Partagas 8-9-8/Asahi Super Dry Beer; Grand Marnier
We continue the double drinks experiment. This time, I went with two utterly different drinks to see what we’d come up with.
But first, the cigar. A Partagas 8-9-8 of undetermined age, though after smoking it, I think it had a number of years under the belt, but not ancient by any means. The first time I have tried one of these in quite a few years – yes, so many cigars and so little time to smoke them all. Immediate impression is that this is all old school. A nice thin (ish) ring gauge – 43 – and Lonsdale sized. So thumbs up from the kickoff. The flavours are instantly powerful, take-no-prisoners stuff. I think Rob and I did a vid of these some 6-8 years ago. No idea what we thought. I’m going to go out on a limb and say I suspect we enjoyed it.
There is serious power here. Concentration. Leather notes, some wood, dark chocolate, earthy tones. Full bodied power. Roasted nuts. Did exhibit some attractive and pleasing complexity. I’d go so far as to say that while those who enjoy this style will be very happy, this is not a cigar for beginners. A Voldemort of a cigar.
One issue I did have was that I was smoking it on a fine but very warm summer afternoon. I think it is better suited as the last cigar of a winter’s evening. But, there was precious little I could do about that. I had it at 90. Worth having a box in everyone’s humidor as, even if not your style, no doubt you’ll have friends who’ll love it. Personally, probably a bit too powerful for my usual preference, but one I enjoy on occasion.
Drinks? First off, a cold beer, the Ashai Super Dry from Japan. Japan’s largest beer producer, so we are not talking weird and wonderful craft beer. I’m sure most of us know it. It is a clean, fresh, easy drinking dry style, which was perfect for a warm summer arvo. Not quite so perfect for this cigar. The power and richness of the flavours, with serious length, completely overwhelming the beer. One of those occasions when both were far better off enjoyed alone. They really should never have met.
If going beer, I would think this cigar would work nicely with a richly flavoured stout/dark beer. A Holgate Double Trouble might have been a stellar combination. Sadly, not to be.
The second attempt was something a bit more left field, Grand Marnier. That old standard that everyone’s parents had at the back of their spirits cupboard, but which almost never saw the light of day, unless they were cocktail fanatics or perhaps for use in certain desserts – apparently it is very popular in Crepes Suzette.
For those not familiar, it is a French orange based liqueur. And here is a shocker, again not ideal for a Queensland summer afternoon. I had it on ice, which took about four seconds to melt. Around 40%, based on cognac and quite sweet. And by ‘quite’, I mean ‘children’s confectionary, day-at-the-fair and vomiting after’ sweet. One interesting thing – it was created/invented by a chap called Alexandre Marnier-Lapostolle (thankfully, it was not called Grand Marnier-Lapostolle). The name was conjured up by another gentleman called Cesar Ritz. In return, Alexandre helped Cesar purchase and establish the Hotel Ritz Paris. Grand Marnier is now part of the Campari Group.
The flavours are basically richly flavoured orange. Perhaps one could find a cigar to work, and in fairness, the sweetness and citrus certainly was a better match for the Partagas than the beer, but again hardly ideal. Okay if one wished to be generous, but not great. To be honest though, again, never the twain should meet…
So in summary, two duds. It happens. Don’t blame the cigar, just find a better combo. The mystery port from a recent Kenfessions would have been so much better, I suspect.