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Tonight’s pairing brings Bishop Blend 2021 from Black Label Trading Company (BLTC) with my favorite stout from Lake Wood Brewing, The Temptress.

What I love about BLTC is their cigars have an amazing kick to them and the Bishop Blend doesn’t hold back. It is a closed foot, so on the light and puff I immediately tasted a very strong black pepper that is in your face. This is why I love this cigar; it demands attention at the start. For those of you that do not enjoy a full smoke, don’t worry after a few draws it turns into a smooth anise flavor with the black pepper, which pair well together. As I smoked more into the 1/3 of the cigars, there was a caramel chocolate that presented itself. This is where I began to enjoy my milk stout.

The Temptress enhanced the chocolate expresso of the cigar. For a moment I thought I was smoking a San Andres. Moving into the 2/3 section of the cigar, I cleansed my pallet, took a sip from the Stout and then took a draw from the Bishop Blend. It was amazing how I tasted an earthy leather flavor with a hint of sweetness of expresso. The retrohale was a very smooth chocolate expresso. The final stage of the cigar mirrored the first third of the cigar, but also presented a stronger black pepper on the retrohale than the first third. As I smoked more I picked up on the anise. The stout enhances the smoothness chocolate expresso in this part of the cigar. The cigar is still full bodied without the stout. Towards the very end of the cigar, I tasted a caramel raisin, but with a hint of black pepper!

FANTASTIC PAIRING

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Maduro
Binder: Ecuadorian Habano
Filler: Nicaraguan, Pennsylvania Broadleaf, Connecticut Broadleaf

Double Pairing of Crowned Heads Four Kicks LE 2021 with 2016 Jaboulet Crozes Hermitage Les Jalet and Milam & Greene Triple Cask Bourbon Straight Blend

Often times you’ll come across a cigar that you’ll want to pair with multiple drinks. The Four Kicks LE 2021 by Crowned Heads fit this category. I knew that with its profile it was a cigar that I wanted to pair with a full-bodied red wine and with a blended whiskey. For the wine I chose the 2016 Crozes-Hermitage Les Jalets by Paul Jaboulet Aîné and for the whiskey I went with the Triple Cask Bourbon Straight Blend from Milam & Greene.

Cigar:

The Crowned Heads with its Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper open up some some coffee notes along with some leathery and earthy notes both on the cold draw and the initial draws.  The coffee notes while subtle at first slowly build up and the earthy notes become more prominent over the leather notes, reminding me of a dusty dirt pathway while hiking through the woods. The back of the draw brings out some sweet cooking spices, nutmeg, and hints of white pepper that was also present on the retro-hale.  

Wine:

The 2016 Crozes-Hermitage Les Jalets by Paul Jaboulet Aîné was an absolute joy to drink. I had the opportunity to taste this Syrah from Rhone for the Wine Society of a local Wine and Spirits shop. In tasting this, I was able to enjoy the wine by itself, with some food, and then finally with a cigar.   The bouquet has some subtle hits of citrus along with some earthy barnyard notes. Reminding me of walking through a barn and out into an orchard on a spring morning.  This experience continued on into the first tasting of the wine with the citrus notes while the body opened up into some nice fruity apricot notes.   This Syrah from Rhone valley finishes off as expected with strong but not overpowering tannins keeping with what was noted on the nose of the wine.  

Pairing:

Pairing a wine with a cigar presents some challenges. Cigars as with wines have transition phases throughout the smoke and those transitions generally happen in each third of the cigar with the finishes being stronger in general then the opening.  With wines and especially full-bodied wines you will have transitions from the front of the tongue through the back as it finishes, however, the complexity in the pairing comes in how the grapes and the various notes will pair throughout each transition of the cigar.   When taking a draw of the cigar and then a sip of the wine I noticed that the wine really opened up and presented some fruity notes that were not present when sipping alone.  What really jumped out were dark cherry notes and some of the creamy notes from the cigar transitioned into the wine as well reminding me of milk chocolate cherry cordials.   As the cigar begins to transition into the second third, I noticed more prominent fruity notes along with the tannins of both the cigar and the wine being brought to the middle of the draw and sip and continuing on through the finish.  The most interesting part of the pairing is how the cigar impacted the nose of the wine, bringing out more fruity notes, toning down the citrus notes, and bringing the wine into a fuller bolder wine.  

Whiskey:

We have been pairing cigars with whiskey for about as long as cigars and whiskey have been around. It is a general consensus that they go good together, kind of like cigars and Brandy.  The fun, or challenge, when it comes to pairing a cigar with a whiskey is when you choose a blended whiskey such as the one for this pairing. This offering from Milam & Greene is a blend of three straight bourbons, two of which are from Kentucky and the third from Texas which is where Milam & Greene is based. As with wines your whiskeys will transition from the front of the tongue to the back of the throat and depending on the mash bill of the whiskey and the proof you could have a peppery spicy finish or maybe a sweet finish.   The whiskey opens up with some nice vanilla notes and fruity apple notes, more along with your red apples which is a nice change.  With its golden amber color, the whiskey has some creamy notes along with its apple notes at the front of the palate and finishes with some black pepper spice that lingers for a good amount of time before slowly fading.  

Pairing:

This being my first time having tried Milam & Greene and this expression I knew right away that I had chosen the right whiskey for this pairing.  With this being a double pairing, I have transitioned into the final third of my cigar and it has now also transitioned into more spicy notes with the white pepper becoming more prominent and the creamy notes being more subtle.   What I find interesting in this pairing is that the cigar brought the creaminess of the whiskey to the front almost equal with that of the fruity apple notes while not overpowering them. The peppery notes at the back of the sip were still there which I was pleased that they didn’t over power the other notes of the whiskey with the cigar.   When sipping on the whiskey then taking a draw from the cigar, I noticed that the spicy notes from the cigar came forward and that the creaminess was strengthened so that when combined it reminded me of my mother’s sausage gravy she used to make.   All in all, I found these pairings to be a quite enjoyable experience and one that I would recommend to try.   So go out and find yourself a wine, a cigar, and a whiskey and try a double pairing.   Happy Pairings!

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

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.