03 December 2008

Benito vs. the Cigar: Santa Damiana Tubulares Grande + Ports

A while back I got a mystery box of different cigars, which included ten Santa Damiana Tubulares Grande (6½"x48). Connecticut shade wrapper with the rest of the tobacco coming from the Dominican Republic.

It's a medium bodied cigar with lots of incredible aromas and flavors that are perfect for the holidays: hazelnut and almond, touch of vanilla. The tube is convenient for transporting the cigars when you're going to be away from the humidor for a while (which is why tubos are popular among golfers). With several potential cigar smokers in attendance, I brought them along for the post-Thanksgiving relaxation.

Here's a fun trick to do with a brandy snifter, though you'll want to use a good cigar and a decent Port, Sherry, or Whiskey. Slowly blow the smoke into the snifter and let it roll around on top of the drink. It will slowly waft away and change the flavor of the beverage in interesting ways. Plus, it looks cool. Paul was kind enough to pose for the photo--as always click for a larger version to see more detail.

What's in the glass? We tasted four different Ports after Thanksgiving dinner. In order from left to right, we've got Graham's Six Grapes, the aptly named Benjamin Tawny from Australia, Smith-Woodhouse Reserve, and Dow 10 Year Tawny. Three of these Ports are courtesy of Fredric; I'd suggest checking out his detailed notes from the tasting he hosted. The odd man out is the Benjamin, which has flavors of raisins, orange, apple, and spice. At $15 it's a great bargain.

Even if you're not a cigar smoker, it wouldn't hurt to keep a couple of bottles of Port on hand. They're wonderful after dinner, pair well with cheeses and desserts, and are perfect for slow contemplation in the cold winter months.


Samantha Dugan said...

Okay first of all I want to try that glass trick now if only to have a cool ass looking picture like that. I was a cigar smoker a few years back but found that as an actual smoker, (I know...vile) that it was too bloody hard NOT to inhale so alas I gave them up, but I do love being around others that are enjoying them, something about the smell...decadent.

You seem to enjoy Tawny port, you play around much with Medeira? I ask this with a glass of Cossart Gordon 5 year old Bual in my glass, (a chilly 57 degrees here this evening, mock away but for us SoCal folks this is sweater weather)I just love the slightly savory, beef broth flavors in Bual Madeira....just curious if you spend much time with my beloved "Island" wines. So funny when I sell these wines I tell people, "You can keep this bottle...with the top off, for years on your counter and it will never change" truth be told once a bottle is open in my home...gone in like 4 days!

Benito said...


I love Sherry, Madeira, and the wide world of fortified wines, but I tend to get easily distracted by Scotch, Port, and occasionally Cognac when shopping for after-dinner beverages.

I'll try to grab a Madeira the next time I'm stocking up. It is fun to tell dinner guests the story of casks of wine slowly cooking in the holds of Portuguese sailing vessels.