Cigar Aficionado

The Last Bottle?

What do you smoke with the last bottle of wine on Earth? I am not talking about the last bottle—it is not Armageddon yet. Nor do I think it will come any time soon, despite all the predictions from the freaks out there.

But I was in London a few weeks ago and some great friends of mine decided to organize a mega-blowout guys dinner. The key wines for the dinner were a small range of extraordinary 1989 Bordeaux, including the legendary oh-my-God-100-pointers Petrus and Haut-Brion as well as Lafite and Montrose. The Dom Perignon 1996 (one of the best ever DPs) as well as a mag of 2002 Jean-Noël Gagnard Chassagne-Montrachet Les Caillerets were going to be incredible.  So, the line up suggested a very special night to remember.

What could I possibly bring to complement what my good friends were laying on? I am a poor scribe. Besides, I have very little wine left in England—my ex-wife saw to that in our divorce when she sold my collection at Sotheby’s. But I still have about five cases of various bottles stashed in the cellar of a wine merchant buddy. So I went through a case of vintage Port and I found a dusty stout bottle with the roughly painted words “Niepoort 1927.” Yes, the legendary vintage of 1927. I didn’t even remember I had one.

Photo by James Suckling

I remember speaking to the owner of Niepoort a few months ago and he said that they didn’t have any 1927 in his Port house’s cellars. So, I believe I had the last bottle on Earth. The production of Niepoort in 1927 was tiny, and nobody would still have any now. It’s already almost impossible to find the big name 1927s like Fonseca, Taylor, or Graham.

I looked at the bottle and thought how those few ounces of sweet nectar would be gone forever when I drank them with my friends. But what the hell? That’s what they are there for. As I wrote in a blog in our sister publication, Wine Spectator, great old bottles shouldn’t be kept like relics in a museum. They are made to be drunk with friends and family. They are time machines that when you drink them they take you back to places and moments that you have never experienced.

So I took the last bottle on Earth of 1927 Niepoort, decanted and drank it with my friends. Check out the video at Wine Spectator.

The question in my mind was what to smoke with this glorious rarity. Luckily, London cigar merchant Edward Sahakian of Davidoff took care of it. He was invited. So, he brought a box of none other than the amazing Cuban Dom Perignon. The aged Churchill-sized smokes were breathtaking with the 83-year-old Port.

I find that old Cuban Davidoffs (Edward’s DPs were from 1989) are starting to dry out. Normally, if you have a box about 20 or 30 percent are tasteless. But these 1989 DPs were fabulous, delivering stunning aromas and flavors of dried flowers, cedar and clovers, with mellow tobacco and white tea undertones. They were so balanced and fresh, with nuts, mint and cedar aftertaste.

We sat in the library of my friend’s house near Regent Park, and puffed away on the Davidoffs as the last few drops of the 1927 went from our glasses into the wee hours of the night (morning). As we smoked the mellow Davidoffs and tasted the sweet Port, I thought how the world would never see or taste this elixir again. Extinct. Gone. But I was happy I drank it with my friends, and the sensation and taste of the 1927 Niepoort and 1989 Davidoff Dom Perignon will be forever etched in my mind.

"There you go James. Well said, and i enjoyed the post prandials, vicariously. Looking forward to the Festiva del Habanos blogs." —February 11, 2010 17:26 PM