Thursday, October 31, 2013

Macanudo Estate Reserve

A few months ago I read an article in Cigar Aficionado about an upcoming relase by Macanudo. You can read the article here. 

I was curious to try this cigar being a fan of Connecticut shade wrapper cigars for a daytime smoke. Today one came across my desk and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

As you can expect from Macanudo, the construction, draw and burn were excellent. And the wrapper was outstanding.

The cigar was definitely mild leaning a bit to medium with subtle notes of cedar and sweetness.
For a milder cigar it was complex and as I stated very enjoyable.
This is one cigar I know will pair well with a bolder white wine like an oaked Chardonnay.
The only issue is the price. At $16.00 for a robusto, it is a special occasion smoke, but well worth it.
Check out your finer tobacconist and try one if you can find it. The production is limited to 3000 boxes of 10 in each size.

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Odd Couple

Last weekend my wife and I finally visited some of the wineries in the Finger Lakes region in New York, specifically the Seneca Lake area.
That visit inspired this posting and I feel more postings to come.
Before I get into this weeks pairing I have to say how pleasantly surprised I was with the variety and quality of the wines you can find in this region. If you haven't tried any Finger lakes wines, I suggest you do.

Now for the pairing.

CIGAR: Zino Platinum Scepter Cubby  


Wine: Pompous Ass Highfalutin Red

The Cigar:  This is one of the newest in the Zino Platinum Scepter of cigars. The entire line looks impressive with it's black metal tube and silver band. I chose the "Chubby" size which is a 4 1/2x 54 ring gauge double perfecto.
Being a cigar primarily made from Dominican tobacco and by Davidoff I expected something a bit mild to medium, and that is what I got. The first third of the cigar was a bit disappointing, it was not well balanced and the draw was rough. But, as soon as I got into the meat of the cigar the cigar opened up to become a very well balanced and smooth smoke. It has an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper and that buttery almost sweet taste came through. Towards the end there was a bit of light pepper and cedar to round out the cigars profile. This mild to medium bodied cigar promised and delivered.

The Wine:
This wine was one of the surprises of my trip to New York state. It is a medium-bodied red from the Pompous Ass Winery in Stream Rock, NY. The Highfalutin Red is a blended table red wine with 2% residual sugar making a not to dry wine. I was not expecting this table red to have the complexity that it did. it was the perfect compliment to my lighter bodied cigar.
This wine would also be good wine with a casual dinner or lunch of pizza and burgers or just by itself.


 The Pairing:  I titles this pairing the odd couple because I paired a Zino Platinum Scepter cigar, retailing for about $16.00 each with a Pompous Ass Winery's Highfalutin Red wine which retails for under $10.00 a bottle.

This odd couple blended perfectly. The wine helped bring out the cedar and sweet notes of the cigar while the cigar had the perfect balance of tastes to enhance the plum notes in the wine. neither one of them stole the show and they really worked great together. A heavier wine would have overshadowed the cigar while a darker wrapper cigar would have totally deadened the taste of the wine.

I really suggest this pairing if you are interested in a wine and cigar pairing that you can have anytime from lunch through after dinner dessert.
You can purchase the wine from Pompous Ass Winery and the cigar is available at any of your better cigar retailers.

Enjoy














Thursday, October 24, 2013

NY park smoking ban struck down

Late last year, my wife and I were in New York City for a long weekend during the holidays. While we were shopping in an open air market in a public park I wanted to light up a cigar and was told I couldn’t because of a ban on smoking in state parks. Well earlier this month a judge struck down the ban.
 
 
To read more about follow this link:
http://www.cigaraficionado.com/webfeatures/show/id/17281

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Boutique Beauties

As you know if you’ve read my first blog post, I am fortunate to work in the cigar industry. Because of that, I from time to time get a chance to sample a new cigar that hasn’t yet been release to the market. The cigar I sampled a few months ago was the spark for this pairing.

This weeks pairing I chose a boutique cigar and a limited edition spirit.

CIGAR:  Guerra, a limited release blended by Abe Flores

RUM: Captain Morgan, Limited Edition Sherry Oak Finish Spiced Rum



The Cigar: 
Guearra is a small batch production, blended by Abe Flores from Pinar del Rio in the Dominican republic. Like a lot of boutique cigars, not much is known of the company behind the actual blend. At first glance the cigar and it’s packaging looks Cuban. From the colors and artwork on the box to the wrapper and pigtail of the cigars. I was able to find out that this cigars boasts a  Criollo 98 Ecuadorian wrapper, a Dominican Habano binder and the fillers are a blend of premium  Nicaragua &  Dominican tobaccos.

It has a beautiful mottled wrapper that you can tell has been aged for many years. The room note is not overly strong and the complex and balance smoke really hits you right away. A true Dominican cigar it has just a touch of pepper coming from the Nicaraguan tobaccos used in the filler but overall it is a true Dominican cigar boasting those subtle notes of a creamy sweetness and just a touch of cedar and spice at the finish. It is an very well balance medium bodied cigar that is smooth from head to foot.

The impetus of this cigar seems to be a story about a TaĆ­no chief named Hatuey. He has attained legendary status for leading a group of natives in a fight against the invading Spaniards, and thus becoming the first fighter against colonialism in the New World. He is celebrated as "Cuba's First National Hero."
The name of the cigar, Guerra, means war is Spanish. But there is no war inside this cigar, just a harmonious blend of tobaccos that will leave you fully satisfied.

The Rum: 
Captain Morgan Limited Edition Sherry Oak Finish Spiced Rum is a dark amber rum that has been “finished with Sherry Oak”.  The sherry impact is clear in the color of this rum and also immediately in the  nose. Captain Morgan Limited Edition is exceptionally smooth with a little sweetness like most of their rums. But this spiced rum has subtle oak and dark cherry notes that really makes a difference. Once you sip it you get a really that nice oaky flavor mixed with the spices in the rum. While the oak does intensify some it never becomes too overwhelming. The finish is extremely pleasant with the spicy oak flavors become a bit softer and the sherry shines a bit more and leaving you a nice balanced finish.
I enjoyed this spiced rum on the rocks and it was such a pleasant after dinner  drink. It's smooth flavors were well balanced and never harsh.

The Pairing:

With this pairing I strayed away from my normal pairing of wines and ventured out into the world of brown liquor. When I saw the limited edition Captain Morgan I was intrigued. Being a big fan of Captain Morgan original spiced rum, I had to try it but it wasn't till I sampled Guerra that I knew I had a great paring.

Both the cigar and the rum are solid, with smooth characteristics. They both have a great blend of flavors and when those flavors mixed, my evening pairing was a hit. Guerra is a solid medium bodied cigar that is a definite go to smoke for everyday but when paired with the Captain Morgan Limited Edition Sherry Oak Finish rum the everyday got a bit special.
I definitely recommend this paring to anyone who likes a well balance medium bodied cigar and is a fan of rum, or even bourbon for that matter.

Another great thing about this pairing is the price. Guerra, which only has limited availability till January 2014, goes from $49.95 to $79.05 for a box of 20. The rum, which is limited, you can pick up for under $25.00 a bottle, making this definitely worth the price.


*At the time of the writing of this post Guerra is only available from Cigar.com via their telephone representatives.

The Psychology Behind Wine Labels

I came across this article and thought I'd pass it along.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/10/10/231458853/drinking-with-your-eyes-how-wine-labels-trick-us-into-buying

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Over a Cigar show

If you have a few free hours tonight from 7 to 9pm est, go to overacigar.com I will be on the show talking about a new boutique cigar I just discovered. It will also be my next cigar for a new pairing. Listen in and call in, the show is a blast and somewhat informative too.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

After Dinner Dessert

For this pairing I really need to set the stage. It's just after sunset on a beautiful, early October evening. I have moved to the porch after eating a wonderful dinner and am now sitting in a rocking chair getting ready to sample this weeks pairing.

Cigar:

Perdomo 20th Anniversary Maduro Robusto

Wine:
Cockburn's Special Reserve Port
The Cigar:
  The Perdomo 20th Anniversary line of cigars is a new cigar that was launched in 2012. Being a fan of Perdomo cigars, I was really eager to try this cigar but it wasn't until I had the pleasure of visiting the factory in Esteli, Nicaragua that I finally did. The cigar has a Cuban seed Maduro wrapper with Nicaraguan binder and filler. It's a medium to full bodied cigar that really has some great notes of coffee and cocoa. One thing I really liked was the ring gauge. Not normally a fan of bigger cigars but I smoked the robusto size which was a 5" x 56 ring gauge. It gave me a nice full, thick smoke. From start to finish the Perdomo 20th Anniversary Maduro cigar was balance yet complex and never had a harsh bite.

The Wine:

Since this was an after dinner pairing I decided on one of my favorite dessert wines, a Cockburn's Special Reserve Port.

This port is made from selected premium grapes in Portugal. It's aged longer than normal ports in oak vats to help it with it's wonderful balance and smooth finish. The oak is there but not overbearing in the finish. This is a great dessert win, but also on it's own anytime or with a nice sharp cheese and a fine cigar. It's extremely well balance and has very rich deep berry notes and the sweetness is not overpowering as in some ports. Just the right balance.

The Pairing:  W
hat a great way to cap off a great dinner than a cigar and a bottle of port, especially this Perdomo 20th Anniversary Maduro cigar and Cockburn's Special Reserve port. The two complimented each other very well with nothing dominating the other. Just a really nice blend of flavors, smooth to the end.

This pairing is also not too expensive. You can pick up the robusto size of this cigar for about $8.00 and the wine for under $20 a bottle. Making this pairing very worth the price and extremely enjoyable. I definitely recommend this paring for anyone who likes complex robust flavors that are smooth and totally enjoyable.