Newsletter / ISSUE 2 | WINTER 2020
Updated: Dec 9, 2020
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Here is our second newsletter, the winter edition!
Launching our first issue was great. Sending our second is even greater! The amount of positive feedback and the greetings we’ve received have added to that pleasure.
While writing this issue, several countries went into lockdown again. The US just experienced what was a unique presidential election. The increasing atmospheric pollution and global warming is reaching unprecedented levels, causing the thawing of the Arctic permafrost and the release of two potent greenhouse gases at a tragic rate.
These are only three main global events with worldwide consequences. We all have personal views on those. What might seem agreeable to everyone is that – in the grand scheme of things – the decade of the 2020s has definitely started in a perilous way. Shouldn’t we do something?
Is this taking us far away from our cigars? When genuine, the tasting of cigars is a school of life. In order to learn, progress and understand our tastes independently of any influence and bias, we need to acquire authentic knowledge, factual experience, and open-mindedness. Like when we try to navigate today’s bizarre, changing and hazardous times.
Pause and reflect. Be sceptical.
Stay strong. Stay safe.
Act. Be positive.
LA LEY cigars express richness, complexity and character while being subtle and elegant. Complex aromatic scents and finesse deliver an exquisite combination of personality and balance. Controlled strength, elegant sweetness, sometimes metallic tastes, and distinct progression are signatures of the refined LA LEY character.
Based on typical vintage cigars, LA LEY’s aromas, tastes and mouthfeel appear familiar and somehow reminiscent of something already known, of something from the past. Typical LA LEY aficionados are those who openly appreciate authentic vintage, aged flavour profiles and who are in search of aromatic finesse and quality. The cigars will appeal to those passionate enough to recognise these special flavours in a blind tasting. Many vintage mainstream cigars do not deliver the level of satisfaction equal to the cigars that have crafted their history and legend. And the tasters who remember these cigars wander in search of such sensations. LA LEY is made for them.
LA LEY also addresses younger tasters in search of newer, more complex and finer elegance in the aromatic diversity of their cigars.
Those willing to embark on such a discovery journey will indulge in every LA LEY tasting. It is indeed a unique experience.
Originally created in Cuba between 1875 and 1883, LA LEY was born from a passion for ageing. Like many precious and aged cigars, the taste reflects the experience of time. And the aura of the brand conveys that period in history: minimalism, passion, genuineness, principles, and ideas for a better world.
Nearly four years were necessary to develop the blend that ultimately expresses richness and balance at the same time and the delicacy in its moderate strength. With this last trait largely shaped by the effect of time, it is probably the main attribute of extraordinary cigars.
Developed and produced today in Nicaragua, the LA LEY blend has a signature of finesse, depth, quality and personality, and is ready both for tasting and ageing.
Tasting LA LEY cigars will thrust the aficionado into the fantastic world of cigar tradition and the elegance of ageing. Sophisticated and experienced vintage tasters will recognise a feeling of déjà vu.
LA LEY es la ley (LA LEY is the Law).
BAD POROSITY OF THE BOQUILLA
It is vital that the porosity of a cigar be well balanced, given the importance of this parameter for combustion. Inadequate porosity is caused by too high a density of raw material. The number of leaves making up the bunch therefore has a direct influence on the porosity and consequently on the draw of the cigar.
The internal porosity can be analysed by looking at the foot of the cigar, the boquilla. This visual examination should reveal an average density/compaction. With experience, the taster will recognise the optimal personal level of porosity, because the appreciation of a slightly lighter or heavier draw is completely personal.
Nevertheless, even if the porosity at the boquilla seems good, it does not necessarily guarantee a satisfactory draw. It is, logically, only an indication, because the draw will be determined by the porosity of the whole length of the cigar body.
Many of my cigars seem plugged and do not draw. I sometimes have so much trouble with air not passing through my cigar that I need to discard it. Is this due to how I store them? What can I do to reduce this and not lose so many cigars? Semaj B. from Silly, Belgium.
If there is too much or too little resistance to the passage of air through a cigar during a puff, this can be the result of several errors.
By far the most common, however, is when an inappropriate quantity of raw material (too much or too little) has been used in the rolling of the cigar. In relation to its diameter, every cigar needs to have an optimal amount of leaves or density.
A difficult draw may also be due to the presence of a knot caused by the bad initial positioning of the filler leaves or by the fact that they were inadvertently twisted when the binder was wrapped around them. Finally, a cigar can also be plugged due to the wrong positioning of the calzo, or pieces of leaves placed at both extremities of the filler to homogenise its density.
Besides these human errors, one technique of cigar rolling called empalmado may increase the risk of a bad draw. Consisting of placing the open leaves on top of one another during the rolling, the filler therefore shows a book-like structure rather than that of an accordion. While this technique can produce absolutely flawless results, it also tends to produce a higher number of problems that affect the draw.
If this is too great a problem, the aficionado will indeed give up and abandon the cigar, creating a certain sorrow and a definite financial loss. This is sad and should not happen.
Created by men and women and thus imperfect by design, cigars can reveal certain failures, as mistakes can occur from time to time. But if it happens too often, it is definitely due to human error and/or lack of discipline.
PHOTO OF THE ISSUE
Virar el pilón – the rearrangement of leaves in a fermentation unit
Packed together in a unit, the leaves undergo a natural increase in temperature and create the required conditions for setting off fermentation and further temperature increases.
In order to avoid a detrimental temperature that is too high, the fermentation unit is pulled apart and then rebuilt when a limit is reached, which causes an interruption of the process. This rearrangement is performed two to four times per month and done according to the leaf variety, texture, and the productive objective of the expert.
Grand Rue 46 1820 Montreux, Switzerland
Tabashop is a family shop located in the heart of Montreux, Switzerland. For 50 years my father, Patrick Monbaron, ran the business. And now it is me doing my utmost to pass on our family passion for cigars. This year we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of Tabashop! My father and I took the opportunity to redefine the concept of the shop from A to Z. Today, we are very proud of the result. In a way, we have realised one of our dreams. We like to offer our customers what we think is the best.
One of the cigars that I really like is the Furia Megaera, a vitola made with top-quality tobaccos. The draw is excellent, the smoke abundant, with a very gourmet brioche side and aromas of dried fruit, especially almonds. The tasting is very pleasant, with round and creamy smoke, evolving into toasted and honeyed notes that increase in power, without any aggressiveness. A superb success!
For me, a cigar represents, above all, a moment of relaxation, and it is important to take one’s time! A moment of disconnection in a pleasant setting. I like to share my latest discoveries with my customers. Tabashop’s philosophy is to educate aficionados to taste less but better! For me, a cigar is an opening of the mind to infinite flavours.
The key to the future of our industry? It is to guarantee high-quality tobacco, to work with brands with the same DNA as us and to put quality before quantity, and knowing how to pass on the passion by proposing exclusives and organising events. For my part, I have had the chance to travel the world and visit several cigar factories. The goal today is to transmit this passion to cigar lovers, whether they are novices or experts.
Today, Tabashop is proud to offer more than 1,200 types of vitolas and is lucky enough to be the dealer of many prestigious brands. Come visit us or take a look at our online shop.
Grand Rue 46
T: +41 219637070
LE COMPTOIR DU CIGARE
14 Rue du Vieux-Marché-aux-Poissons, 67000 Strasbourg, France
My name is Gilles, but in the region they often call me ‘President’.
To be honest, my favourite cigar from DH Boutique Cigars is hard to choose. After reflection, I would say it is the La Ley Robusto, which is very well balanced and very well built. It is neither too strong nor too light and has a very nice evolution with pleasant creamy and smooth notes.
It always amazes me how a mixture of leaves can give so much pleasure to connoisseurs, and so many different tastes and aromas. Bringing people closer together and fostering exchanges and sharing, the cigar is often a great remedy for isolation.
If I were a customer in my own shop, I would like to be given the best possible advice, to have my expectations met, to be served with kindness and attention. I would like to leave with a smile on my face and say, ‘Thank you, I’ll be back soon!’
For the future of our industry, it is absolutely necessary to defend the cigar – each one of us, and as far as we can. We must encourage people to enjoy cigars, rather than smoking just about anything. Don’t forget to specify that tasting a cigar is a great learning of taste and a school of life. Bar and hotel owners should also be motivated to design pleasant tasting areas.
And why not one day demonstrate together to defend this beautiful art of living with a cigar in your mouth! We must promote intelligent control of our industry, and stable prices and taxation. Moreover, all the prohibiting is forcing us more and more to enjoy our cigar in reclusive conditions like pariahs! This is not normal.
In any case, let’s stay positive, because the future is bright and it’s up to us to build it as we wish. So enjoy life and cigars!
LE COMPTOIR DU CIGARE
14 Rue du Vieux-Marché-aux-Poissons
LA LEY ROBUSTO 5 x 54 – L: 127 mm – ø: 21.43 mm
LA LEY ROBUSTO / Liga ID
The LA LEY Robusto is a thick robusto – 54 ring gauge – that offers a harmonious tasting with balance and character. The cigar reveals an abundant richness with several layers of aromaticity. On one hand, the aficionado can relax and taste without too much thought, allowing the moment to be controlled by the natural expression of the cigar, without any fuss.
On the other, the aficionado can decide to discover the cigar’s depth with a retro-olfaction tasting. The experience will drastically change, and the cigar will deliver an explosion of aromas, tastes, and a surprising penetration in the overall flavour profile
BLEND – An international blend of leaves harvested in four countries. The wrapper leaf is a typical rosado from the exquisite valleys of Ecuador, while the binder is from Estelí, Nicaragua. The filler leaves are grown in Nicaragua, Honduras, and an enigmatic fourth country.
AGEING – Moderately aged leaves from three to six and half years (aged two more years than standard leaves).
AROMAS & TASTE – A notable richness and a well-rounded character. Rare elegance and finesse, with balanced metallic and sweet notes.
STRENGTH – #6½ to #7 fortaleza – Medium to full-bodied.
PROGRESSION – An enjoyable evolution in strength and aromatic richness; and consistently balanced.
COMBUSTION – Easy and complete.
ASHES – Solid, compact and white.
LA LEY ROBUSTO
In the mouth ...
Look: Rosado or carmelita
Fortaleza: 6.5/10 – Medium to full
Aromas: 8/10 – Complex and rich
Taste: 7.5/10 – Creamy and subtle
Mouthfeel: 8/10 – Soft and refined
Flavour Balance: 9/10 – Perfect balance
Flavour Finesse: 8/10 – Bouquet well formed
Flavour Vitality:8/10 – Genuine ageing potential
Flavour Progression: 8/10 – Refined progression
Tasting Time: 1 to 1½ hours
And to play with pairing ...
Here are some of the best pairings we’ve experimented with for you during the writing of this newsletter. Like all pairings, they are personal and emotional, but always enjoyable to try.
• Short drink: Caroni 23 Year Old 1994 (Trinidad, 57.2% ABV, distilled 1994, bottled 2017)
• Long drink: A good pisco sour (not too much sugar, please!)
• Non-alcoholic: White tea Yinzhen from Fujian Province, China (be careful not to let it steep for too long)