Flor de Cano Regional Release Asia Pacific Grandioso (July 2013)/Stone Pine Black Truffle Gin/Delamain ‘Vesper’ Cognac
Two very different spirits this time, to go with a lovely cigar.
The Flor de Cano Regional Release Asia Pacific Grandioso, from July 2013, is a most worthwhile member of the regional releases, up with the best. That said, and I am pretty sure that Rob and I did them for a vid when they first came out, it is not one I see often. Assume that production was not dissimilar to usual (a little research reveals that production was up with the top releases – 5,000 boxes of ten)? They just do not ever seem to pop up on the radar. If anyone has any thoughts on why that might be, please let me know. Did they get a bad rap early? Or was it so highly regarded that they just disappeared into the vaults, never to be spoken of again? Sadly, none disappeared into my vault.
My first impression was not thrilling, because these are monster gauge cigars. Yes, stick that baseball bat in your mouth. Basically a giant Edmundo. Mind you, 52 is not out of the norm these days. Does one just give up and accept that these are in fact the new norm? Does one just concede? Is it all over for small ring gauges?
“What? Over? Did you say ‘over’? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!… It ain’t over now, ’cause when the goin’ gets tough, the tough get goin’. Who’s with me?” At which moment, I run out of the room by myself. And if you are too young to get this reference, may I express my sympathy on a life that has missed out!
But today, it is back to the big bopper. The immediate impression is of a cigar that is soft and cuddly. Oodles of creamy coffee notes, quite sweet, some citrus and as it evolved, some raisiny notes. It went very Christmas pudding. For me, this is not necessarily an absolutely stellar stick, not classic (please do not ask if it fits the Flor de Cano DNA – I have no idea), and not one that we’ll remember for years. But it is a joy to smoke. Delicious. Very easy going. I think most newcomers would love this. Very approachable now, though even after half a dozen years, the last third came across as too young. So it has life ahead. Really enjoyed this. 92. Really do wish some had found their way to my vault. In retrospect, and I think I said the same for the previous Kenfessions, the match that might have really worked well was the mystery port.
What we had for drinks, however, was a Stone Pine Black Truffle Gin up first. This is a seasonal product that I really enjoy – I saw recently some northern hemisphere spirits producer conjured up the idea of a truffle vodka and trumpeted it like the second coming. Someone please let them know, done downunder ages ago. My first impression of this gin is that it is an ideal gin for a martini. My second impression was that it is not an ideal match for a cigar, even one as easy going as this one. The earthiness of the truffles does sit well, that lovely feral fungal note, but otherwise, a little jarring. It is a fine gin, but the only reason you’d match it with this cigar is because you really wanted to drink gin and didn’t really care about the matching aspect.
Next up, the Delamain ‘Vesper’ Cognac. Delamain is a small, though quite old House, having been founded in 1759. They are definitely a high quality cognac House and this one, the Vesper, is a cracker. The Vesper is based on a blend of cognacs some 35 years of age. After the blending, it is returned to barrel for another two years.
Spice, cinnamon, raisin, lemon rind and garden herbs. Perhaps even some tobacco leaf. The spirit is balanced but certainly noticeable, giving it an impressive ‘fire and ice’ character. It sat more easily with the cigar than the Gin but was really more of a good match than a great one.