Away from the main­stream

Vir­tuoz­ity’s club lim­i­tada heads To st. regis bar To sam­ple some off-the-beaten-track cigars and sin­gle malts

Virtuozity - - Event -

Vir­tuoz­ity’s Club lim­i­tada re­cently de­scended on st. regis bar at the st. regis Ho­tel dubai for a night of glam­our. the evening saw guests en­joy fine ex­am­ples from Padron Cigars, paired with stun­ning sam­ples of Jura sin­gle malt whisky.

the venue, lo­cated in one of dubai’s new­est five-star ho­tels, has al­ready made a name for it­self. adorned with wood and leather, the cozy st. regis bar re­calls the Gilded age with be­spoke cock­tails, in­clud­ing the dubai-in­spired Golden mary and other bloody mary in­ter­pre­ta­tions; wines, spir­its, and co­gnac; and fine cigars from Ha­vana and beyond.

Cer­tainly it was the ideal set­ting in which to en­joy an evening of fine taste fea­tur­ing some top-notch cigars and whiskies. What’s more, the cigars and whisky were from brands that are of­ten, we think, un­fairly over­looked. some­times it’s bet­ter to step away from the main­stream and sam­ple what some of the other play­ers are pro­duc­ing, and that’s exactly what we did.

The cigars

the first cigar we sam­pled was the Padron 1964 aniver­sario serie diplo­matico, which comes from a range fea­tur­ing to­bacco that has been aged for around 10 years. it’s a nice-look­ing Churchill vi­tola—box­pressed with wrap­per, bin­der and filler from nicaragua.

Pre-light, you’re given aro­mas of hay and strong to­bacco, along with some cedar and flo­ral notes. light up, and those same flavours come to bear, ex­cept that they’re paired with a much spicier feel­ing. there’s def­i­nitely a hint of pep­per in there, but it all goes beau­ti­fully well with the cedar and flo­ral notes. later on in the first third, the spici­ness sub­sides con­sid­er­ably, and is re­placed by some­thing more bit­ter—it’s like strong cof­fee mixed with ul­tra dark

choco­late. Again, it’s ex­tremely pleas­ant, but it’s cer­tainly sur­pris­ing how many flavours the cigar can come up with.

And that feel­ing of sur­prise car­ries on into the sec­ond third, where the cigar changes again. Sure, there’s still a base of to­bacco and cedar, but ev­ery­thing else is much more mel­low. The spici­ness com­pletely dis­ap­pears, as do the pep­pery notes. What you’re left with is a very smooth and flavour­ful smoke that’s an ut­ter joy to puff on. Great plumes of creamy smoke bel­low from this stick, and it’s all sweet and lovely.

The fi­nal third car­ries on in much the same way. Ev­ery now and then, a cou­ple of bit­ter notes come back, but be­cause they’re closer to dark choco­late rather than cof­fee, they fit in quite nicely with the whole ensem­ble. Over­all, this is a re­ally en­joy­able cigar.

The same could be said of the sec­ond cigar of the evening—the Padron Se­ries 4000. A corona grande, it comes with a ring gauge of 54, and takes around 90

min­utes to smoke. It’s medium to full­bod­ied in na­ture, and cer­tainly it uses that fact to its ad­van­tage by serv­ing up a com­plex ar­ray of flavours.

The first third re­veals a rea­son­ably strong spicy kick, which is ac­tu­ally a lit­tle harsh on the throat at first. How­ever, that quickly sub­sides, and this sec­tion of the cigar is largely char­ac­terised by pep­pery notes with a lit­tle bite to them. That these notes are set against a back­drop of earth and to­bacco is wel­come—the whole pack­age is bril­liantly bal­anced.

The sec­ond third re­veals some wood­ier notes, which are added to the base. In­deed, the fur­ther you go down this cigar, the more it feels like a com­plex (and high­qual­ity) en­tity. The top notes tend not to mat­ter as much (although there are sweet and spicy flavours that come out ev­ery now and then), sim­ply be­cause the main base flavours are so in­ter­est­ing. Go­ing fur­ther, you’re treated to cedar, earth, to­bacco and leather—all com­ing about at dif­fer­ent points.

The fi­nal third is some­thing of an an­ti­cli­max, with the cigar car­ry­ing on in

much the same way as the pre­vi­ous third. This isn’t a dread­ful thing (as the sec­ond third is ex­tremely en­joy­able), but it would have been nice to see such a com­plex flavour pro­file re­ally ex­plode dur­ing the fi­nal third. Ei­ther way, you can’t es­cape the fact that the 4000 re­ally is a pleas­ant way of whiling away 90 min­utes.

The drinks

Whiskies for the evening were pre­pared by sin­gle malt spe­cial­ist Jura, which gets its name from the small is­land off the west coast of Scot­land that shares its name. The orig­i­nal dis­tillery has stood in its spot since 1810 but fell into ruin. In 1963, the brand de­cided to res­ur­rect it and with it, help to re­vive the lo­cal com­mu­nity.

Ever since then, Jura has been us­ing its tall stills to cre­ate a unique range of whis- kies. While some brands just do sweet and oth­ers only smoky, Jura does both. It may not be tra­di­tional, but it means there’s likely some­thing in the range to take your fancy.

For this evening, there were two Jura whiskies to sam­ple. First was Jura Prophecy, which is heav­ily peated with a sweet and spicy fin­ish. It’s a com­plex whisky aged to per­fec­tion in­side Li­mousin oak casks. Some say it tastes of peat smoke with fresh cin­na­mon and spicy sea spray. But like any great story, it’s al­ways open to in­ter­pre­ta­tion.

The sec­ond whisky of the night was Jura 21 Year Old, a full-bodied sin­gle malt with marzi­pan, wal­nuts and bit­ter choco­late. Ma­tured in vin­tage casks, it has hints of maraschino cher­ries, soft marzi­pan, but­ter choco­late and flavours of cit­rus fruits. It’s one whisky you won’t for­get in a hurry.

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