Excelencia – Cigar Weekend With Friends

15 Dec

nfc capA wonderful and impressive cigar week end in Belgium and the Netherlands sharing with good friends.

It started Friday noon when I arrived in Overijse at De Kelle, an amazingly interesting store with a wide selection of books, comics and … cigars.
Yes, both Cuban and Non-Cuban cigars in a very well kept walk-in humidor by the very knowledgeable owners Nancy and Christophe.

Christophe attended to my coffee needs after selecting a perfect PL PC to be smoked at the relaxing smoking lounge in the rear part of the store, in itself an amazing bar and very civilized & cosy lounge.

Cliff arrived from Kortrijk and we exchanged some rare cigars before walking next door at “Lunch & Cookies” for a very satisfying Pasta lunch.

It was back to the lounge for another Pt Corona and coffee before continuing to Leuven where I met a good friend at ( I guess ) the only indoor smoking room in a public bar in Belgium, Metafoor, near the Oude Markt.

Smoking a very good Cohiba Reserva we exchanged plans and information on Cuba and I gave him a nice P 170 with the special band from the last Encuentro.

Matthias and Karen arrived and we had another cigar before going for some delicious mussels and back again to Metafoor for a last cigar.

Next day, after some walking around the Leuven Christmas market I drove to the south of the Netherlands to meet Jan and have one of the most memorable cigar evenings in memory.

To call him a collector would be an understatement, he is a cigar smoker who collects cigars, humidors and memorabilia, but most of all an extremely hospitable and generous friend to his friends.

After a short while we were joined by some old and some new friends, all passionate cigar smokers, for a long session of smoking, sharing and enjoying only interrupted by an excellent homemade dinner cooked and served with love by Jan’s wife.

I had brought a box of Diplomaticos Excelencia ER Cuba from my last trip to Havana to pass around and share, a cigar that was OK, being very fresh now and might improve with some years on it. We all liked it and had positive words.

The negative factor is trying to find a box in HAV as they seem to be sold “under the counter” with a “win-win” profit factor for both sellers and buyers ( merchants in both cases ) that leaves out the regular smoker or collector.

I received some interesting BS when asking around for them last month in HAV, like : They all sold immediately the first day, they all went to Venezuela, only 7.000 boxes is too few for such a big country of 11 million ( wonder how many Cubans bought a box … ), known foreign merchants bought them all, etc.

Back to cigars – we passed around some incredibly good cigars like an Aroma de Cuba stick from 1959, Rodolfos, and I shared very rare Lanceros with some age on them as well as Coronas Extra.

It was simply a dedicated & inclusive cigar gathering with good friends and real people, without the BS and the fuss and the circus of an exclusive organized cigar event and the difference was remarkable, it was familiar, simple and real.

One of the discoveries made was an interesting cigar passed by Pieter that both the others and I liked a lot – when it was revealed as a Don Tomas I could not believe it, I had smoked them so many years back and now, after smoking so many excellent Cubans I was to re-discover them. Amazing.

It was a most wonderful afternoon and evening with some very interesting and extremely friendly people sharing the same passion for the best cigars there are. I am sure not the last gathering with these open, down to earth and generous guys that welcomed me so warmly.

Next day it was lovely to share coffee and a cigar before breakfast with Jan and to end it with some serious cigars before leaving Jan back to his tranquillity and his famous cigar remote control.

Truly a memorable cigar session that words cannot describe – Thank you Jan !


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