2021- October – Our Annual Portmann Cigars Visit

12 Oct

It is a ritual by now that Frank, Jos and I take a yearly trip down to Switzerland to visit our good friend Mr Portmann.

Last year was the only exception due to the freaking pandemic.
We used to drive in Jos’ old VW Bus, but that bus has been retired by now … so we used Frank’s magnificent Benz ( better suited for German Autobahn’s as it has automatic mandatory left lane priority and speedy passing rights … 🙂

This year we had a new addition to the group, Frank’s ( Non-smoking ) brother Gino decided to come along.

As usual the trip began in my village at Café Fritz where we had a good lunch. By then Frank had done 4 hrs of driving. Another 4 awaited us.

We were very fortunate with the weather as it was sunny and 18C, but pretty cool by the Lake Constance evenings and mornings as there was a cool breeze from the Alps made cooler by the lakeside humidity.

Following Jos’ long-time wish, we stopped for dinner some 10 minutes before the Swiss border at the nice village of Allensbach, just behind the Hegne monastery.

The restaurant is called “Schnitzelfarm” and that intrigued Schnitzel lover Jos – he HAD to have a good Schnitzel there !

It was so good that we reserved a table for next day lunch before driving back home … Highly recommended !

Then it was checking in at the Hotel Kreuzlingen where we feel at home – great service, excellent staff, good breakfast and right by the Lake Constance plus close to Portmann.

We sat outside in the cool breeze relaxing with a few good beers and fantastic Farm rolled cigars from the best farm in the Vuelta Abajo. Very yummy

Next day, after a good breakfast and a small morning cigar we visited Portmann Cigars to spend a good 3 hours smoking, selecting and talking cigars ( and about the good old times we shared in Cuba ).

While smoking a fantastic 9 year old Portmann 45 Anniversary with Mr Portmann I asked him some questions regarding the Habano Man of the year cigar box that he gets for life courtesy of HSA.

The question had been raised in the Friends of Habanos forum that I am a member of, so I decided to interview Mr Portmann, himself awarded the prize – here are his answers :

He selected Cohiba Siglo VI and he receives one box a year. 

The box is sent via Intertabak to him with a letter from HSA or is presented to him at the February Festival del Habano event.  

It comes without the Switzerland commercial/warning/price stickers but has boxing date and factory stamp. 

No chance to receive or ask for discontinued cigars. Only standard regular production boxes.

No RE’s, no LE’s, no Reservas or Gran Reservas. No Duty Free products either.

We received a superb service as always, had a great selection of cigars to choose from and left with a full trunk of beautiful boxes of Habanos…

Schnitzelfarm again for a good lunch and easy cruising on the Autobahn back to my village for a great dinner of Cordon Bleu at my local restaurant Gaststätte Zum Treffpunkt cooked by my friends Mario & Steffi.

Frank offered the new La Flor de Cano Elegidos, a short filler cigar that looks good and has a very reasonable price for its size but to me it is too harsh, too “brute” and I could not finish it.

I smoked a creamy and excellent Hector Luis Farm rolled instead that went well with the bottle of Jack Daniels that we shared to celebrate the trip.

Next day we had breakfast at the local Hotel and Reiner was kind enough to open up the cigar lounge “Reiner Genuss” and had the heating on so we could have a small morning cigar and coffee before Frank took the drive back to Belgium.

This is the cigar lounge where we will host our Belgian friend Didier Houvenaghel next Thursday when he visits us to introduce his new book – looking forward to it !!

Gino was quite impressed with the trip, he has asked to come along next year – Pleasure Gino, you are a great addition to the group !

Once again a great trip !

Nino

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