Thursday, March 31, 2011

I like Cognac too….and J&D Cigars

Last night I had a bit of an outing with TommyG, a new writer here on S&B.  We decided to get together, sample some cognac and check out the new 9th Street Hookah Lounge.

Since I’m not a big fan of Hookah, I decided to take along a new cigar I received as a sample from J&D Cigars, a Perfecto from their Temptations Line.

J&D Cigars is a new cigar company and these are not yet on the market.  I believe the price point is $7 a cigar and the tobacco used is Nicaraguan.

The cigar itself was fairly green when I got them in, so I had been letting this one sit in my Humidor for a few weeks.  So I was glad to finally have an excuse to break it out.

The wrapper was clean and showed no veins.  In fact, it was a little heavier leaf than I would have expected.  It looks like it would hold up well.

The initial draw was a little hard, and I attribute this to the freshness of tobacco.  Definitely could use a little more time in the humidor.  Once lit however, it was easy to maintain and burned evenly with the ash holding together very well.

The taste was great, with upfront flavors of leather and spice (nutmeg).  Hints of toasted nut and honey rounded out cigar and the it held throughout the stick. 

A very robust and well rounded cigar that I would highly recommend to any of my friends.  A little heavy perhaps for beginners, but one that I would not be ashamed to pass out.  I give 4 out of 5 stars, and that score could go up with a little aging. It paired perfectly with the sweetness of the cognac we were drinking and I believe it would also go well with a good Irish Whiskey, like Red Breast.

Stay tuned for other reviews on this brand, as both Tom and Rex have samples to write about as well.

Now, on to the cognac.

Sometimes called “The Healing Drink”, the Water of Life or even the Elixir of Nature, cognac is a unique drink named after the town of Cognac France.  Although variety of Brandy, to bear the name of Cognac, the liquor must meet some strict requirements.  It must be made from certain grapes (Ugni Blanc is the most common), be double distilled in copper pot stills and finally, aged in oak barrels (specifically from Limousin or Troncais) for at least two years.

The most famous brands are Courvoisier, Hennessy, Martell and Remy Martin.  Also Gran Marnier is made with cognac and distilled essence of bitter orange.

One of the confusing things about cognac is the rating system, so I thought I would throw in some definitions before we get started.  These are basics, there are many more out there.

  • VS -Stands for Very Special. VS cognac is stored for at least two years.

  • VSOP -Stands for Very Special Old Pale. VSOP cognacs are stored for at least four years.

  • XO -Stands for Extra Old. The cognac in this category is stored for at least six years but usually the average is around twenty years.

  • Napoleon -BNIC states that this is equal to the XO quality, meaning it is aged for at least six years.

cognacLast night we sampled the Courvoisier VS, the youngest expression of the Courvoisier line. We did not do cocktails, we stuck with the drink being served neat.

  • Color- Golden
  • Nose- Sweet and Fruity with hints of Vanilla.
  • Taste- Very Rich, the flavor of vanilla comes through well (not overpowering) along with apricots and peaches. There was also oakyness that I would normally associate to bourbon.

Overall- I can definitely see this as a dessert drink due to the sweetness.  After a full meal, sitting back with snifter and cigar would be perfect.  While I wouldn’t drink it every day, I wouldn’t cry is someone served it to me either.  Solid 4 Star.

Finally, a word about the Hookah Lounge.  I really enjoyed my time there.  The place was neat and clean, and the staff wasn’t overbearing.  They were welcoming and not put off that I brought in my own cigars and didn’t partake in the Hookah experience.  As one of the last bastions that you can smoke in CoMO, I found it very refreshing and would recommend it to anyone.  Great job folks.


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