Well, well well.
For a second there we probably all didn't think I was going to be inspired to do another round for quite some time. The new position I've taken as a wine distributor for the Alexandria area has been both rewarding and fully involved. The days are move far quicker and end much faster than anything I've ever done before. Because of that, some very serious posts such as my scotch/rye/rum tastings and distillery & winery tours (not to mention all that experience I've obtained over at William Grant & Sons and Catoctin Creek) have fell way side. I promise that these are not going to remain secret experiences and when things are less hectic (We are entering our craziest months here between family and work from all who participate in my circle). I will finally sit down and hit you with a barage of fun posts!
But I've got to say this. Humungous toast to Barbie and Jeff whom were spectacular friends and patrons during my time behind bars at Food Matters. I wish that could've lasted forever, but the outcome left me with many great friends, these two in particular have been some of our largest supporters in our personal adventures, especially Mary and WishCraft.Org
A final farewell party catered by us left us with warm hearts, tears in our eyes and a bar not willing to travel down south, happily into my loving arms! There generosity can't be left un noticed cause wait till you hear what' s in my wallet! I got a lot of stuff ranging from your average smirnoff vodka to exciting amaretto's and drams from across sea's with names I can't even read to you, to some big gems. I got a very nice reserve blend from Crown Royal, Bombay Saphire to unopened bottles of Patron, yum yum rums including pussers and 10 canes to the whole nine yards. But the black diamond, the most exciting thing I've seen so far (Though I'm sure more to come), is an exclusive cigar blend XO Cognac by Pinar Del Rio. Gautier.
I need to also quickly point out that when I first smelled and tasted this eaux-de-viex, the first thing I said was "this is really nice". Upon a real proper nosing and tasting after excelling my first breath I remember thinking to myself "Man, this really reminds me of a mild cigar!", that's when I wanted to read further past the label, which says Cognac XO in black letters and was the only thing I retained upon reading it as I didn't recognise the name. That first taste made me go, "Man, what is this stuff!" and damn near laughed allowed when I realised it was a cigar blend intended for pairing with smokes. I tickled myself for what is developing into an admiral palate! It smells and tastes of fruity, smoky and woody earth flavors concise with the exact same notes you'd find in a great cigar!
Very short (lol) breakdown and then tasting notes to follow:
Pinar Del Rio from the house of Gautier based in the 4th cru, Fins Bois, is named after the Cuban valley where the best tobacco leaves are harvested. It's an XO Cognac crafted in particular from the eaux-de-vie in the Paradise Cellar of Maison Gautier especially for cigar aficionados. Gautier was founded in 1755. The firm dates from around 1755 and was founded by Charles Gautier and remained in family hands until the 1970's. It is now owned by the the Belvédère Group as of 2006. XO, meaning Extra Old, is a classification stating that the youngest spirit in the blend is six years old. Traditionally, however, they are closer to twenty years. This one in particular has brandy as young as 15 years and as old as 60! Because the quality of cognacs such as this are increasing and the age specifications are almost entirely by general practice exceeding those limits, as of April, 2016 the government plans to change the minimum year requirement for XO brandies to ten years. And if you don't know, now you know!
The color is very similar to stained mahogany wood with an interesting green halo around its surface. Red grape and dried cranberries come across the initial nose, followed by what reminds me of fresh tobacco leaf and woody smoke. Fun caramel, orange candy and vanilla flavors join forces with fresh plank wood and BBQ mesquite. The finish is very smooth and slightly creamy, covering the entire mouth. The finish is the best part. I almost never say this as I am huge on the nosing, I could smell a drink for ten minutes without even tasting it because I enjoy that part so much, but this stuff truly finishes with a very similar sensation as that first time you walk into a cigar shop and your nose is just hit with warming sensations of smoke, leather, wood and fruit. After oxidising for over a half hours time, I noticed considerable notes of banana and baked apple coming through with No. 2 pencil shavings and a spice rack prepped for autumn or winter.
As of this post, at auction price, a bottle like this goes for some where between 90 and 100 American dollars.
Again, thanks Barbie, Jeff and all of you whom have participated in supplying the quality products you find here on The Next Rounds on Me. Expect more shortly!