The Cigar

Every time I think spring is finally here the weather turns cold again. Fortunately there was a long enough break in the rain for me to do another whiskey and cigar pairing study. The subject this go-around is an Alec Bradley Prensado Lost Art Robusto. It is a 5×52 with a Honduran wrapper, and both binder and filler tobaccos are Honduran and Nicaraguan. It is made at Raices Cubanas in Honduras. Retail is $10.

This is an offshoot of the older Prensado line from Alec Bradley, and according to the Alec Bradley website the “Lost Art” name refers to the fact that cigars, unlike many other consumer goods, are still made by hand – a lost art.

Upon lighting the flavors in this cigar were intense. Heavy hay and cedar dominated the first few puffs, but then it mellowed almost instantly. Predominant flavors include milk chocolate and faint baking spice with a hint of pepper on the finish.

I’m choosing to mix bourbons and ryes for this pairing. The descriptions I read beforehand led me to believe that this might be a good time to switch up the options, so I added in a Wild Turkey Rare Breed and an Angel’s Envy Rum Cask Finished Rye to my usual Four Roses Yellow Label.

The Whiskeys

Wild Turkey Rare Breed 112.8°

Nose – Toffee and butter

Palate – Sweet caramel and baking spice

Together – The bourbon dulls all of the spice out of the smoke but highlights the chocolate notes. The smoke brings out a velvety texture and creaminess in the bourbon.

Four Roses Yellow Label 80°

Nose – Green apple and baking spice

Palate – Green apple and baking spice

Together – The bourbon brings out rich cocoa notes in the smoke. The smoke mutes the spiciness of the bourbon and brings out caramel notes.

Angel’s Envy Caribbean Rum Cask Finished Rye Whiskey 100°

Nose – Sweet molasses, rye spice, and faint corn

Palate – Maple syrup and baking spices

Together – The whiskey brings out strong dark chocolate notes in the smoke. The smoke brings out caramel apple and spice in the whiskey.

The Conclusion

This is the second pairing in a row where all three are great pairings. This underscores, once again, the importance of choosing your whiskey based on what you are smoking and also pairing whatever you smoke with a flight of at least three whiskeys. It is really easy to get it wrong if you don’t make basic considerations about your pairing. That said, I feel comfortable saying that the Angel’s Envy was a stellar pairing. The sweetness from the rum really contributed to highlighting the chocolate notes in the cigar, turning them from faint milk chocolate to rich, bold dark chocolate.  Meanwhile the cigar cut some of the sweetness of the whiskey and highlighted some of its spice.

Again, there were no bad pairings here. I actually wasn’t sure how the relative high proof of the Rare Breed would come into play, but it ended up being a great pairing. And of course the Four Roses Yellow label rarely disappoints.

Photos Courtesy of Maggie Kimberl