Published on February 16th, 2018 | by Ken Gargett1
Cohiba Piramide LE 2006 | Montecristo | 25-Year-Old Edmund Dantès Rum
It had been one of those days when there had been enough crap to justify a great cigar. Plus, I’d taped (do we still say that?) the wonderful movie, ‘Buena Vista Social Club’, and had been keen to watch it again as it had been a while. I’d promised myself a cracking cigar to do so. It had been a long while since I had seen it, but I was seriously stunned to learn the film came twenty years ago – 1998. Can’t help thinking of Basil Fawlty. “What was that? That was your life, mate! That was quick. Do I get another? Sorry mate. Back to the world of dreams”.
It was wonderful to see it again and it reflects a Cuba that I think of as the Cuba I know far more than that of today. I know the place still has a long way to go but the old rubble for streets, crowded camel-buses, people sitting around just passing time, playing dominoes, music coming out of homes, crumbling ruins for buildings and for cars – this is what I first saw. Today, a lot of that might apply, but all the kids have mobiles and laptops. More tourists. More buses. More development.
Saw the band a number of times. Even met a few on various trips. Met some bloke very briefly that I thought might have been Ry Cooder, but he was disappearing off somewhere. Sadly, Compay Segundo passed away the month before we first went to Cuba. Loved him in the film – ‘I’m 90 years old. Been smoking cigars for 85 years. I have five kids. Working on the 6th”. And he appeared young and fit enough to make it happen. Sharp as a tack.
To see how much joy it gave those guys to be playing music and to have the opportunity to do so at Carnegie Hall could not help but bring a tear to a glass eye. And of course, the music is fantastic. It was all a bit of a blast from the past, but it was such a wonderful film. A classic.
And I wanted a decent cigar. So I went with one from the Limited Edition range, the Cohiba Piramide LE 2006 (POS DIC 06). I have always found these very good and I think that they are getting better and better. 12 years of age and I really think they have not got near their peak. What a great cigar. This was rich, with some chocolate. Complex. Great length and balance. Some molten chocolate here. The power really kicked in towards the end. Smoking so well. I really do think that these still have a very good future. Be in no rush. I gave it 97. Other than near the end when the power kicked in, for most of it, this was a subtle and gentle smoke. Almost gossamer like.
Now, one has to drink something pretty smick with it. It deserves that. At the back of the cupboard was the remains of one of my great bottles, the 25-Year-Old Edmund Dantès Rum. Comes in a triangular white porcelain container. Personally, I think that it looks hideous, but the contents make up for it. I’d drink this if it were festooned with swastikas. After my first draft, thought I should see what info about it could be found on the net. Turns out that the thing is made of “Bidasoa Porcelain”, which is from the Basque region of Spain. And the decorations are 24-carat gold. Only a couple of thousand bottles are made each year and distributed around the world. Decided I liked the thing a smidge more after that.
The story of how I got this bottle involves a dear friend known to many on the forum, Hamlet Parides. On one visit, I’d picked up a Santiago limited edition old rum and was chatting with Hamlet. Those who know him will know his interests are not limited to cigars but extend widely, especially baseball and rum. I asked him if there was anything better in Cuba than the Santiago. He told me about this rum, but offered the caveat that obtaining one was extremely difficult as they were very rare (on another visit, I asked if there was anything better than this one and that was when I first heard of the mythical Isla del Tesoro). Hamlet promised to try and source a bottle for me. He did so – it was not cheap, but I trust his expertise on both cigars and rum and I was glad to grab it when next over there. I have since discovered that while it might not have seemed cheap, what I paid was a steal. Today, if you go on wine-searcher or such sites, it goes for around a grand a bottle, if you can find it.
It was a little more powerful than I recalled. But so finely balanced, so long, so textural. A smoky note. Some caramel. Power, richness, length and finesse. What a rum. It was a little like salted caramel that was still gooey. If I were scoring, 99.
As a match, not sure I have ever encountered better. 100 points for the match. Two superb individuals which both lift when paired. It seemed they were made for each other. And even better, made for me!
I have no doubt that the BVSC would have approved. Music to my ears.