Tonight’s Tasting: Okocim Porter and Gurkha Legend Churchill

Busy day at work, but when I finally get to retire to the Lido deck, fire up the cigar and turn on, I’m greeted with The Alan Parsons Project:

Just what you need to make you feel better
Just what you need to make you feel
Just what you need to make you feel better
Just what you need to make you feel

Find the end of the rainbow
Fly wherever the winds blow
Laugh at life like a sideshow
Just what you need to make you feel better
Don’t stop bringin’ the girls round
Don’t start havin’ a showdown
Keep on handin’ the jug round
All that you need is wine and good company

OK, so I’m drinking beer instead of wine, but I’ll still take it as cosmic confirmation.

Gurkha Legend, Churchill (7.5″ x 52)

Given my generous friends and family, I’m often as a loss as to how specific cigars came to be in my humidor, but I recall that this stick came with the introductory sampler from, which means it has been mellowing nicely in my humidor since October 2008. The Gurkha Legend uses a blend of Dominican long-leaf filler, with a slightly spicy Cameroon binder leaf, followed by a thick Connecticut Broadleaf maduro wrapper.

The resulting taste is spicy and complex. I found notes of chocolate and coffee. I really liked this Gurkha. Mellow without being boring. In the sampler, listed this as the “everyday cigar” and I think that is an apt description. It’s not as rich and complex as the Titan, which is one of my favorite Gurkhas, but it was a cigar that would fill very well the role of an everyday cigar. Construction and burn were perfect. Dark, oily wrapper and a good draw and taste from the initial draw to conclusion. I’ll be ordering more of these. A 9.1 on The Morris Scale.

Okocim Porter

One of the reasons I pen reviews of beer is because it forces me to slow down and consider what I am drinking and do a little background research. The reward comes when I find that there was a big hole in my beer drinking experience; that there is a whole class of beer of which I was unaware.

In this case it was the Baltic beers. While I have consumed beers from the region, I never focused on the history and brewing techniques. Here is how it was explained at

“This beer is a Baltic Porter, a style that approaches imperial stouts in strength and intensity. There is good reason for this, since imperial stouts were transported through the Baltic Sea and into Northern Europe and then Russia. The imperial stouts came from England and were top fermented ales. Baltic porters, however, are bottom-fermented lagers. How did this happen? Perhaps a bit of Germanic influence was at work, since there was already a tradition of bottom fermented Schwarzbiers in the eastern German states which border Poland and the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. Schwarzbier is German and literally translated means ‘Black Beer.'”

Baltic brews are intense and flavorful, with a higher alcohol content and a better-than-average shelf life. As you can see from the photo, the Okocim Porter pours as almost jet-black in color, with a tall tan head formation. The nose is sweet licorice and molasses. The taste is rich with dark malt, chocolate, and a hint of citrus. The mouthfeel is very creamy and the finish is smooth.

This is a heavy beer with high alcohol, so I’d rate the drinkability as low; more akin to a port to be consumed after dinner. But you are really going to enjoy the one or two that you do drink. A great porter, rating it a 9.3. Look for me in the Baltic beer section of the beer store.

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