A Week With Omar: Cycling, Choix Supreme and Boreas
I have embarked upon a new adventure!
I have decided to jump back on to the saddle and start cycling again.
Why did I stop you ask?
Alas, being the evil and commercially minded individual I am, I shall make you wait for a full write up, but what I can tell you is my last bike got stolen. Anyone who lives in London will know the struggle…
With life being so fast paced and priorities and responsibilities taking precedent, I find that my personal wellbeing is sometimes neglected. If I am having a busy day, the gym session I had planned or that tennis booking I was looking forward to are the most expendable aspects of my routine.
This is not good.
So in the last few months I have been engaging much more in sporting activities, getting back in to rowing (which is something I'll be writing more about) and cycling.
There was an interesting report recently published by The University of Oxford that stated that people who cycled regularly we 21% happier then people who didn’t, in fact cycling was second only to team sports on this list. Reading this made me reminisce about what it felt like planning a cycling route, jumping on your bike and demolishing the miles, it truly is an ethereal feeling, particularly if the route involves both road and off road sections. Was I happier? I thought to myself and in all honesty I don't know. There are far too many variables to consider but I can say that the experience of a great ride made me feel alive.
I have now vowed to make cycling a regular part of my lifestyle and use it as not only a fitness tool but to experiment with it's ability to stabilise your mental state. Now that I have decided to start cycling, time to get a bike. Here is where the fun really starts.
I have had a long standing affinity with Specialized, in fact, I previously owned 2 Specialized bikes, one was a hybrid and the other was a mountain bike.
The reason for the two bike set up was the hybrid was for commuting and or road rides while the mountain bike was for downhill or trail rides.
Pretty logical right?
Re-entering the arena now made me ask the question “surely there must be a Swiss army knife bike? A do it all bike?”
Well, apparently there is! Enter the Gravel bike.
What is a gravel bike?
Great question, the long and short of it is, it's a road style bike with drop handle bars that has enough clearance for nice, wide, nobbly, off road tyres. Perfect, this’ll do the job nicely.
After going through the Specialized portfolio I really fell in love with the Diverge line, the clean lines and built in suspension in the stem made it the perfect choice. After a conversation with the guys at Specialized we decided on the Diverge Pro, not only the best bike I have ever owned but probably the best bike I've seen in person.
My goal is to complete 50k a week on the bike along with resistance training and rowing, I want to see how this new workout routine effects my physicality, focus and mental health.
I can’t tell you all how excited I am to be going on this journey with you.
Drum roll please, cigar time! Whoop whoop!
Its a new brand today, El Rey Del Mundo. For those of you that remember the second episode I did with our resident cigar expert, Jimmy Mcghee, he promised me a La Reina (of which we did eventually smoke together), that is an El Rey Del Mundo.
The cigar in question today is the Choix Supreme, a cigar that is surprisingly difficult to get ahold of in the UK. According to my research it seems to be a cigar that undulates in the regularly of its production which is probably why it is rather difficult to get ahold of right now.
First and foremost, I am a big fan of the look of this cigar, a striking gold, yellow and red band adorning a traditionally beautiful medium brown wrapper, smooth to the touch and faultless to the eye, a real love affair at first sight.
My first assumption when handling the cigar is that it was the same vitola (size) as the Ramon Allones Specially Selected, a Robusto, but when I consulted the dimensions it's actually slightly thinner and slightly longer.
This vitola is called the Hermoso No 4.
With regards to the flavour, I have one word to say. Vanilla! Light, creamy vanilla flavours right from the first to the last puff.
I must admit, this may be one of the lightest cigars I have ever smoked, which for me is no bad thing, but for a cigar that lasts 45 minutes It can become a little monotonous. Not this! The evolution of this cigar wasn't monumental, but it provided enough of a development to maintain interest. The combination of the light and delicate smoke, the sweet after taste and perfumed aromatics made this a smoke that reminded me how lucky we are to be alive. Definitly one I would like to revisit again.
As you all know, I am always on the look out for great non alcoholic pairings with cigars that verge further then a soft drink, for the Choix Supreme I have an interesting one. Matcha tea my friends. But not all matcha is created equal, we are talking about the creme de la creme, Matcha Gold from my dear friends at Lalani and Co. There is something about the light, sweet creamy profile of the Choix Supreme that pairs perfectly with the fresh, sweet and vibrant Matcha tea that creates a true extravaganza on the palette. Try it, you might be surprised.
Now flying to the Dominican Republic I had the delectable La Galera Boreas. Man oh man does this cigar have a pretty band, there is something about a cigar with a beautiful band that just makes the entire experience that much more special and this one does not disappoint.
However, the elegance of the band does not carry over to the look of the wrapper, it's dark, oily, rustic and rough, not something I would define as terribly appealing.
To be totally honest I was quite scared when I first picked it up, I immediately had presumptions that the cigar would be bitter, harsh and aggressive but damn was I wrong. This cigar was wonderfully sweet and full flavoured right from the get go, it enveloped my palate with brilliant fruity and dark chocolate notes, a combination that I can’t say I had experienced before this smoke.
Although the flavours were generally quite rich, the strength was perfectly medium, it's these kinds of cigars I am starting to fall in love with, ones that offer reams in terms of flavour but don’t donkey kick you with nicotine strength.
As far as I'm concerned this was a masterfully blended cigar, balanced from start to finish with absolutely no construction issues. The burn line was razor sharp and I didn’t need to relight it once.
This is a brand you all need to be aware of, its definitly one I am going to enjoy exploring further. With this I would definitely pair a coffee and the perfect combo has to be the wonderfully chocolatey Jamaican Blue Mountain from Difference Coffee Co, a match made in heaven.