Min Ron Nee Vintage Cigar Tasting In The Village

15 Feb


nfc capLast December, Min Ron Nee, the author and collector from Hong Kong, was so kind as to send me a selection of rare vintage cigars for a tasting with friends.

These cigars are : 1950’s C.E. Beck Albas, 1950’s Maria Guerrero Favoritas en Cedro, 1960’s Partagas Seleccion de Luxe cabinet made for UK merchant Fribourg & Trever, 1960’s H.Upmann Noellas from the glass jar, 1970’s RyJ Clemenceaus, 1970’s Cohiba Lanceros. See attached pictures of them being smoked by MRN and a good mutual friend.

So I planned a gathering a good group of friends at our Pharmacy Cigar meeting February 13-th to smoke these cigars, review them, drink a glass or three to my upcoming Cuba trip, celebrate my birthday as well as the launch of a new venture consulting on cigars..

Frank came from Belgium, Walter Born from across the Rhine river  cancelled last minute and was quite sorry to miss it – I will keep a cigar or two for him.
Regrettably Yannick from France could also not make it – he’s gearing up for the Festival trip to Havana.

That left just Frank and me to the task.

First of all, we would like to thank MRN for this generous present and the chance to smoke cigars from his famed collection !

Frank arrived quite early around noon and, after a cigar in my Cafe to wind down from the long trip, we went over to Josef’s home for a good and solid lunch of Rinderrouladen and a bottle of fine Bordeaux.

We started the tasting with the 1950’s Maria Guerrero, a machine made cigar. Very light, mild – interesting but expired by now.

After that light experience I needed a … cigar – we took up the H.Upmann Noella from the glass jar and … it was fantastic experience.
Smoking slowly we found all the aromas and strength still alive and kicking. Delicious.

We paused for coffee, cake and 18 yr. old Vigia rum at my home and while there I placed a call to MRN in Hong Kong giving him our opinions so far on the cigars.

Frank had a long conversation with MRN and finalized the details of our upcoming trip to visit him in Hong Kong later this year.

It was then down to the Irish pub where we smoked the Partagas Seleccion de Luxe for Fribourg & Trever.

Wow, the experience was getting progressively better and better with each cigar smoked. Brilliant cigar, astonishing depth and aromas.

We opened a bottle of Talisker Dark Storm single Malt and it went along so smoothly with the cigar. I don’t like peaty malts, but this one – due to it being stored in charred casks ? – was ever so smooth. Perfect pairing !

I bought 6 bottles of this limited edition malt at Frankfurt airport and will see I get some more before I take off for Havana in 4 days.

We then moved over to the pharmacy for the cigar meeting and smoked the RyJ Clemenceau after some light dinner there.

Again another big score – perfect cigar to finish the tasting, we were astonished to see it so full of life. What an experience !

I have to respectfully disagree with a good friend’s tasting notes on this cigar, see below.

But then, the guy is a reviewer and I am just a smoker… 🙂

Yet to come will be the C.E. Beck and the Cohiba Lanceros from a ’70’s diplomatic box … the best for the End.

It was a 6 cigars / 12 hour day for me and I needed the training in cigars and booze to hit Havana well prepared in 3 days … nevertheless the hang-over Saturday had impressive proportions …. 🙂

Oh well….


MRN Tastings December 2014 in HK.

1) ROMEO Y JULIETA CLEMENCEAUS / On Saturday 13th, 2014
Physical: 5 / Flavour Intensity: 3 / Overall Strength: 3 / Balance: 3-4 / Elegance: 3 / Complexity: 4

Good cigar but unfortunately with limited aromatic richness (diversity and intensity) in the mouth and nose. As strength is still there, the cigar might improve with time but with the risk to lose some of the little aromas present. Thus this cigar is still slightly too strong to show fully enjoyable elegance but is already low on aromas, thus making a further aging risky. Nevertheless this is a good cigar.

2) COHIBA LANCERO / On Sunday 14th, 2014

Physical: 5 / Flavour Intensity: 4 / Overall Strength: 3 / Balance: 3 / Elegance: 4 / Complexity: 4-5

Very good cigar (and format!) that is still showing some potential for further improvement with aging due to current (slight) excessive strength. Beyond this ‘overwhelming’ strength, the complexity, the elegance and the balance of taste is really nice. Really enjoyable cigar that gives even deeper perspective with expectations of improvement with time. Great tasting.

3) C.E. BECK ALBAS / Pre-revolution cigar around early-50’s / On Sunday 14th, 2014

Physical: 5 / Flavour Intensity: 3 / Overall Strength: 1 / Balance: 3-4 / Elegance: 4 / Complexity: 4

Beautiful format! Cigar with ugly wrapper but with fantastic dry aromas. The box was sealed and opened just before tasting (a moment of magic!), thus cigars started breathing and delivered a surprisingly nice dry aromaticity, considering the age of the cigar. Very low body generating a frustration but balanced with the joy of tasting history. Cigar very enjoyable in balance and complexity as a whole but probably technically slightly too old considering its current low body and taste and mouth aromas.

Many thanks to MRN for allowing me to discover those cigars, great experience… Priceless…


4 Responses to “Min Ron Nee Vintage Cigar Tasting In The Village”

  1. Keith 16/02/2015 at 01:41 #

    Sounds very nice.

    Happy belated birthday, Nino! Cheers.

  2. Arild 24/02/2015 at 01:32 #

    What a special day of cigars you and Frank had, a fantastic gift from Mr. MRN. Thank you for the reviews, fine pictures and great story!

    Wish you a happy belated birthday and all the best for your trip to Cuba!

  3. Pete 13/03/2015 at 01:13 #

    What is the reason behind wetting the cigars before lighting?

    • Nino Munoz 13/03/2015 at 16:27 #

      Hold the cigar, cap up and run cold water over it for a few seconds.

      Pat dry and smoke.

      This is a procedure which has been practiced to achieve certain ends for certain cigar conditions.
      It is not meant to be a general practice as it is not something that provides a uniform benefit across ALL cigar types or conditions

      Here are a few positive aspects :

      Wetting a cigar reduces wrapper cracks when smoking dry cigars
      Wetting a cigar enhances the flavour delivery of a dry cigar
      Wetting a cigar improves the burning qulities of a cigar