Win a Taste of Luxury This Christmas With Martell Cognac and “The 4th Course”

We all know Christmas is the time of year for great food and drink to be enjoyed in the company of friends, family and loved ones. So to celebrate such a wonderful occasion, we at The Gentleman Select have paired up with Martell, the oldest of the magnificent cognac houses, to offer one lucky winner, a stunning bottle of their signature Martell VS in conjunction with “The 4th Course” cognac serve, a series of delicious and unique after dinner food pairings to complement the classic Martell VS.

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A Guide To Cuban Cigars

Purchasing a Cuban cigar for the first time can be a daunting task. Much like Whisky, there are many different variations depending on taste and budget, and it can be a pricey mistake and a waste of a good cigar if chosen incorrectly. Luckily, our friends at The Havana Cigar Exchange in London have lent us their expertise to bring you some basics to think about when venturing into the humidor for the first time. Not only that, but as a Gentleman Select reader you can enjoy 10% off all their products until the end of November by entering THEGENTLEMANSELECT at the checkout.

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First Thoughts When Cigar Shopping

Shopping for a good cigar is like shopping for a good wine. You choose it according to the occasion, your budget, personal taste and to what you will pair it with. With the cigar you have to also consider for how long you are prepared to smoke it, as smoking one cigar can take up to 2 and half hours.

To buy a good Cuban “Habanos” cigar it is always good to go to a specialised cigar merchant who is dedicated to keeping their cigars in highest possible quality, using carefully conditioned humidors and rooms where they keep the cigars. Cigars are available at some corner shops, but usually you get them dry, cracked and slightly damaged due to lack of conditioned storage and staff expertise.

Once you choose your trustworthy cigar merchants and visit their shop, don’t be shy to discuss with him or her what you are after. There is no shame in asking for recommendations. Even the biggest cigar connoisseur wants to try new and different cigars from time to time. When you are selecting a particular cigar, choose the softer one. This will guarantee pleasant draw of the cigar. Tight or bad draw can really ruin the experience of smoking a cigar. Luckily, in the UK we have EMS (English Market Selection) quality control committee who checks every box imported from Cuba to the UK for any imperfections. This is one of the main reasons why Cuban cigars from the UK are renowned for their highest quality in the world.

Don’t Scrimp

As is with many things in life, our choice tends to come down to budget. Whilst we appreciate this is important, it’s also important to remember that cuban cigars are expensive even in Cuba, and the market is rife with cheap knock-offs. Avoid cheap cigars at all costs, because chances are they aren’t Cuban. Spend a little extra time choosing the right cigar for you and don’t base your decision entirely on budget.

Looks Are Deceiving

There’s a constant debate over whether the wrapper leaf affects the taste of a cigar, and to a certain extent this is true but it shouldn’t be assumed that the darker the cigar, the more intense the taste. Darker leaves grow at the top of the tobacco plant with most exposure to the cuban sun during their growth, and tend to have richer aromas and flavours than the lighter leaves which grow lower in the plant. Fermentation also makes leaves appear darker and, like alcohol, fermentation produces sugars which give the darker wrapper a sweeter taste.

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The size also contributes to strength and taste of a cigar. Many assume that the larger and thicker the cigar, the stronger the taste, which isn’t true. Longer, thicker cigars tend to start of smoother and creamier in taste. Thicker cigars will burn slower due to the larger burning surface, consequently producing a smoother and creamier smoke. With longer cigars, the smoke tends to cool before you taste it, providing a more pleasant smoking experience. Conversely, thinner and smaller cigars have a much more intense taste.

Undoubtedly, however, the bulk of the strength and taste you experience is the result of the filler (the 3-4 leaves blended inside the cigar itself). These leaves are specially selected by the master blender in the factory and are divided according to their strength and the field in which they were grown. The latter is very important, and much like wine, the location and quality of soil in which the tobacco plant is grown contributes hugely to the strength, aroma, and overall taste of the cigar. The master blender (or Ligador) then makes his selection of leaves and distributes them to the rollers (Torcedores) with instructions of which shape and size to produce. In Cuba, it’s a tradition that the Torcedores never know exactly which brand they are rolling to preserve the secrecy of the blend.

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Look After Your Cigar

It may seem like a painfully obvious point to make, but it’s worth mentioning nonetheless. As we’ve mentioned, a cigar is much like wine: look after it and treat it with care and you’ll have a pleasant and enjoyable smoking experience – even with a poorly made cigar. Treat it poorly, and even the best of cigars can make for a poor smoke.

Although most cigars will only last around 24 hours out of their packaging before drying out, it’s not the end of the world if they do – they can still be salvaged and re-humidified, but we’d avoid this if possible. Your safest bet is to store your cigar in a plastic ziplock bag until you’re ready to smoke. If kept in this sealed environment, a cigar will likely keep its humidity for up to 7 days. You can also pick up small humi pouches for around £5 from most good cigar merchants, or even get one free with your purchase. Alternatively, an alluminium tube is great for storage and travel. These are relatively sealed and most are lined with cedar which preserves the cigars humidity. Again, it’s ill advised that you keep your cigars stored like this for any longer than necessary as your cigar will eventually dry out which will change the taste considerably.

If you’ve gone all out and bought a box of cigars, its perfectly fine to keep them stored like this as long as the box remains closed.  Or, if you feel like showing off – buy a leather cigar case.

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64 Ring Guage Cigar Case With Cutter. £60 at Havana Cigar Exchange.

Cutting a Cigar

This is perhaps the hardest part of enjoying a cigar for the novice smoker. Cutting a cigar can be somewhat daunting, and is far from straight forward. The aim is to identify where the cap of the cigar meets the wrapper and cut just above it. If you cut to far below the line, the wrapper will unravel, rendering your new Cuban friend un-smokable. For “Torpedo” shaped cigars, you should aim to cut 3mm from the top. The purpose of cutting a cigar is to create an unobstructed draw whilst retaining enough of the cap to stop the wrapper from unravelling.

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Cigar Scissors. £12 at Havana Cigar Exchange.

We’d always recommend doing your research before spending money on Cuban cigars. Where possible, visit your local cigar merchant and ask questions – their experience is invaluable and cigars are a work of art in themselves. Just as you wouldn’t invest in a new artwork on a whim, neither should you be so hasty with your cigar choice – they are made with your satisfaction in mind, after all! Most importantly: experiment with new and different flavours, find the cigars that suit you, and above all else – enjoy.

Visit: www.havanacigarexchange.com

Porsche Reveals Mission E Concept

Recently in the E-Motoring world Tesla has ruled the highways, however yesterday a very familiar automotive brand stepped up to the plate with possible competition.

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In the run up to the Frankfurt motor show starting today, Porsche revealed its concept which packs a tasty 600bhp aimed at tackling that of Tesla’s Model S dominance. ” The Mission E concept shows what Porsche is capable of in terms of electric mobility,” a Porsche spokesperson stated.  He continued “What you see in the Mission E is a reflection of what you could expect from Porsche in the next generation or two of cars.” These expectations are then exciting indeed with the Mission E powered by a pair of electric motors similar to that of Porsches 919 Le Mans cars. Figures wise along with its 600bhp, the car should deliver a range of 310 miles, a nice 10 miles more than that of the Tesla S. As an overview the pair square up very similar with the Tesla Model S P90D’s Ludacris Mode producing 763bhp and a 0-60mph time of 2.8 seconds to the Porsche’s proposed 3.5 seconds.

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From its 800-volt charging port, Porsche has said the car can reach 80% charge in only 15 minutes, dubbed “Porsche turbo charging” by the company. Figuratively again, the Tesla is similar with a 400v supercharger which can power it to 80% charge in around 30 minutes.

Within the Mission E cabin, it is quintessential Porsche indeed, seating for four and very much a minimalist set-up in true car of the future fashion. However the technology which is housed in the cabin is truly astounding and radical, pushing the Porsche very much ahead of the Tesla. According to Porsche the controls within the car are operated by the drivers eye-tracking and gesture control, this is done through the use of cameras to sense the movement of your eyes and arms to adjust the controls relative to the drivers behaviour.  If that doesn’t wet your tech appetite then there’s more, Porsche also states that part of the Mission E’s interior will be controlled through projected holograms. Truly spectacular.

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Outwith the cockpit, visually the Mission E is one of the most impressive Porsche’s to date, much more sleek and nimble looking than the Panamera, Porsches first attempt at the family car. It almost has an essence of 911 through it, seen in the tail end, a shape which has been around since the dawn of time.

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As stunning and fantastic as it is, the Mission E is still only a concept car. What we love about it at The Gentleman Select is how it ignites that childhood, wall poster car imagination but throws in some space ship-esq technology along the way. What Porsche can’t guarantee is whether the Mission E will ever see production however if it does, we can expect it to hit showrooms around 2019 with a price tag of… well lets just say we should start saving now.

www.porsche.com

 

Reebok Maison Kitsune X Collaboration

If you are wanting to hit it out the ball park this September with your clothing choices, may we suggest taking a look at the fourth coming Maison Kitsune X Reebok Capsule Collection.

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Rolling into the colder end of the year, this collaboration adds pieces with a little more weight, taking a nod towards Reebok’s baseball involvement both past and present, whilst blending in that Maison Kitsune preppy appearance we all know and love. Key pieces include a sharp varsity style baseball jacket, t-shirt, shorts and sweatshirt all put together in a classic collegiate red and white colour.

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My personal choice from the collection would be the classic sweat shorts and sweat shirt, ideal for wearing at the gym, or throwing on just as you leave now that the evenings have taken that little temperature dip. I would also cap it off with the fresh all white leather and nylon mix trainers from the capsule collection which have some great little internal details in the arctic fox on the insoles. Literally very cool.

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The Maison Kitsune X Collection will hit Reebok’s website from Saturday the 12th of September.

www.reebok.co.uk

FIVE FRAGRANCES FOR SUMMER

In the months of warmer weather, its time for you to exude that masculinity and get your summer scent game on par. Here at The GS we have selected five fragrances which are fresh, captivating and are sure to give you a medley of Mediterranean and spruce of sunshine in your day.

Acqua Di Parma have brought to us so many countless scents and candles of a wonderful aroma it really is hard to pick a favourite. through many hours of sampling, we select Arancia di Capri. It has light notes of mandarin, orange and lemon with essentials oils which radiate warmth and really do take your nostrils on a journey down the Italian RivIera. We also like that if you buy through the website, you get a delightful little handcrafted cap to go on top. Very individual indeed.

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Acqua Di Parma Arancia di Capri: £82.00

Being that we live in a country that is rather susceptible to a cold spell, even in the summer time, we felt this scent was a wealthy balance for that very situation. You have that musky hit of middle eastern Oud, smoky yet subtle and not to dark, perfect when the weather changes, yet it is followed by zesty and refreshing bergamot with punchy orange filtering through as well. It really is a great all round scent. We also like the online purchase option of getting the bottle you order personally engraved with your initials.

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Jo Malone Oud & Bergamot: £105.00

Our next selection is by no means cheap, but by god does it caress the senses. Billed as “the most popular fragrance ever created by the House of Creed” hat is certainly no lie. You will find beautiful notes of pineapple, apple, bergamot and blackcurrant. Sitting in the middle you have birch, jasmine and patchouli which then at the base you find oakmoss, ambergris and vanilla to top it off. My favourite aspect of the scent is how it lasts, it literally clings to skin and clothing alike, even after a shower you can still smell it, a true nod to how well its made, and why it costs what it does.

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Creed Aventus: £200

Whilst the limited edition scent of Dolce and Gabbana Light Blue Swimming in Lipari will not make you look like David Gandy emerging from the sea in white swimming trunks, what it will give you is one of the freshest aromas available currently. You can expect notes of sea salt balanced out by grapefruit, with an injection of both mandarin, rosemary and musky based notes to truly deliver a cool summer breeze in a bottle.

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Dolce and Gabbana Light Blue Swimming in Lipari: £50

As we are all aware Bottega Veneta are masters of craftsmanship with their leather goods, however what they also deliver are some truly terrific scents. Our selection here is the brands signature cologne however with a bigger, “extreme” clout. Much like Creed Aventus it has a longer lasting aura, you will find intense leather notes along with labdanum and pimento. Its a delicious fragrance to wear on a lovely evening dinner that will leave a lasting aroma long into the night.

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Bottega Veneta Pour Homme Extreme: £52