Partagas LE D2 2003 – Laphroaig 15-Year-Old Malt
I have a dilemma. Granted that in the overall scheme of things, this is likely to be seen as a First World problem unlikely to occupy the great minds of our era, but it is a dilemma nonetheless.
Recently, Rob and I enjoyed a couple of stellar cigars (thanks Bill), but no spoilers as to exactly what they were (stand by for a future video). Suffice to say that they were one of the great cigars from one of the top Houses and they had considerable age. They were in perfect condition. Rob suggested that cigars do not get any better. And then gave it 97. My argument was that if they don’t get any better, why not 100? For mine, I vacillated between 99 and 100 and eventually fell into the latter.
All good, so far. Actually, all very good, so far.
The problem arose last night when I had a Partagas Limited Edicion D2 from 2003. Lord, take me now. Simply one of the greatest cigars I have ever had, right from the first puff. Prior to this, there was a Hamlet DC I smoked at the Jose Marti Airport late one night while waiting for a flight home. This matched it.
An absolutely entrancing, captivating cigar that just blew me away. As good as the previous cigar (the one smoked with Rob) had been, this left it in the dust. Concentrated and powerful, yet finely balanced. Opened with a strong roasted nuts character and moved through leather, cinnamon, spices, dry honey, nutmeg, warm earth and molten chocolate. Wonderfully complex. Utter heaven. 100 from the first puff to the very last (with blistered fingertips, as I desperately tried to hang on for every last waft, like some sad addict). It had the richness, balance and complexity that one expects in the best from Partagas and also that lovely dark molten chocolate of the finest LE’s. if there is any complaint, it is simply that, at a bit over an hour, it was all over far too quickly.
So, having given the earlier smoke 100, what the hell do I do now? 110? I would if I could. For now, until some of the world’s great minds apply themselves to this and come up with an answer, I’ll simply give them both 100 and be thankful.
To match, the Limited Edition Laphroaig 15-Year-Old Malt, which was released for the 200 anniversary of the distillery. A lovely mix of orange rind notes and those lovely Islay peaty, smoky characters, with hints of cinnamon. A supple texture, a little spirity and plenty of length. A superb spirit.
Together the malt and the cigar melded immaculately. Each offered their own idiosyncrasies and the rich expressions they each possess individually, met in an explosion of joy. A truly beautiful combination.
A further dilemma. If you have something as good as this cigar, should you even try and match it with anything? It was a fabulous team, but did it enhance the cigar? Probably not really, though it certainly didn’t detract. The idea of matching, whether it be food and wine or spirit and cigars is to improve the overall experience. If it doesn’t do that, should you bother?
It has always puzzled me the way certain wine geeks get so absorbed in the match. For me, if you are enjoying the wine and you are enjoying the food, provided they do not demonstrably clash and detract from each other or the overall experience, then you are good. If they enhance it, a bonus. Same with this. Love both and that, for me, is usually enough. That they melded superbly was a bonus.