Up in smoke

Simon Thomson
There’s something delightfully decadent about smoking a cigar on a boat, even if it’s moored at the Victoria Embankment. The deck of the HQS Wellington was the venue for the first tasting of importers Hunter and Frankau’s latest UK regional edition Habano cigar, a La Flor de Cano Gran Cano.

Attendees were presented with a pack containing three cigars, two of the Gran Canos, and a Ramon Allones Petit Belisco, which was last year’s UK Habanos regional edition.

The Gran Cano – a five and a half inch by 50 ring gauge Gordito, sporting a band with the words “Exclusivo Gran Bretaña” – is entirely handmade using a long filler, with leaves sourced from the fêted Vuelta Abajo tobacco growing region in the far west of Cuba. The consensus among the gathered faithful was that it’s mild, comforting and familiar, with a slow, even burn, and a consistent flavour throughout. Still springy to the touch, and with reassuring heft, it is substantial, and extremely satisfying.

The experience was enhanced by some well selected drinks. HineCigar Reserve Cognac was developed to compliment cigars, imitating and enhancing their flavour with rich, warming notes of honeyed fruits that linger on the tongue. There was also a pair of Dalmore whiskies, the 18, aged in bourbon and sherry casks, with a dark, mature palate of coffee, candied citrus and spices, and the standout tipple of the evening: the Cigar Malt. It was aged in American bourbon wood, Matusalem Oloroso sherry casks, and finessed in cabernet sauvignon wine barriques. At 44 per cent ABV, it cuts through the smoke to deliver a burst of cinnamon, vanilla, sweet tropical fruits, and a creamy aftertaste of sherry – a perfect counterpoint to the mellow Gran Cano.

The UK Gran Cano regional edition 2013 is available for £179 for 10 from cgarsltd.co.uk