So yesterday the Columbus Circle store was closed for the day to perform our annual Physical Inventory. (We were closed for an entire weekend at the Madison Avenue store earlier in the month for the same thing). It was a long long day of counting and recounting, organizing, stressing... but finally when it was all over everything came out ok.
As is tradition for us... after a big day, we all stick around to enjoy a celebratory cigar and beverage. Last night was no exception! I had a bottle of Chivas Regal 12 year old that I had received as a gift upon my original appointment to GM of the CC store back in May of 2006. We ran down to Whole Foods market for some Bubbly Waters and Crostini to munch on. I left the cigar selection to Kevin Threat, our Assistant Manager. "I got a taste for a Small Batch", Kevin said. Now, the Litto Gomez Small Batch is a monstrous cigar. This was the first "Small Batch", using only tobaccos from 2002. Currently on our shelves is the end of the "Small Batch No. 2's", and apparently the "Small Batch No. 3's" are in the works and on their way.
Anyway, we all fired up our well aged "Small Batch No. 1" and began chatting. From store issues to new products, to future events... it was a great meeting. But we kept becoming distracted by the cigars. They were incredible! What were once ferociously strong and aggressive, had become a bit more tame. It was balanced, and accessible though still wonderfully full bodied. David Alicea (one of our CC store salesmen) noted some definite chocolate notes. I thought it had a solid core of real "tobacco" flavors; spice, leather, earth... some dark woods, dark ripe fruit... it was a real treat to smoke this great cigar. We all came close to burning our fingertips and lips!!
But, what it reminded me is just how interesting it can be to age cigars. Of course cigars are manufactured to be enjoyed "immediately", meaning as an industry it's not as popular to age your cigars as a general practice the way it is in the Wine Industry for example. But, a well aged cigar can be such a pleasure to smoke. Aging allows the blend of the cigar to really marry, creating more synergy in the flavors and more complexity in the finish. Everything generally becomes "rounder". Mild cigars don't necessarily benefit from aging, but strong cigars certainly do, and the LG Small Batch- though it was certainly very good "new", was a shining example of how great aged cigars can be.
The bad news- they're gone.
The good news- the 3's are on their way!!!