Leaf n Grain


Metallica has done it again, Blackened Cigars by Drew Estate

Metallica has been known as one of the most influential bands for the past few decades, releasing hit after hit, including “Enter Sandman,” “Nothing Else Matters,” and “seek and Destroy.” What you may not realize is that in 2018 Metallica partnered with Master Distiller and Blender Dave Pickerell and shortly thereafter, Master Distiller and Blender Rob Dietrich to create “Blackened,” a whiskey that lives up to the reputation that James Hatfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, and Robert Trujillo have built for their legendary band.

Well, now James Hatfield, along with Rob Dietrich, has teamed up with Jonathan Drew of Drew Estate to create a cigar which they are calling Blackened ‘M81’. A blend that consists of all maduro fermented tobacco with a Mexican San Andres Wrapper, Connecticut broadleaf binder, and fillers that consist of Nicaraguan, and Pennsylvanian Broadleaf, this cigar is sure to bring a punch that pairs beautifully with the Blackened Whiskey and Metallica’s hard-hitting music.

James Hatfield and Rob Dietrich
James Hatfield and Rob Dietrich

Read the announcement over at Drew Estate

Mercury Chophouse Review

Be Celebrated!  A phrase that I often will tell others, whether it is on their promotions, birthdays, anniversaries, or just because. Recently I decided to take my advice and celebrate by treating myself to a nice dinner. For this celebration, I decided that I wanted to eat at the Mercury Chophouse located in Arlington, Texas. Now, normally I will walk into the restaurant, ask for a seat for one, and enjoy my dinner. This time, however, I decided to make a reservation, mainly because it is a nice steakhouse, and I wanted to ensure that I would have a place to sit, but also out of respect for the restaurant.

My reservation was for 6:30 pm on a Friday; When I arrived at the location at 6 pm, I began looking around for parking when the Valet service flagged me down to inform me that Valet was free for the restaurant and told me that the restaurant was located on the 9th floor of the office building where I arrived. Because I was thirty minutes early, I had expected to wait in the lobby when I approached the hostess station. However, they were able to sit me right away.  As the hostess led me to my table, we passed by a nice full bar, grand piano, and some other patrons sitting at nice tables with leather chairs, beautiful lighting, and large windows overlooking the city. My seat was a corner table for two that was part of a long booth. I was able to sit facing the window on the opposite wall and look out over the scenery.  After a few moments, my server stopped by my table and offered me a wine and a cocktail menu which also displayed an impressive collection of spirits. Accepting the cocktail menu, my server gave me a few minutes to decide what I wanted to have with my dinner; my server came back, presented the dinner menu, and took my drink order.

I decided upon my standard go-to drink of an Old Fashioned for my cocktail. I started with the appetizer sampler, which consisted of Filet Mignon Cigars, Scallops, Bacon Wrapped Shrimp, and Fried Calamari. The Filet Mignon Cigars were my favorite out of each: chopped Filet Mignon wrapped and fried in a breading and came with a siracha cream sauce. The scallops were seared in a lemon butter sauce, sitting on top of poblano cheddar grits, and came with a champagne beurre blanc which was a beautiful sauce that, to be honest, I used to dop the shrimp, calamari, and scallops in.

My entrée was a 16oz New York strip with Burgundy Mushrooms. The service timing could not have been better; my entrée was coming out as soon as I finished the appetizer, not leaving any time for waiting. I ordered my steak medium rare; it came lightly seasoned, allowing the cut’s full flavor to be enjoyed. When paired with the burgundy mushrooms, the steak presented sweet notes and deeper gamey notes than when by itself, and pairing it with the old-fashioned, it rounded out the meal and ended the evening, indeed a celebration.

CTP changes term from “grandfathered tobacco product”

In an article recently published by the FDA regarding the Center for Tobacco Products, CTP announced that they are changing the term “Grandfathered Tobacco Product” to that “Pre-Existing Tobacco Product.”

This is something to keep an eye on regarding Cigars. While the terminology change doesn’t change anything in the here n now, if we see this continue moving forward as regulation, we will see all of the cigar industry heavily impacted.

On Aug. 19, FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) updated the term “grandfathered tobacco product” to “pre-existing tobacco product” on all the Center’s systems. As described in the Premarket Tobacco Application (PMTA) and Substantial Equivalence (SE) final rules published in 2021, the updated terminology more clearly and appropriately describes these products.

You can read the full article here.


PCA argues that the FDA does not address its questions lined out in the deeming rule regarding cigars. A study cited in the FDA Rule states that there is no statistically significant increase in health risk among cigar smokers who smoke 1 – 2 cigars per day.   Thank you, PCA for all that you do for our industry.

For further reading please refer to the original article here.

Congratulations to @bertbesmokin1868 on winning the April Pairing of the Month.  Below is his pairing review!

Cigar Pairing Rojas Unfinished Business with Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge


I went with the Rojas Unfinished Business Mareva, Box Press, by Noel Rojas with one of my favorite liqueurs Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge for my Pairing of the Month for April.

This was a blind pairing but with it being an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper, Nicaraguan Binder, Nicaraguan & Mexico filler, and the bitter orange, hazelnuts, and toffee in the drink; I just knew it was going to be an amazing pairing. The cigar had caramel and semi-sweet chocolate smell to it, on the cap and foot was a smell of chocolate. I decided to go with a V-cut and immediately from the cold draw I got hints of hazelnuts, cayenne, and hay.

As soon as I got through the first third of the cigar I was hit with spices, the drink to Cigar was excellent. The cognac in the Grand Marnier brought out the woody and black peppercorn spices followed by an orange after taste that lingered in my mouth. The cigar to drink also yielded strong hints of black peppercorn which overpowered the citrus but still paired nicely with the cognac’s subtle spices. I continued to the second third, and it paired beautifully both ways from drink to cigar AND cigar to drink. The chocolate espresso and creamy coffee notes from the cigar with the spices of hazelnuts from the cognac made every puff enjoyable. The citrus aftertaste was also a big plus, almost like a chocolate orange coffee taste. Lastly, the final third. Wow, this last part took me by surprise, the creamy dark espresso, malty chocolate, and sweet cocoa notes of the cigar with the drink turned into an orange chocolate candy bar, excellent to the end. The cigars performance was fantastic, never had to re-light, and always had consistent white ash throughout the smoke.

I highly recommend trying this pair, the medium strength Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper paired with the Grand Marnier is now one of my favorites.

Cigar and Drink Information:

Rojas Unfinished Business Mareva by Noel Rojas

Vitola: 5 1/3 x 42 Box Press
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan & Mexico


Drink Pairing:

Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge
Maker: Grand Mariner
Price: $30.00
51% Cognac and 49% Orange Liqueur Flavor

By @bertbesmokin1868