What do you get when you cross the best hotel in Kuala Lumpur with a Cuban Master Roller with some very serious cigar aficionados? Lots of laughter and mirth, gallons of espresso, and a very smoky lounge!

The gang turned out to participate in Ms Morales’ debut appearance at the Mandarin Oriental last night. She was rolling some seriously wicked looking cigars as part of a fine dining promotion organized by the Pacifica Grill, a superb menu including fine cognac and a freshly rolled cigar to top it off, all for RM188 per pax.

Her craft and talent is quite remarkable. Morales is obviously a perfectionist, taking very special care to ensure that each stick passes her condition of quality. To my eye, her work is much more detailed than Briones, the last Master Roller to visit Malaysia.

She rolled a couple of cigars for me, the highlight being a very nicely done salamones. Comparing it with the salamones made by Briones, its almost a no contest: Briones’ rolls was less tidy, and led to a funky shaped salamones, Morales, with her care and attention to detail, produced a salamones that more closely resembled the classic vitola. Perhaps El Laguito has got higher standards for its Master Rollers than the Romeo y Julieta factory?

How did the cigars smoke? As the sticks were still quite damp, i decided to give mine a rest for a day or two in the humi back home before lighting one up, but Sharil (who bought a whole bucketload of freshly rolled cigars), couldn’t resist.

According to him, the cigar he had was outstanding, Cohiba leaf of the finest quality, superior in every way to the Briones (RyJ blend). The draw was fairly loose, but that’s to be expected somewhat of free hand rolled cigars (no bunching molds used). The smoke volume was pushed to the max — Sharil literally resembled a chimney the whole evening. And the aroma, to my nose, was very, very pleasing.

The lounge of the Mandarin Oriental is a perfect place to smoke a cigar: beautiful high ceiling, plush carpets, luxurious sofas; the service impeccable, the hot chocolate i had with my Bolivar Belicosos Finos was the perfect companion. The cigar itself was a superb choice, giving me just enough buzz to make everything fuzzy and happy.

All in all a perfect night. A job well done to the boys at Trinidad for putting it all together.