Joe Heron, the founder and owner of Copper & Kings Distillery, emailed me and asked what cigar would pair best with his American Craft and Butchertown Brandies. I was not sure so I told him I would get back with him as I need to ask my cigar experts, Maggie Kimberl and Wayne Klawier. Wayne was silent on the subject but Maggie suggested a Fuente 8-5-8 maduro wrapper. Now before I can endorse this to Joe, I need to try it so I went to J. Shepherd’s Cigar Store to get a cigar. While there I asked Jason, the owner, what he recommended to go with the Copper & Kings Brandy. He thought the Fuente was a good choice but the natural wrapper might be better than the Maduro. He did not have the 8-5-8 in a Maduro, but he had a Fuente Corona in the Maduro and said it is the same tobacco just a shorter length. I purchased the Corona and an 8-5-8 natural and went to try them with the brandies.
Rosemary and I poured healthy pours of each brandy and decided to start with the Corona. Here is what we found in our tasting experiment. Before lighting up we tasted the brandies and here are our notes:
Copper & Kings American Craft Brandy
Nose: Fruity with raisons and apples or apricots and sweet vanilla and caramel
Taste: Fruity with raison and apple with vanilla and a baking spice sweetness.
Finish: Starts fruit and sweet but dries out nicely with oak tannins and spice.
Copper & Kings Butchertown Brandy
Nose: Rich caramel and chocolate with raison and other dried fruit. Very Bourbon-like nose.
Taste: A bit hot but expected at 124 proof. Fruity with peaches and raisons with caramel and chocolate with a hint of baking spices.
Finish: The fruitiness very quickly becomes dry with oak and chocolate.
With the cigars we found these results:
Fuente Corona Maduro before the brandy tasted of barnyard hay with chocolate and spice, possibly cedar but more towards baking spices to me. With the American Craft brandy the smoke made the brandy less tannic and brought out some real nice citrus flavors and creaminess. The Brandy made the smoke less barnyard hay and more chocolate. A very nice pairing. With the Butchertown Brandy the smoke took the heat completely out of the brandy and brought the chocolate and caramel forward to the point Rosemary described it as a candy bar. The chocolate dominated the smoke as well and brought out a bit of leather dryness. This was the brandy we both decided went best with this cigar.
Fuente 8-5-8 Natural wrapper before the brandy has a Hay and spice flavor with cedar and leather. With the American Craft Brandy we found that the smoke brought out a nice grape fruitiness and enhanced the vanilla in the brandy while the brandy made the smoke less spicy and more earthy with hay and vanilla. We really liked this pairing. The Butchertown was good with the smoke making the brandy more spicy and the brandy bringing out the earthy and leather flavors of the smoke, however we both decided that the natural wrapper went better with the American Craft Brandy.
In the end we both think the best pairings were the American Craft Brandy with Fuente 8-5-8 natural wrapper and the Butchertown with the Fuente Corona Maduro wrapper. Now we are curious about which cigars go best with the Copper & Kings Apple brandies.
Photos Courtesy of Copper and Kings and Michael Veach