Sunday, April 06, 2008

Smoke for thoughts....

Overwhelmed and under stress with work, consumed my well-being for the past whole month. Although the cloud of intense deadlines and on-going projects still hover over me at this point. At the end of the day, I will replace this cloud of stress with my cloud of pure smoke joy. I had find nick of time thru breaks to exam my love of smoke paring with tea. Recently, my choice of a non habanos is this Puro Robusto limited edition 07 from Davidoff. Smokers raved it one of the best closest choice cigar you can get to a fine Cuban. Of Course, I am up for it. If I can even find a close resembling in the US to the Real Thing!

A mere 688 miles parted this two Country, but the different in soil, sees, climate and terrain was a world apart. The aging character is also very different. The Puro Robusto use a blinder of 1992 vintage leaves with fillers from different areas: San Vicente Ligero, Piloto Seco, Piloto Ligero and Olor Seco. Released last year 2007 September, only 12000 was made. All this effort is to produce something similar to the real Cuban. At the end... still a world of difference.

I did pared it with a range of tea. From 8 yrs. roasted Taiwanese oolong to a 03 Tuo, Yiwu young, 15 yrs. yiwu and highly roasted 15 yrs. TGY. I find it best with the Menghai 2005 Anniversary 2kg Limited Beeng. Why? I think is because of the use of blinding for both tea and smoke. The lack of complexity of the smoke could be balanced by the complex favor of the MH blends. The tea can give what's the smoke is missing: The floral and qi from the tea, exchanging the leather and earthy of the smoke. The spice of the smoke complementing the youth and energy of this young tea....etc

My thoughts on bending somehow relates to: 1. Hiding a floss. 2. Stabilize a product, and 3. Maintaining quality and enhancing the notes. This "Cuban want-to-be" Dominican do archive the basic level of a good Habanos: The fine oily aging of the wrapper, the smooth rich robust taste which produce a fine snow ash structure, and the aroma of an aged finest tobacco matching the body of the taste. But what its leaking is the aging complex characteristic.... The smoke overall is nice but with a mono, simple dimension. No evolution in its 2 or 3 stages. I had experience fine Cubans which can give 5 to 7 stages of character changes. Sounds familiar? I always draw parallel with tea and smoke. There are so many aspect which they both share: Plant quality, environment which they are grown, harvesting, pre-processing, skill of aging, skill of making into a final product, storage, aging, and the skill of consuming.

No matter how hard you age a fine non-habano, it will never archive the long maturity of a fine Cuban. Many Habanos are not even ready until a 10-15 yrs. first aging period: It will be interesting to age fine young habano side by side with a young yiwu cake. All in all, some tea are in the same level when they are young. But once they put to the test of time, many do fade. Can we afford to paid the price with time, discovering in the future, what been aging in our storage are too common? I think I will have a more relaxing state of mind, after the next few weeks....


Hobbes said...

Dear Toki,

A marvelous experiment. I have often wished aloud that I could smoke cigars/pipes, and it's a vicarious pleasure to read your article on their pairings with particular teas.

Many thanks, and toodlepip,


toki said...

Thanks Hobbes.
You have one of the best Cigar retail store in London- the Davidoff flagship store. Best selection in Europe!

Paring tea and smoke is so much fun : )

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