December 11, 2007


Sitting in Centro, an upscale Jazz Bar at the Kerry Center in Beijing, one quickly realizes that in a city with 20 million inhabitants and a quite a lot of good bars and clubs, there really is no other place that can best the ambiance and Jazz offered by this old Beijing stalwart. Dimly lit and tastefully appointed, the Jazz band and singers (often imported from the US) belt out Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole—the true classics in a world infatuated with Norah Jones, Kenny G, and Diana Krall. This is not to say that the latter three are not of noteworthy mention, it is just that the impact and emotions that are brought forth by the Jazz artists of the 50’s to 60’s seem to carry a much deeper tone. Pair this with a good cigar and Mojito (the best in Asia!) and you have yourself a perfectly rounded and soulful evening. This was in fact, what I was enjoying before the dulled cigar cutter chewed up my beautiful, aged and nicely prepared Montecristo. Staring in disbelief at the mangled end of the cigar, I did not know whether to cry or berate the waitress. Being older and more mature, I opted to steam quietly in my seat, puffing awkwardly in the yellow candle glow. For those looking for a good smoke, the Montecristo Edmundo is a spectacular cigar! It’s a medium to full-bodied blend of tobacco, with a rich draw and a nice feel to the fingers (it’s a big cigar, 52 ring gauge at 135mm). There is a lot of flavor, even from one of the newer years—with plenty of potential to improve as the years go by. I did find that it required a bit more attention than some other cigars and burned quite unevenly. This may have had something to do with the tattered end. An interesting side note, this cigar was named after Alexander Dumas’ “Count of Montecristo” protagonist, Edmund Dantes. Mixed with good bourbon and a bit of Louis, you really cannot beat the experience!

If you are out in Beijing, enjoy jazz and would like a place to kick back with the locals, I highly recommend Centro. Just make sure to bring your own cigar accessories.

1 comment:

-A said...

killer mojitos! gan bei!