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Sydney Cigar Event (6th Sept 2011)

Last night I had the pleasure of attending the first of the Spitbucket Sydney cigar events.  The evening was organised by Elie (from and his mate Kent who did a superb job of giving us the best of hospitality.  I wasn’t taking numbers but guess there was about 15 in attendance which was an awesome effort.

The event was held at Fix St James who were incredibly generous with their venue and provided two (plus) courses of great food that suited the evening beautifully.  The antipasti course was a cracker and highly recommend you drop in for a meal next time you’re in the city. Thanks Stuart.

The evening was composed of two cigars on offer while working your way through a tasting of six single malts supplied by Max from Al-dente wines.

I must say that I had all good intentions of taking a few notes on the tastings (cigars and whiskys) but this was a social situation so just the bare minimum is all I have.  Below are my raw notes purely for completeness.  You may notice that things thin out to the end.  No explanation required I am sure.

Cigar 1 (pre dinner) – Hoyo de Monterrey Le Hoyo du Dauphin

Size: 38RG 152mm

Box Code: ??? 2001

  • very light aroma at cold
  • good draw (to the end)
  • Floral smoke given off. Beautiful.
  • 1st third – light body, some leather, very fine boned
  • 2nd third – a little cream, leather and wood, some sweetness a patch of pepper/ spice.
  • 3rd third – picked up to medium, more leather + cedar box
  • Very delicate all round.
  • Burn was even to the end.
  • Great pre dinner cigar


Whisky 1: anCnoc 12 year old

  • Very light dram
  • Nice legs.
  • Pale colour, light straw
  • Subtle vanilla nose
  • Sweet palate. no great length.
  • Enjoyable.


Whisky 2:GlenDronach 15 year old

  • light caramel colour
  • citrus/ orange nose with alcohol
  • Full of sherry on the pallet that fills the mouth
  • some warmth down the throat
  • coats the mouth well
  • no peat to be found.


Whisky 3: Tobermory 15 year old

  • light caramel colour
  • long legs
  • a little sherry and raisins
  • good length and warmth


Cigar 2 (post dinner) – Vegas Robaina Don Alejandro

Size: 49RG 192mm

Box Code: ??? 2008

OK, I don’t have any notes on this one as I was having a great chat with a couple of guys and notes seemed of second importance.  It was a big stick, even wrapper and a great burn to the end with barely a touch up required.  Flavours ……. ahhh I’ll get back to you.


Whisky 4: Old Pulteney 17 year old

  • light colour – similar to chardonnay
  • floral nose with some caramel
  • liqueur velvety mouth feel
  • honey and oaky sweetness


Whisky 5: Kilchoman Summer 2010 Release (3yo)

  • Light colour
  • Amazing whisky for 3 yo
  • Definitely an Islay, peat on the nose
  • ‘sprightly’ smell (I don’t even know what I meant by this comment, it was getting late)
  • salt and seaweed profile
  • some controlled peat


Whisky 6: Bunnahabhaim 18 year old

Again it does appear that by this stage the notes were a bit thin on the ground.  This was definitely one of the great dram’s of the evening.  The colour was dark amber like an aged rum and it had huge length. Most enjoyable.

That’s about it for the details of the evening.  Thanks to all the guys for being so welcoming and I look forward to the next event.




Posted by on 7th September 2011 in General

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Cohiba Robusto

I have enjoyed a few Cohiba Robustos over the years and the only complaint I have ever had is something like ‘this one is not as good as the last one’.  They are known to be one of the favourite vitolas of the most popular CC line around so you are usually in for an entertaining stick.

Today I tasted this CoRo with a double espresso of di Gabriel coffee and a big glass of San Peligrino.  This is a great combo’ which I highly recommend for a sunny afternoon smoke.

Review Date: 6th August 2011

Box code: ??? 2010 (a gift)

Ring Gauge: 50

Length: 12.4 cm

Vitolas: Robusto


This particular stick was average to firm down the length with no soft spots to be found.  The only notable imperfection on the wrapper was one small green blemish.  You may be able to see from some of the photos that the tan wrapper had a lovely fine leaf pattern. As you would expect it was adorned with a quality triple cap.


This stick has been sitting in the humidor for some time now.  Being a single it sits on the top shelf of my humidor and within easy reach for the occasional ‘fiddle and sniff’.  I am therefore familiar with the aroma at cold; cedar and sweet tobacco with vanilla and most characteristically straw (or hay). Really beautiful.


On firing up I get my first waft of smoke off the burn that is pure Cohiba.  It instantly reminds me of sitting in Café Paris in Havana.  Funny how aromas more than anything else can bring back memories in a moment.

The smoke starts out medium to light.  I get soft toasty flavours with dry peanuts and almonds.  I also get splashes of espresso but my beverage may be responsible to some part.  The first third is light on fruit but come the second third I start to get light dabs of dried apricots and peaches. The grassiness that you would expect with Cohiba was definitely there from start but much more notable in the second third onwards.

The burn is slightly uneven but nothing that requires a correction.  I roll the cigar over and things start to improve.

The further I got into this cigar the more I enjoyed it.  The body picked up to medium and I continued to get the toast, nuts and fruit.


This was definitely a finger burner of a smoke.  It didn’t get put to rest till things became awkward in the hand.  I highly recommend picking these up when budget allows.  I will definitely be putting a box into storage for a couple of years to see how things turn out.  The only question is how long they will last.

Rating: 92 points

Coffee Notes

For the Aussies out there that love a coffee I thought I would add a note about di Gabriel coffee.  I have recently started filling my grinder at home with di Gabriel espresso 101 blend.  It makes an awesome espresso with crema that stays complete for ages.  All bags come with a date stamp indicating when they were roasted.  We usually stop by the factory where you can pick up beans that will fit with the time period that you are likely to consume the coffee.

Do yourself a favour and either pick up a bag or drop by one of the cafes that use di Gabriel as a house blend.


Posted by on 6th August 2011 in Cigars, Cuban Cigars


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Ramon Allones Specially Selected

Review Date: 28th July 2011

Box code: Unknown (purchased as single)

Of all the Cuban Robustos this is one that is usually in the top couple of recommendations so I was looking forwarding to sparking this one up.  This particular stick was purchased as a single and has been sitting in my humidor for about 6 months and was ready for my consumption.


The first thing I notice is the near perfect triple cap that moulds beautifully into the main body of the stick.  The colour is light brown, unremarkable but even.  I assume this came from a cabinet as there is no sign of box press.  The construction is consistent throughout just giving slightly to the touch down the entire length.


At cold there is a beautiful sweet tobacco smell with a small amount of grassiness.  This is a highlight; I recon I would have picked up a few more based on this aroma if I had bought them in a bricks and mortar. Very nice.


When lit the draw is just how I like it.  I call this medium resistance, none of that wimpy Robusto T stuff I have experienced recently.  The smoke comes in good quantity and leaves a peppery spice on the back of the pallet.  This dies away quickly and is replaced by dry flavours and toasty tobacco.  These flavours are quite pleasant but certainly not for those looking for the fruity notes.  There is a small amount of powdery cocoa around the middle third but that is the only deviation I really experienced.  The smoke given off however was exceptional.  The scent was one of the more floral cigars I have had in recent times.  I really enjoyed the creamy clouds wafting past my nose leaving a delicate floral aroma.  A sexy mose.


I had high expectations with this cigar and although it had no particular faults it was just a bit ‘ho-hum’.  I have heard of RASS’s having dark fruit & fruitcake flavours but this one gave me none of that.  This would be a great BBQ cigar or something to smoke while otherwise occupied.  For the price point this makes a good value option.  If I was selecting a box to put down for a while I would be looking for something with an oilier or more interesting wrapper as this could be an indicator.  I have certainly seen tastier looking sticks.  I will definitely try again.

BTW: I enjoyed the cigar with a Little Creatures Pale Ale.  The light fruitiness (peach & apricot) of the beer was a surprisingly nice combo with the toasty cigar.  Give it a try.

Rating: 85 points


Posted by on 28th July 2011 in Cigars, Cuban Cigars

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H Upmann Connoisseur No. 1

Firstly, I need to apologise for the break in reviews.  To fill in a few gaps I have just got married and decided that I needed a month to spend on the honeymoon.  Yes, we did attend Cuba (what a lovely wife) and I’m hooked.  I am looking for the next opportunity to get back.  What a blast.

Before I left I picked up a Robusto sampler that included all the usual suspects.  One of the contenders that I was looking forward to was the H Upmann Coni No1.  When I was reaching in to the humidor for my first taste on my return this was numero uno as I reckon Upmanns have some of the prettiest (most floral) smoke around.  I wasn’t disappointed.

Review Date: 16th June 2011

Box code: Unknown (purchased as single)

Ring Gauge: 48

Length: 12.7 cm

Vitolas: Hermosos


I was a little concerned, as this stick felt like a brick.  Tip to tail it was all firm.  No fault I admit, but I was thinking this thing will be plugged for sure.  The colour was consistent but as you can see from the photos, the 2nd half had a ‘leafy’ wrapper.


Yum.  Loads of cedar and smelt like a well-conditioned habanos.


On light, this cigar gave off bags of smoke that filled the air with those floral notes that I love in H Upmann.  At first it was medium bodied with mostly savoury notes like leather and earth.  The first half was very consistent.  Great burn (as you can see) without too many complications.  A very easy smoke that didn’t challenge or give up too much.

Come second half it was like a switch.  Within a draw it turned super creamy with chocolate and coffee.  I thought that it was heading down a dull path but I really started to enjoy this one.  Still not a lot of complexity but the creamy chocolate was great pre dinner.  I have no idea what age this cigar has (a single) but was thoroughly enjoyable and showed little signs of youth.  It popped up a couple of bitter signs but only similar to espresso or toasted tobacco. Good.


One of the more enjoyable aspects of this cigar was the consistency.  I have recently (in Cuba) had too many dodgy burns that detracts from the experience, relights and battling all the way.  This was behaved throughout.  Not complicated but enough to keep you entertained end to end.  As expected, the nose was wonderful and the smoke was great.  I would definitely back up for another.

Rating: 90 points









Posted by on 16th June 2011 in Cuban Cigars

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Hoya de Monterrey Epicure No. 2 (tubos)

I thought it was about time to get a review out on one of the CC’s that I had sitting on my humidor.  This blog can’t exactly be ‘Smoke and Booze’ without the smoke, so here goes.

I ask that you are gentle with me as this is the first time I have tried to put into words the subtleties of a good smoke.

Review Date: 9th April 2011

Box code: Unknown (purchased as single)

Ring Gauge: 50

Length: 12.4 cm

Vitolas: Robusto


Nice consistent wrapper , slightly soft  in places.  This particular stick had a couple of nicks where the cap had lifted (loose ends).  This didn’t affect the cut or draw at all.  Habanos felt this needed two bands which certainly gave it a smart look but always annoys me when you need to start peeling off a band halfway through the smoke.


This had an absolutely beautiful sweet cedary nose.  It was probably picking up the cedar lining in the tube.  I can’t quite place the sweetness but possibly something like sultanas. Yummy, yummy.


When I first lit this up I got a quick punch of pepperiness on the back of the palate but this passed as quick as it came.  The body started out very smooth, medium to mild. Great quantities of creamy sweet smoke.  The first half was really quite light and creamy.

Into the second half the flavour got quite toasty and the sweetness was replaced with more spiciness as the smoke drew to the end.  Much more full in body.  This was an amazing change for me that the smoke could start out so light and reel up in the last third.

The aroma of the smoke given off was fantastic the whole way through; leathery cedar.

The burn was faultless from start to finish.  Very even all the way and able to hold a long ash.


This was a great smoke and I would certainly be looking to purchase some more.  I would have this as an after dinner cigar because it was on the full side of medium in the second half. A quality smoke that is worth hanging onto for a while.

Rating: 89 points


Posted by on 9th April 2011 in Cigars, Cuban Cigars

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