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Pairing: Still Austin Cask Strength with RomaCraft Intemperance

Bourbon: This bourbon hits many points in color, texture, aroma, and notes. For this pairing, we’re going to focus on the tasting notes.
For me, it has incredible texture and oils with a long finish. It opens up with buttery honey notes that remind me of graham crackers that I snuck from the kitchen. There are also some subtle coffee notes and black cherries as the body opens up and finishes strong with spice that will linger and linger.

Cigar: RomaCraft has made its name well known in the cigar world with its smokes. The Intemperance fits the bill with strong earthy and leathery notes with black coffee notes and some black ground pepper at the back end.

Pairing:  When paired together, the smoke brings out the coffee notes in the Bourbon and enhances the pepper to the front that stays with you throughout the sip. The experience is the same when taking a cigar draw after a sip. The honey and fruity notes of the Bourbon bring out a creamy note in the smoke that wasn’t as strong before while also enhancing the pepper notes at the back of the draw.
This is a very enjoyable pairing that I would recommend.

#explorethepairings

Ardbeg An Oa paired with Honor Among Thieves from Sinistro Cigars.

I have been a fan of both Sinistro and Ardbeg for some time, so it only made sense to do a pairing of an expression from both. I had my first Ardbeg Whisky about five years ago, the Ugidail. From then on, I knew I would be hooked on their expressions and had to try more.  My first Sinistro was Mr. White, and that quickly spread out to other blends they had and eventually the Honor Among Thieves. Upon choosing this pairing, since I was familiar with both blends, I concentrated more on the pairing and how they interacted with each other. We will explore Sinistro’s Honor among Thieves and Ardbeg’s An Oa for this pairing.

Cigar:

This blend from Sinistro with its Brazilian Maduro wrapper opens with some cocoa, grassy notes on the nose, and cold draw. These notes continue into the first third of the cigar, with the cocoa transitioning into milky chocolate notes and nutty cashew notes remaining throughout the smoke.  The cigar finishes strong with white pepper notes that are even more prominent at the back and retro.

Scotch:

What draws me to Ardbeg is its presence of a smokey bouquet that doesn’t overpower the earthy forest pine notes. The smokey peaty notes continue at the front of the sip and smooth into a charred toasted marshmallow flavor that reminds me of roasting marshmallows on the campfire.  The An Oa has an oily buttery feel in the mouth and finishes strong with some white pepper notes.

Pairing:

The cigar brings out cherry notes at the front, toning down the smokey notes to a subtle presence while strengthening the pepper notes at the back, reminding me more of red than white pepper. The Scotch brings out more sweet, nutty notes at the front of the draw, whereas before, they were more present near the middle body of the draw.  The peppery notes also move forward and are more prominent, strengthening the cigar’s body into a full-bodied smoke. This pairing was enjoyable and recommended. Other pairings for each could include a full-bodied cigar to pair with the An Oa from Ardbeg while staying away from the full peaty Scotches with the Honor Among Thieves from Sinistro.

#explorethepairings

Clos De La Butte Muscadet paired with a Mil Dias LE 2021

I was challenged the other day to pair a cigar with white wine. Let me tell you that my experience with white wines is still minimal, but I’m not one to avoid many challenges. Upon accepting this challenge, I had to approach it a little differently than I have other pairings and chose a white wine, learned about the grape, and then chose a cigar I was familiar with.

For this pairing, I chose the Clos De La Butte Muscadet from Eric Chevalier.  The Muscadet is a lighter-bodied dry white wine which presents a challenge in pairing because you don’t want the cigar to overpower the notes of the wine.  The cigar I chose for this pairing is the Mil Dias LE 2021 from Crowned Heads. So, let’s get into the notes and see how this turns out for us.

Wine:

The Muscadet opens up with a nice bouquet with Oakey, grassy notes that also have subtle floral and fruity notes.  On the palate, the wine opens up very crisp with strong citrus notes and a bit of acidity, refreshing on a hot summer day. As the body opens up, you may notice that a bit of the Oakey grassy notes is present with hints of green apple and pear, bringing you a nice medium finish to close out. 

Cigar:

The Mil Dias has long been one of my favorite cigars, so for me, there wasn’t any question about choosing the LE 2021 for this pairing.  The cold draw on the cigar has a lot of leathery notes, reminding me of opening a brand-new pair of boots you just got home from the store. On the initial draw, I got some creamy, nutty notes similar to cashews with some fruity notes at the back of the palate and into the retro that reminded me of an apple pear.

Pairing:

The cigar brings the pear notes to the front of the wine while continuing throughout the body and toning down the citrus and acidity of the Muscadet. The wine retained its nice crispy, refreshing bouquet and notes throughout this pairing. When taking a draw from the Mil Dias after a sip of the wine, I noticed that the Oakey grassy notes were more prominent while toning down the creamy and leather notes presenting a nice change but not surprising to the draw of the cigar. When pairing a cigar with white wine, you will want to choose your pairing carefully so as not to overpower the wine or the cigar. For your white wines, I would recommend a lighter to medium-bodied cigar, but also, feel free to experiment with your pairings. You never know; you may find something you enjoy, as I have in this pairing.

Providencia Hostage Cigar Review

Behind every name is a story, whether it is the name given to you by your parents, the name of a corporation, the name of the wine, or, in this case, the name of a Cigar.

The Story

Jim Faber, a professional soccer player/coach and a missionary, was in Honduras from 1997 – 2011. During this time, he had the opportunity to help build the community around Soccer, teaching the kids, coaching teams, and creating a soccer field for the community to come and enjoy the game. Drug gangs and cartels also surrounded the community. This posed a danger to Jim and the community, but that didn’t stop them from their work. Jim and his partner Ray can tell the next part of this story much better than I, so if you ever have the opportunity to meet them, ask them. Jim speaks about one particular day that he was taken at gunpoint and forced into the car of a drug gang. He reminisced about the part when the fathers of the kids he taught and coached soccer came to his aid. Amidst all of the gunfire, he was able to escape to safety. The police spoke with Jim afterward and told Jim how the Mexican gang had moved into the area and heard about his work improving the community, and felt the need to stop him. Had Jim not escaped, thanks to the community, he likely would not be here.

While Jim was in Honduras, he grew to learn more about cigars and love them. The cigars line started with the El Padre and El Santo in 2016 and began their reputation for quality blends in the boutique market. The Hostage is their fourth cigar in what is now an excellent portfolio of incredible blends and is named in honor and memory of Jim’s escape.

The Review

The Hostage is a Mexican San Andreas wrapper with Ligero fillers from Indonesia, Nicaragua, and Honduras giving it a full body yet complex profile. The cold draw, nose, and initial draws will provide hints of cream, chocolate, and subtle hints of star anise. Throughout the smoke, these hints of notes will stay. However, you will notice wood and peppery spice notes as you transition towards the final third of the smoke. Paring this cigar in the morning with a nice coffee or in the evening with a Wheat Bourbon or Cognac will present nice complimentary flavors and help create an enjoyable evening.

While you are out on your cigar hunting expeditions, pick up on one from Providencia, and pay close attention to the names of what you smoke. There’s a story to be heard.

Underground Cigar Shop

Every now and then in life, you will come across a “hole in the wall” type shop that leaves you with lifetime memories and a desire to revisit many times over. Often these types of shops are “mom-n-pop” restaurants, antique shops, gift shops, and craft shops. This time for me, it is a cigar shop called the Underground.

Matthew, a friend of mine, had recommended the shop to me as I asked him about some cigars he was smoking. I was familiar with some of the boutique lines, such as Providencia and Rojas, but little did I know what I was getting myself into until I walked in through the doors.

When you first visit the Underground, you will notice their unique parking lot, surrounded by barbed and razor wire fences. This didn’t phase me; instead, it added to the intrigue about what I would find inside. When you walk into the door, you will likely find “Chef” Todd behind the counter helping a FOTL, family of the leaf, or in the lounge area talking up with the other family members. Now a brief detour before we get back to the shop. When I say, family members understand that when you smoke a cigar, you are a Brother or Sister of the Leaf. We will get back to this in a moment, so let us get back to the shop and its humidor.

While small, the humidor is packed with labels you will not find in most cigar lounges. The Underground specializes in the boutique market of cigars and has made its name known because of this. With a client list across the globe, selling cigars to clients in Ireland, Alaska, Hawaii, and all across the continental, this is the place to find the boutique cigar. Chef Todd and Don, one of the owners, know their lineup and can recommend to you any cigar you want regardless of your pallet.

The lounge consists of recliners positioned around the room so that any conversations are directed into the center of the lounge. This enhances the feeling of being part of the family we discussed earlier. All people from all walks of life are welcome and part of the family as soon as they walk through the door and take a seat, so be prepared to become part of this family. You will often find food for all available, especially if you are there on a Saturday, as many Chefs and Pit masters mPitmasterserground their home away from home.

So if you are out looking for something new and would not mind expanding your collection of exceptional cigars, come by The Underground and choose one or more of their many boutique lines, including Rojas, Providencia, Cavalier, BLTC, Mike Bellody, 262, Dissident, OSOK, DC, Ezra Zion, and Drunken Chicken. You might even be sitting down and talking with one of the owners of those lines while you are there.

You will not be disappointed and welcome to the family.

Underground Cigars
6409 East Lancaster Ave
Fort Worth, TX 76112
(817) 507-3640
www.undergroundcigars.com

 

Rojas KSG Lancero Cigar Review

Noel Rojas has established himself as the King of the Small Gauge regarding cigars. He has several vitola and blends already in his line, including the Statement and Bluebonnet. When I heard he was releasing a new cigar for his reputation namesake called the KSG, I knew I had to try it.

The King of Small Gauge cigar (KSG) is a Lancero in shape and Maduro in type. The KSG opens up with a sweet hint of chocolate with the first dry draw and draw. This flavor is only enhanced with my first retro draw, which was around my fourth draw of the stick. Throughout the entire post, I picked up on the chocolate’s sweet notes and some floral notes about halfway through the smoke.

When a cigar presents a change in aroma note and s, and you can pick it up on your pallet, you know that you have a complex stick from a master blender. Noel has lived up to his reputation as a blender and a roller with this particular blend. Because it is a Lancero, a small gauge only brings out that flavor sooner and is more robust than larger gauges.

The KSG lasted for over an hour, and in the last third of the stick, I noticed that the flavor began to shift to your standard leathery, earthy notes, but also with a bit of spice which is a great way to finish a smoke.

My pairing for this smoke was with a George Dickel small batch Tennessee Whiskey, which complimented the sweet notes of the cigar for an enjoyable experience. If you have never had the opportunity to enjoy a Rojas Cigar, then I encourage you to check out Underground Cigar Shop.

Recommendation

I recommend adding the KSG by Noel Rojas to your collection and trying out the rest of Rojas Cigars to grow your group and pallet.