Flying Visit to Amsterdam
With only a day in Amsterdam I needed to squeeze a lot in. I started with late lunch at the Lion Noir (pub feel, tasty food and good service), then strolled over to P. G. C. Hajenius for a post-prandial cigar. The charming assistant at Hajenius, leading me around the conditioned room packed with the finest cigars, offered up a 2009 Limited Edition Magnum 48 from H. Upmann. She said that the aged tobacco leaves used in the wrapper, binder and filler made it really special. It certainly had dark good looks and a firm feel in the hand. I don't have the nerve or facilities to store aged and vintage cigars at home — and Hajenius certainly do — so I thought I'd give it a whirl. She handed over matches and cedar spills and I made my way to the cigar lounge. I joined a Dutch chap, based in China, who was in the lounge enjoying a pipe before returning to Schipol. I pumped his fin, then unbidden he vouched his opinion on Brexit. I kept mum as I wasn't in the mood for a debate — being slightly sozzled from lunch. I lit up and mused that the cigar lounge in Hajenius is perhaps the only place in Amsterdam that doesn't have the pungent aroma of smoke from industrial-strength cannabis.
The cigar was splendid, providing a smooth and creamy smoke with aromas of chocolate and spice; though it lasted longer than expected, which meant I was slightly late for the early evening cocktails at Door 74. I was thinking to order a Brandy Alexander, but was revivified in the end by a cocktail called To Be or Not To Be. The drink was mixed from prickly pear-infused mezcal from Mezcales de Leyenda, Belsazar Rosé Vermouth and Crème de Châtaigne by E. Giffard (1886), and was a cracking way to usher in the evening.
Ripe Old Age
You know how you become interested in something and then you see it everywhere? Well after I'd enjoyed the aged cigar at Hajenius, the following weekend I read about the rising interest in aged and vintage cigars in an excellent piece by Nicholas Foulkes in the FT's How to Spend it?
Read it all — it's most informative. They say 'left to mature too long, cigars can decline just like old wine – and ageing will not improve a bad cigar'. Interesting that they also say in the article that Upmann age well. They know what they're talking about at Hajenius. Friends, it's never too late to seek a newer world.