I'm not sure about you, but the thought of finally going abroad — and to a resort getaway at that — had me buzzing with excitement for months beforehand. The last time I was in the East Coast of India was over four years ago. This time out, we were headed down for a shorter period (note: one week in India is never long enough) with a wedding in Mamallapuram splitting the trip to Chennai.
The wedding set up in Mamallapuram, India
Mamallapuram is home to several picturesque coastal resort hotels, and is just a 40-minute trip down from Chennai via the East Coast Road. With plenty of time allocated for pool-side breaks, long post-dinner walks along the beach and dips in the Bay of Bengal, I had some time to think about which smokes to bring with me. Due to the nature of weddings always becoming a bit intense (especially Indian weddings!) I wanted cigars that were slightly compact and quicker to smoke, easy to travel with, but that didn't compromise in flavour and intensity. When you're looking to do a little resort getaway where the temperatures push 40-degrees and the views are endless, these are the Cuban cigars to take with you.
The Montecristo Especial No. 2
Montecristo Especial No. 2
This Montecristo delivers strong, complex flavours whilst keeping a smooth profile throughout. The most prominent notes in the wonderful cigar are rich coffee, spicy cinnamon and kicks of pepper. A fantastic bouquet of flavours which any aficionado will approve of.
Por Larrañaga Montecarlo
The Montecarlo is fast becoming one of my favourite quick smokes. Featuring a Deliciousos vitola, it measures 159mm by a slender 33 ring gauge. It's full of only the finest leaves from the famous Vuelta Abajo region of Cuba, and provides a light- to medium-bodied smoke. Expect woody and sweet flavours, with a smoke time of around one hour.
Hoyo de Monterrey Le Hoyo du Depute Cigar
Hoyo de Monterrey Le Hoyo du Depute
I'm aware this is quite childish, but I really love the name of this cigar — it's so much fun to say. It rolls off the tongue wonderfully. Hoyo de Montterey Le Hoyo du Depute. Spectacular. Anyway, the cigar's Trabucos vitola measures at 110mm by a smaller 38mm, making it a great smoke for those of you looking for a short respite from the festivities. It's delicate, with notes of fruits, pepper and minerals.
If you're gonna do it. Do it properly. The Cohiba Exquisitos is known to be a favourite of former El Laguito factory director, Emilia Tamayo. She was incidentally the first woman to run a cigar factory in Cuba. Featuring a Seoane vitola, it comes in an excellent length of 125mm and a ring gauge of 33 – making it slightly larger than its sibling: the Cohiba Panetela. This excellent Cuban cigar is completely hand-crafted by a single talented Torcedor. With its slender size and lighter floral flavours, this Cohiba is an ideal morning smoke. Its smooth, quick burn also makes it perfect when you're short on time.
Por Larrañaga Montecarlo
Finally, the Punch Punch. Full of finer flavours such as coffee, cedar and leather, it proves to be a delicious smoke that will only get better with a little ageing. It features a Coronas Gordas vitola - measuring 143mm by a 46 ring gauge. It's a widely popular Cuban cigar format among aficionados.
The predicament, now, is deciding which cigar you're going to smoke first.