Straight Up & Toasted - Featuring Viva La Vida and Craigellachie Scotch
New York is famously known as “the city that never sleeps”. There’s a good reason for that: it is my personal observation that an average New Yorker wakes up at 6 a.m., works well until 1 a.m., has fifteen-minute power lunches, drinks three cups of coffee a day, and runs rather than walks in between destinations. The fast pace of the city makes it easy to get lost in an incessant grind and forget to appreciate the smaller life moments. As I stepped into the dimly lit, smoke-filled Carnegie Club from the bustling streets of New York City, I was transported to a place of respectful indulgence and leisure. Straight Up and Toasted, held at this swanky midtown location, provided liberation from the oftentimes overwhelming New York lifestyle. The black and red striped wallpaper, leather seats, and wood accents provided an elegant, yet comfortable environment to retire to the recesses of artisanal spirits and live jazz performances.
Straight Up and Toasted, hosted by Matthias Clock — founder of Fine Tobacco NYC — celebrated the Viva la Vida cigar crafted by master blender, AJ Fernandez. Clock’s deep passion for cigars stems from their notable ability to bring people of diverse backgrounds together. Billy Fakih of Artesano Del Tobacco explained the chosen name Viva La Vida -- which directly translates to “live life,” -- serves as a reminder to celebrate the daily victories we earn. The all-Nicaraguan tobacco blend gives Viva la Vida a much fuller-body than traditional Dominican cigars. The Habano Oscuro leaf encapsulates the tobacco, yielding a wonderfully balanced flavor profile consisting of dark chocolate, mixed nuts, confectionary spices, and touches of cream.
Viva la Vida was perfectly complemented by the rich and robust flavors found in the Craigellachie’s single malt Scotch. Craigellachie achieves flavors similar to those that would be experienced in liquors produced in the 19th century through the use of oil-fired malt and worm tub condensers.
I bore witness to the amazingly complex social interactions that cigars promoted at the Carnegie Club on Thursday night. As someone who has never smoked a cigar before, I felt a tinge of fear that I would be judged for my inexperience, but the warm and inviting atmosphere greeted me with kindness. I highly encourage everyone with all levels of familiarity with cigars to experience this ritzy ambiance by attending future events!