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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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!