Partagas Lusitania (LOM Oct 13) – Ron Edmund Dantes 25-Year-Old
We have seen both of these before, though not as a match.
The pairing came about as after the first glorious Origin, in some stupid blind fit of allegiance and confidence to the soon to be put-to-the-slaughter Maroons, I thought I should do my bit. And as every sports fan knows, superstition is incredibly important. Whether a red hanky in the pocket, refusing to allow anyone to leave their seats during an important innings (awkward if the innings takes several hours and one has had a few drinks), putting your left pad on before your right or having the same cigar as you had last time the team won, it all matters.
Back in 2011, as the glorious Reds made their winning run to the Super Rugby championship, as I got back in my car after one fabulous game, it so happened that the CD was playing ‘Born to Run’ (I know, a shocker). The song, not the album (do we still call them albums?). So my tiny brain immediately knew what I had to do to ensure that the Reds won the lot. Press ‘repeat’. Listen to nothing else but that song for the next six weeks. Change it only after we have won the entire thing. After six weeks of absolutely nothing but that song, even I was ready for something else. But it worked and we won the lot. I was happy to have done my bit (and I could have listened to it a few more times).
Well, as I had that stunning Partagas Lusitania for Game 1, where the Maroons played so well and had such a wonderfully unexpected victory, I had no choice. I needed to have another. From the same box (LOM Oct 13). This box has been a goldmine and I have mentioned it before. Had some truly brilliant Lusi’s from it, including a few 100-pointers. From 2013, I picked it up in Havana when Jose, a friend to many of us, and I were searching the stores for a good box. We’d rejected many, some of which would have failed to be considered adequate compost, let alone a suitable cigar. But then we finally found the gold on a sandy beach, the ruby in the mountain of rocks, the Coup de Ville hiding at the bottom of the crackerjack box – music fans will note the gentle segue from one music legend to another.
And indeed, the cigar was superb, though interestingly, it was different to the others from the box to date – much deeper, darker, more moody if you like. More mellow. It was a more mature cigar than any others to date, though please do not take that as a criticism. In the early stages, lots of nougat and toffee with some stonefruit. Then it moved into black fruits, dark chocolate and leather notes. For me, 97. Loved it.
And of course, if one is smoking such a monumentally good cigar and celebrating a glorious Origin win (oh yes, never truer words than pride comes before the fall), something truly special needed. I pulled out the Ron Edmund Dantes 25-Year-Old. Last seen drinking beautifully with a 2006 LE Cohiba.
I suspect I may have mentioned how I got this bottle. On one of my early visits to Havana, I was catching up with another good friend to many of us, Hamlet Parides, the superstar roller, and a man who knows and loves good rum. I'd asked Hamlet what was the best rum made in Cuba and this was his answer (on another visit when I asked if there was anything better, he did tell me about the mythical Isla del Tesoro – which is truly the greatest rum on this planet, for me). But he told me how hard it was to get. I asked him to keep an eye out.
I did also ask Rob, when I was back, that if at any stage he was talking with anyone from Montecristo, could he enquire about this rum. He very kindly did so. Unfortunately, despite the link to the famous literary Count, this is the Edmund Dantes Rum, not the Montecristo Rum, which is not Cuban, as was embarrassingly explained to our hero in extensive detail (somehow, this became my fault). I still get a giggle.
Anyway, after Rob’s epic fail (though I did thank him for his best efforts), I heard back from Hamlet that one of his friends’ friends’ friends was selling a bottle. Did I want it? Absolutely. It was not cheap (though way less than bottles go for these days – if you find one, about E700 looks minimum) and it comes in what I think is one of the ugliest “bottles” anything has ever been put in, and that is not excluding urine specimen tubes – a triangular white porcelain thing with gold lettering (apparently 24 carat, so perhaps not so ugly).
Trying it again the other day, there was a note of what seems to be VA. It largely, though not completely, blew off. There was a disturbing mustiness that one had to push past. Not overly encouraging but one soldiers on. The palate is the proverbial different kettle of fish. Amazing. Glorious. Complex. Deep and rich, though not overly sweet. No hint of the problems which afflict the nose. Offered touches of honey and molasses. Great length. For me, on the palate, this is 100 points and up! But the nose does detract. That slight dirty note is not a good start.. so for me, overall, 98.
And they could not help but be an ideal match. The more mature characters here, with the touch of nougat and toffee, mingling perfectly with the honey and molasses of the rum.
Apparently, only 150 bottles of this are released annually, all for the Spanish market, but no doubt some find their way elsewhere. I suspect that this information is perhaps a touch fudgy at best as an internet search suggests that there is not a single bottle for sale at the moment. On the planet. But worth keeping an eye out.
More importantly, the Lusi is compelling evidence of two things –
How good, a good example of this cigar is.
It is really worthwhile either buying boxes carefully checked by a professional or if you are looking yourself, be prepared to open as many boxes as you have to, to find what you are looking for. And if you don’t, hold off. Don’t accept a lesser box.