Vino E Sigaro
Written by: Mike Duch and Stephanie Inzalaco
“I drink a great deal. I sleep a little, and I smoke cigar after cigar. That is why I am in 200 perfect form.”
– Winston Churchill
A few months ago, I was sitting down smoking a nice Davidoff Winston Churchill with Aldo Cascio, owner of The Brick House and Aldo’s, and Bergen County’s most eligible bachelor, Mr. Anthony Corrado of the famed Corrado’s supermarkets. The humidor was looking a bit bare and I was in desperately needed to spice things up for the local guys. Aldo looked over and said, “What about cigar lockers?” I’ve been kicking the idea around for a while and figured it was about time to add some more elegance to The Brick House Cigar Shop. Before I get to that, let’s discuss the delicious stick we were all enjoying.
Winston Churchill was bold, brash and deliberate. He was an absolute gentleman in the truest sense of the word. Davidoff, always known for its incredible cigars, was the perfect company to represent such an iconic historical figure.
A Davidoff Winston Churchill is always consistent. For an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper, the flavor is amazing. When you first light a Winston Churchill, you get the classic Davidoff flavors of hay and grassy notes, but as the cigar progresses, so do its flavors.
Not long into the cigar, I recognized this fresh cracked pepper taste. Have you ever dined at a restaurant where the waiter cracks pepper on top of your salad and you accidentally inhale the pepper when you take your first bite? It hits the throat hard, leaving you coughing like a 16-year-old smoking his first cigarette. Well I absolutely love black pepper and with the Winston Churchill blend has just the right amount of crack to it.
The silkiness of the Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper reminds me of a Bavarian cream donut, but I also noted the flavor of a tart lemon drop candy hitting the front part of my tongue. The ash is as white as a Kleinfeld bridal gown and the burn is similar throughout the smoke. Now, one of the stick’s major upgrades is the beautiful white band with Winston in the center puffing away in his Homburg hat. It’s an accessory as synonymous with Churchill himself as the cigars he often puffed on.
That’s my take. Now it’s your call if you’re up to the task of tasting a cigar befitting one of the world’s most iconic historical figures.
Back to those lockers. After some comprehensive research, I found a craftsman in Texas who specialized in cigar lockers. The pictures I saw on the internet were beautiful, and the reviews from our peers in the cigar world made me more confident he was the man for the job. We spoke for what must have been hours, designing every aspect of these customer lockers, from the unfinished Spanish cedar that would need to match the walk-in humidor, to the beautiful brass inscribed nameplates that would adorn each locker. After what felt like an eternity, the six-week process was finally completed and The Brick House Cigar Shop humidor was changed forever. Now, the shop was a place many of my customers could also call home – a place where they could enjoy a cigar at leisure while sipping on a glass of scotch they brought or a bottle of wine. So far, many have done just that.
Only a few days after the lockers arrived, one of my clients, Frank, brought in a bottle of Amancaya. My partner, Steph, just happened to be there as well, and I’ll turn it over to her for a quick review.
Amancaya, a collaboration from Chateau Lafite-Rothschild and the Catena family, is a Malbec and Cabernet blend from the winery at Bodegas Caro, located in the heart of the Mendoza region of Argentina. It is deep red in color, much like Melisandre’s robes on Game of Thrones. We noted that the nose presents aromas of plums with a hint of Breyer’s chocolate chip mint ice cream, but even more so the smell of those Greek Kourambiedes cookies. (The ones covered in powdered sugar with the clove inserted in the middle.) Hey, it’s all Greek to me.
At first, I thought tasting the Amancaya in a cigar shop would put me at a disadvantage to pick up on its true notes. However, the lingering smell of tobacco and vanilla spiced latte actually provided the perfect balance to keep me in the autumn mood.
On the palate, Amancaya is robust, rounded and well-balanced. It reminded me of chocolate covered strawberries, like the ones Uncle Chuck brings by the shop from time to time. From a textural standpoint, it’s soft like a Loro Piana cashmere and easily drinkable.
Weeks later, it was time to celebrate the arrival of the lockers the only way the crew behind CorksandMatches.com knows: a cigar and wine party.
Aldo came over with some arancini and lamb chops and the Amancaya kept on flowing. Coincidentally, the food paired perfectly with the fruitiness of the malbec grapes and the fortitude of the cabernet grapes. We continued to smoke Davidoff’s throughout the night. Mr. Churchill would have been proud of us.
A night of enjoying cigars and wine with close friends and family can’t be beat. That’s why this fall we hope to host many more. We look forward to seeing you there!
Originally Posted in the Fall 2015 issue of Talk of the Town. Pages 54-55
Talk of the Town is a gentleman’s lifestyle magazine that exists in the northern Bergen County, NJ region. The magazine contains editorial that focuses on such areas as home theater systems, media, electronics, cars, cigars, technology, premium men’s fashion, men’s health, and unique spirits.