Cigar Tastings and Island Hopping

For our latest blog post we’re changing tack slightly and giving you an insight into what we get up to from time to time working in the pipe & tobacco business and living on this tiny rock in the middle of the Channel…

“Well it was an exciting week last week and we thought we’d share some of the highlights with you here.

Wednesday night we helped the Crown Club at Guernsey’s prestigious Old Government House Hotel put on a cigar tasting event for the local Round Table group, which was great fun. We ‘educated’, in the loosest sense of the word, the party of 7 about cigars, how they’re made, what differentiates premium hand-mades from machine-mades, and a little bit of the etiquette involved. We then all chose a cigar from the ranges provided, and a drink to take outside and enjoy our cigars with. Cigar anecdotes abounded with the discussions ranging from Cuba, the Dominican Republic, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and other parts of the Caribbean. Everyone enjoyed themselves and then moved into town to find food. The service at the Crown Club was impeccable and nibbles had been laid on along with the first drink and cigar for a set price of £20. Excellent value all around. The Drew Estate Undercrown Robusto was very enjoyable; strong but it mellowed after the first third, and became a leisurely creamy, peaty smoke with vanilla and nuttiness towards the end. Then came one of the Cubans, the Romeo y Julieta No. 2, which was much lighter, a real silky smooth smoker, more oily and fruity than the one before. The first was paired with a bourbon, and they went very well together, perhaps fighting a bit after lighting but finishing off complimenting each other smoothly, whereas the Romeo shared taste buds with a tawny port, and could not have been better – Christmas flavours were present for sure.

CC-bar

We were lucky enough to be involved in another cigar tasting evening the following night, at the same venue, which followed the same format but with two different groups of people arriving to savour the delights. The Drew Estate Larutan Big Jucy was a favourite, as it had been on the Wednesday, with its maple syrup flavoured tip lasting until the cigar is extinguished appealing to the newcomers. Again the event was a great success, and for us it was topped off by the fact that we got to try a couple of Partagas D4 (widely regarded as the best Robsuto sized cigar available in the world), which was very smooth and full of flavours throughout – roasted nuts, smooth sweetness, like a mince pie warmed on a plate in front of the fire, and helped along again by the tawny port. Very enjoyable. Over the 2 days we met some interesting characters from the world of high finance as well as an Island politician and a group of younger chaps on a birthday celebration, so a real mix with differing views, but all taken by the magic of cigars, with a pledge to return soon and do it again.

The best thing about these events is being able to try things you wouldn’t normally have the chance to. The cigars on choice were: Romeo y Julieta No. 2, Drew’s Undercrown Robusto and the Larutan Big Jucy, a Macanudo 1968 Titan, and a Don Tomas Classico Corona; a great all round selection from Cuba, Honduras, the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua, and incorporating tobaccos from around the world.

Lihou Island

Then it was time for a complete change of pace as on the Saturday a group of us took our respective families to a small island called Lihou off the west coast of Guernsey, which can only be reached at low tide over a causeway. After some fun with the kids, a scavenger beach hunt finding flotsam and jetsam, and some climbing and hiking, it was tea and bedtime for the younger members, and a few light ales for us oldies. A group of us ended up outside on the decking to savour a choice of, you’ve guessed it, fine cigars – the AITS special Dunhills went down well, as did the Undercrown again, but I went for a different one again, the Drew Estate Liga Privada T52. The T52 is another Drew Estate beauty, fuller flavoured than the Undercrown, but richer and smoother, with a great burn nearly all the way down. We joked and talked until late and once again the experience was full of joy. Unfortunately the bottle of 2007 Plum Brandy secreted away to enjoy with the cigars was spilt and lost to the elements on the trip over to the island, which was disappointing, but maybe the cigar flavours came through all the more because we were concentrating on them, not the drinks!

When the tide dropped the following morning the weather changed and a big shower come through drenching us all, and we realised how lucky we’d been with the dry weather the day before. Lihou is a fantastic place, a nature reserve, RAMSAR site, and place of environmental study. Well worth visiting and if you can stay the night even better, but don’t forget your supplies as there aren’t any shops and the tide will stop you from getting back for hours…

Happy Puffing!

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