James Suckling

James Suckling
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A Boring Partagas

Posted: Jun 14, 2007 11:57am ET

A buddy of mine from Hong Kong, Thomas Boherer, stayed a few days in Tuscany at my house about a month ago and he was nice enough to leave a few cigars in my humidor. I am not completely sure of their age. But it seemed a current production smoke. They were big, burly ones too – a Partagas Salomones.

The Terroir of Cuban Cigars

Posted: Jun 4, 2007 11:06am ET
I smoked a H. Upmann Magnum 46 over the weekend with a winemaker friend in Tuscany who also spends a lot of time in Geneva. The cigar was fantastic and it came from a large stash of 46s currently on sale at Gerard Pere et Fils in Geneva, which remains one of the great cigar shops in the world. Apparently, owner Vahe Gerard stocked up on the smokes about a year ago because he was impressed with their quality.

Cigars and Cannes

Posted: May 24, 2007 10:54am ET
Cigars still seem to be in fashion in the movie world, at least in Cannes. I was in the South of France for the annual film festival last weekend with some friends from Hong Kong, including Peter Lam and David Tang—both who also happen to own a piece of The Pacfic Cigar Company Ltd., the distributor of Cuban cigars in the Far East as well as Canada.

When Passion Blinds

Posted: May 16, 2007 9:01am ET
I appreciate the intense passion or enthusiasm some people have for cigars, particularly Cuban. But I think some times it gets carried away and it leads people to say ridiculous things.

For example, I have heard people say, and have seen them write, that Cigar Aficionado rates fake cigars because the descriptors and quality criteria we use are not the same as the ones they use, or not up to their standards. Or if there is a typo in an article I write, or some other mistake, then I am intentionally trying to slander Cuban cigars and all 11 million inhabitants of the island.

Global Warming and Cameroon Wrappers

Posted: May 4, 2007 9:14am ET

My mobile phone rang early the other morning in Los Angeles, which woke me from dreams of sake and Trinidad Robusto Extras the night before. It was a bit hazy, but it was a familiar voice coming out of the small speaker—Josh Meerapfel, the young tobacco entrepreneur and grower who produces the best Cameroon wrapper in the world. If you smoke stuff like Fuente Don Carlos, then you have smoked Josh’s wrapper.

Cellaring Cigars

Posted: Apr 30, 2007 10:42am ET
I saw this this morning over my coffee, and I thought I better chime in. The parameters for aging cigars is always slightly subjective, but I prefer to have mine a little dry. That’s how it’s always been done in England, and the British are the specialists in aging smokes.

The Strength of Harmony

Posted: Apr 25, 2007 7:46am ET

About a week ago I had a small dinner party at my house in Tuscany with Giacomo Neri of Casanova di Neri and Vicenzo Abbruzzese of Valdicava. These two guys are some of the best wine producers in Italy, making Tuscany’s famous red, Brunello di Montalcino. I gave both of their Brunellos 100 points about a month ago in Cigar Aficionado’s sister publication Wine Spectator. The wines were the 2001 Valdicava Brunello di Montalcino Madonna del Piano Riserva and the 2001 Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino Cerretalto.

Lovely Lonsdale

Posted: Apr 9, 2007 11:06am ET
I am smoking a 1998 Partagas Lonsdale from a cedar cabinet of 50 cigars and it is lovely. It is balanced with lots of cedar, dried flower and cappuccino character. I don’t want it to go out. (92 points.) It was made in the Partagas factory in downtown Havana.

Taking a Break from Barrels

Posted: Apr 3, 2007 11:23am ET
I just lit up a Montecristo Petit Edmundo, and the spicy and tobacco character in the smoke is seducing me like a lost girlfriend who wants me back, and is willing to do anything to make me happy.

It’s just what I need after tasting close to 500 barrel samples in Bordeaux for the Wine Spectator over the last two weeks. I have been in Bordeaux tasting the region’s newest vintage. (Check out my report on www.winespectator.com.) And it’s been hard work. A lot of the reds showed excessive tannins either from being made from slightly unripe grapes or overextraction during the fermentation and macerations. But there are also some superb wines including: Latour, Margaux, Mouton, La Mission-Haut-Brion, Léoville Las Cases, Pétrus, Trotanoy, Vieux-Chateau-Certan, Lafleur, and Pavie. There are another two dozen or so outstanding wines.

A Petit Robusto Takes Me Home for the Night

Posted: Mar 23, 2007 11:11am ET
I smoked a Hoyo de Monterrey Petit Robusto the other night while finishing a bottle of 2000 Lafite with a buddy in the fashion business who lives near me in Tuscany. Is it my imagination or is the PR stronger than the Hoyo Epicure No. 2?

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