana Club Seleccion de Maestros.  (45% alc/vol, Cuba)  This is apparently the updated / newer version of the Barrel Proof.  Again, being a 10-year-rum, the only real difference is that this rum is triple barrel aged (whereas the Barrel Proof only went through two caskings), and then the Seleccion de Maestros apparently does two sets of maturation in the old oak barrels first, and then does the finishing in new fresh white oak casks (opposite of the Barrel Proof style).  Again, this is apparently the only real difference, in that the rest of the actual rum recipe is the exact same between the two.

I must say also that the packaging on this one is awesome.  A cedar-look outer package, a lovely tapered crystal-clear bottle, and then the rich copper colour of the rum and the lovely cedar-look outer package all contrasted and accented heavily by the rich blue, gold, and red labelling.

Rich caramel notes and smokiness are on the nose, with a hint of lemon peel and fresh bread dough.  Wavy legs are noted in the glass, within a heavy coating of rum when sloshed around in the glass.  Flavours of sweet and savory spices are noted, accented by a buttery toffee and creme brulee profile.  The heat aftertaste is very balanced throughout the mouth (not biting in any one area to hard), and meshes well with the profile.  There’s even hints of tobacco and cedar essences in there (perhaps if one dreams and imagines hard enough, LOL).  Again, another nice rum to pair with just about any cigar, but this is one I really enjoy paired off of dense and rich Ramon Allones or Montecristo sticks.

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12.  Kirk and Sweeney 12 Year Dominican Rum.  (40% alc/vol, Dominican Republic; batch # 002, bottle # S1878)  This rum is made in the D.R., and imported and created by a company out of California called 35 Maple Street.  The packaging of this one is unique, being in a giant apple-shaped bottle, and with very elegant and tasteful white silk-screening on the bottle showing of the history of the brand’s namesake (a rum-running schooner than ran from the Caribbean to the northeastern U.S. seaboard, before it was captured and turned into a U.S. Coast Guard instructional ship).  This was an awesome gift sent to me by great BOTL Alex, part of a few trades and whatnot he and I did back and forth, and a rum I had not heard of nor seen before.

However, and especially for a 12-year-old rum, the packaging unfortunately is the best part of this rum, and while it’s nowhere near a bad rum, it’s not quite the best sipper.  It has a rich copper colour, but the legs in the glass are a bit broken up and spotty.  The nose is of heavy vanilla and oakiness.  The mouthfeel of this rum is very watery, with no viscosity to it at all.  The heat is almost overpowering on this rum compared to any flavours – one would almost think this is a barrel proof or 50%+ rum due to the heavy alcohol tones.  There’s some nice caramel and butteriness there, but again, the heat overpowers it.  If I drink this one as a sipper, it’s generally chilled/frozen (does this rum a world of good), or, more often than not, I’m cutting this one with a bit of Coke.

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13.  El Dorado 12 Year Old Rum.  (40% alc/vol, Guyana)  This is one of my favourite sippers.  This rum is made in Guyana and is a “Demerara” rum, using Demerara sugar (a darker brown sugar than normal, containing a high level of molasses), which results in a strong and bold flavour profile.  This rum contains a blend with a minimum age of 12-years (some rums upwards of 16-years apparently), and comes from a company making this stuff for 345 years now.  Some find this rum too sweet and caramel-laden (attributed to its demerara sugar manufacture), but I tend to love that in good rums.

In the glass, a good consistent copper colour, and with noted wrinkly-looking and zig-zagging legs in the glass.  Very strong butter and caramel aromas on the nose.  On the palate, any heat is rounded and well-ascentuates the flavour profile, consisting of vanilla, toffee and caramel, and some sweet fruitiness (perhaps of dates or prunes?)  Some sweet spices of allspice and nutmeg are around the fringes as well.   I love this one as a sipper.  Mixing with Coke is okay too, but I find the caramel sweetness of this one can almost be overpowering and too sweet if mixed with Coke.  A bit of ice to chill this one does wonders.

Well, that’s where I left things off the other night.  Didn’t get a chance to finish off the last five yesterday due to family commitments, but will be trying to get the rest finished off this evening though.  More to come shortly to finish this off then…

Go here for Part 1here for Part 2, and here for the Part 4 conclusion of this series.

Cheers all.

Rum Vertical-Slash-Horizontal Tasting (Part 2 of 4)…

So, continuing on from my previous on this ascending rum tasting, here’s the next five rums or so.  Supper was had prior to these rums – pork chops, green beans, and rice, enjoyed with the Mrs and the Rugrats.  Again, these are sampled straight up, about an ounce of each, with no mixers, ice cubes, or chilling, and enjoyed at room temperature.

And so…

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4.  Nutz ‘N Rum Peanut Punch.  (14% alc/vol, St. Lucia)  This stuff is actually in a nine-year-old bottle from when my wife and I had our honeymoon in St. Lucia and we did a rum factory tour there, and I just recently found again during a liquor cabinet clean-out.  Essentially, this stuff is one-third creamy peanut butter, and two-thirds amber/gold rum (three-year-old approximately).  Sounds horrendous, but it’s wunder-bar!!!  As the label says, it’s best when chilled.  As for tasting notes – it tastes like nuts.  With rum.  LOL.

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5.  Captain Morgan Tattoo.  (35% alc/vol, Puerto Rico)  As I mentioned before, most Captain Morgan rum I find to be sacrilegious to the good name of rum.  However, along with the overproof spiced rum of their I like for eggnog drinks, I also like this stuff.  I first found this in fall 2007, when my wife and I were on a golf and shopping vacation to Myrtle Beach.  Found this at a liquor store there, and was told at the time it was a special offering for around the eastern seaboard / Gulf-shores states, but in the past few years it’s been right up to Michigan and Ohio now too (haven’t seen it in Canada yet).  Apparently, it’s made with a two- to three-year-old rum, depending on who you ask.

This stuff is very heavily infused with flavourings and such, and is a distinctly darker colour.  In the glass, though it’s a darker rum, it’s very watery in appearance, and with no legs on the glass at all.  On the nose, black cherry notes and faint allspice, some sweet nutmeg and cloves – almost even an aroma of flat Pepsi.  Tasting it, it’s heavy with molasses, cloves, and black cherry, and the heat ramps up on the aftertaste.  Also, with all the myriad of spices they add into this rum, it almost reminds me a bit of that Jagermeister feeling in the back of your throat afterwards, almost like a tinge of NyQuil is mixed in there too.  LOL.  Even though that flavour is around the edges, this is one that can be sipped, but I’ve enjoyed it most on a 50/50 splitting with some classic Coke.

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6.  Ron  Santiago de Cuba Anejo.  (38% alc/vol, Cuba)  Now we’re starting to get into what I like for going either as sippers or mixers.  This one is a bit harsh for the former, but mixed 50/50 with Coke, it’s pretty nice.  Cuban rum I find is a bit harsher compared to others (ie – a Cuban 7-year-old is sometimes not as good as a 5-year from somewhere else), but Cuban rums just seem to pair so well with Habanos cigars (whether it’s a mindset thing or not, I dunno).  This stuff (Anejo) is the five-year variant.

A faint bit of legs in the glass, I’m always amazed at how this one shrugs off any residual water to the inside of the glass – kinda like oil and water.  On the nose, there’s a light caramel nuttiness, but very strong hits of banana actually, and a smokey woodiness.  Tastes of ripened fruit, some candy sweetness, and a bit of citrus (orange peel?) and slight bitterness/sourness, are followed up with a bit of heat and a slightly harsh bite on the sides of the tongue.  The flavours overall aren’t abundant or apparent in a good mix to have me enjoying this rum as a sipper only – as mentioned before, it’s best as a mixer, as I personally think it meshes well with caramel-heavy Coke.

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7.  Legendario Elixir de Cuba.  (34% alc/vol, Cuba)  This stuff is always a treat.  It’s a liqueur that’s made from seven-year-old Cuban rum.  Yup, that’s right…it’s booze that’s made from other booze.  LOL.  This stuff is an amazingly sweet and delicious concoction, it’s best as a sipping dessert aperitif after a nice long Cuban seafood dinner, and enjoyed with a post-dinner cigar.  Glorious.  And that, coupled with small production batches, are usually why it’s so damn hard to find on trips down to the island usually.

In the glass, this stuff has really nice legs actually, and has a bit of sediment in it usually (usually attributed to the pulverized raisins used to make this concoction).  While noticeably darker in colour for a seven-year-old, it sticks to the sides of the glass and coats it well.  Aromas are of lemon, light leather, and a vanilla-honey sweetness, and even with a decent raisin and even banana air to it.  In the mouth, flavours of dark smoky honeyed caramel hit you front in the face.  This shit is swweeeeeettt.  The heat of the alcohol is around the edges somewhat, but really covered by the smoky honey and sweet raisin layered flavours.  There’s a bit of an herbal background to it too, accenting the honey and lemon.  Reminds me of a white port, but with a heavier smokiness to it, and a more tropical palate accentuating it.

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8.  Havana Club Anejo 7 Anos.  (40% alc/vol, Cuba)  This is my everyday rum-and-Coke rum.  While some seven-year-rums may be good enough for everyday sipping, I generally don’t think most Cuban rums fit the bill, and especially not the younger Havana Club stuff.  That said, it pairs too damn well with a Cuban cigar when in a 50/50 mix with Coke.  It’s fair to say I go through a healthy amount of this rum compared to all others in my cupboard.

This particular bottle is a Pernod Ricard produced bottle, purchased in Canada, and not direct in Cuba (though for this hemisphere, it is produced there).  Also notable is that the Havana Club product line used to be the Bacardi’s, before the Cuban Revolution and such, and recently Bacardi has apparently introduced a “Havana Club” product into the U.S.  But this stuff here is the Cuban production stuff sold worldwide by Pernod.

Lighter in colour than what I like to see, legs in the glass are faint.  Light aromas on the nose of caramel, buttered toffee, and a coffee mocha element, but they’re overpowered by the harsh alcohol ethers.  Harsh on the palate, flavours of nectarines and cedar with a butter and caramel edge are washed away by acidic and harsh alcohol layers.  It’s good, but not for sipping really.  Just soooo much better as a general-use dark rum for rum-and-Cokes and even stellar pina coladas.

Hic.  Okay.  Things are rolling along smoothly now.  Hic.

More to come shortly…

Go here for Part 1, here for Part 3, and here for the Part 4 conclusion of this series.

Cheers all.

 

Rum Vertical Tasting En Route…

…Or should I call it a Rum Horizontal Tasting, as that’s how I anticipate feeling once this evening is done!

Anywho, after sitting on it for quite a while, I’ll be doing a rum tasting tonight (and perhaps into tomorrow, LOL).  Relatively free night to myself tonight, so I’ll be pouring some modest helpings of what turns out to be the 18 different rums in my possession, LOL.  I’ll try to do it in blocks of five rums at a time, and will try to do some cigars in with it as well.

We’ll see how this pans out…depends on how many Aspirins I may need tomorrow!

Cheers all.  Literally!