Talisker meets Simon Bolivar

by John Valavanis


We are opening a cellar to see where the ball will sit today! Something classic I would say, but I haven’t decided yet, along the way it will come out. And my eye falls on the ideal Talisker 10-year-old. Further back I also had 20-year aging, 62 degrees, but better some evenings with the night and my bed closer! Classic island malt, the only one from the Isle of Skye, is very marine with an intense spicy peppery flavor that gives it the combination of smoking, peat, and iodine. Perhaps the best malt in the world as the famous Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson had said. In its homeland, it is also nicknamed, “The Lava of Cuillins” because of its volcanic flavor and the Cuillins hills of the Isle of Skye. In the aftertaste, you also notice some notes of citrus fruits and heather, which of course, as a stomach aficionado, I eliminated by accompanying it with a little smoked salmon, equally peppery, and a little bric. What to do; I succumbed to the sea side of it!

Confused now about what to smoke, what will fit? With such intensity and aftertaste easy in a sense, as long as you have the right kind in stock in the humidor! Bolivar Bellicose Finos, simple and classic but also worthy of its course and history, since it bears the name of the famous liberator of Latin America, Simon Bolivar, counting as a label exactly 100 years of history! With so much sea and iodine I needed something softer and more earthy to balance my palate, with a fruity matching taste but at the same time intense, to be able to balance with the Talisker. This Habanos of the Bolivar company of J.F.Rocha, founded in 1921 in Havana (at Calle San Miguel no 364, just above the factory of the Upmann brothers), with its 52mm ring and 14cm length was the most suitable – then from the three years it rested in my humidor- to accompany midday study. And don’t tell me it’s small. Instead, it’s best suited for my two midday drinks and intensive study. Maybe a third party could. After all, it’s Sunday, let’s throw it out after all the hardships of quarantine!