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Month: April 2016

Cigar Envy | Blog #123

“Trying to delve into the flavor profile of a cigar is something that I have only really started doing. Before that much like my early whisky journey I kind of new what I liked but didn’t know why.”

G’day everyone

As promised this week is a whisky and cigar pairing review. I know I promised to pair something up with the Platte Valley and did give it a go but the cigar I chose fell short of expectation and the pairing was a bit of a disaster.

Instead while getting to know a newfound kindred spirit in Greg from the Holy Smoke club in Calgary I paired up a CAO Pilon with the Angels Envy Port Finish Bourbon.

I will write a full review of the Angel’s Envy later this Summer. This review is more about the Cigar and how well it went with a deliciously balanced bourbon.

CAO Pilon Cigar CAO Pilon Cigar

The CAO Pilon is a bit of a throwback to tobacco fermenting techniques used in the 19th century. Tobacco leaves are generally placed in a rectangular stack (pilon) which is more cost effective than the old method of a circular configuration. The CAO master blender Rick Rodriguez whose signature appears on the band started experimenting with this old school style of fermenting about 5 years ago and found that it added better flavor and even improved consistency of the aesthetics. Part of this process is the longer fermentation period requiring extended aging time due to the lower temperature.

It’s amazing when you start to get into something a little deeper how much you find there is to learn and how little you really knew. For me this is the world of cigars that I have dabbled in over the years. There is no doubt that the pairing of a Whisky, Cognac, Tequila or Rum can be a magical experience.

Trying to delve into the flavor profile of a cigar is something that I have only really started doing. Before that much like my early whisky journey I kind of new what I liked but didn’t know why. Now I am getting more of an idea of the different ways a cigar can come together and am building a profile for my sweet spot.

Angels Envy Whiskey Angels Envy Whiskey

The CAO Pilon was really nicely balanced. Not too peppery which can be a difficult flavor when pairing. I used a brand new punch for this cigar over my normally straight cutter. The draw was excellent and even on the front deck in extremely windy conditions I only had to relight it after an extended period of discussion where I had neglected it completely. Medium bodied with delicious cedar notes and lovely mild tobacco. Every time I reached for another sip of the Angels Envy Bourbon was a delight as the silky smooth port finish sweetness only enhanced the soft and even flavors of the CAO Pilon.

I am always looking for medium bodied cigars as I find that the heavier flavors tend to block out the nuance of any delicate spirit. Islay whisky, especially heavily peated drams can even overpower a cigar but are generally a good choice for bold and assertive sticks.

With fantastic conversation the cigar substantially outlasted my two ounces of Angels Envy and if it were not for the fact that Greg was driving back South I think quite a few more ounces would have been the order of the afternoon. The 5 x 52 Robusto lasted a good hour and a half+ of slow and conversation filled relaxation in the Alberta sun.

“I would definitely recommend this Cigar for either those getting into cigars or even for the experienced. There is a lot to like about the CAO Pilon and I will be keen to get my hands on some more of them in the future.”

As for the Angel’s Envy…. well let’s just say that it is an addictive and delicious Bourbon.

More to come next week…


Young Whiskey from an Old Distillery | Blog # 122

On vacation this year and much like other relaxing trips I like to seek out an unusual whiskey that I have not seen on shelves in Canada. It seems like American whiskey tends to be a go to and when vacationing in the US, why wouldn’t it.

Finding a great little store in Honolulu was the first challenge. Most of the liquor stores around Waikiki stock the same old usual suspects. With a bit of Google work I was able to find this little gem of a store called Posh Liquor. The older lady who runs the store was fantastic and although her knowledge of whisky was limited she knew what was in the store.

“Literally lined with bottles and overflowing onto the floor it’s a challenge to find anything. Kind of like finding a great antique store and spending some quality hunting time.”

Finally I came across a bottle of the Platte Valley 100% Straight Corn Whiskey. You may remember my blog on the Mellow Corn from a trip to Florida last year. If you missed it you can read up on it HERE.

The McCormick Distilling Company is actually the longest continually running distillery in the US. Founded in 1856 it managed to stay open during prohibition by making alcohol for medicinal purposes. In this case the Platte Valley 100% Straight Corn Whiskey was procured by McCormick from a distillery in Kentucky.

Straight Corn Whiskey has to be aged in either used or uncharred barrels (otherwise it would be bourbon)

This example is 3 years old and comes complete with a collectable ceramic jug decanter which has become a bit of a trademark McCormick package for their whiskies. It certainly caught my eye behind all those other bottles at Posh Liquor.

Platte Valley 100% Straight Corn Whiskey – 40% ABV – 3 years old

Colour:        Buttered corn

Nose:        Sweet Corn on the Cob with a hint of vanilla and caramel – very light and easy going.

Palate:        Creamed corn with an infusion of tropical fruit. Just enough to give it some additional interesting character.

Finish:        Fairly short as you would expect but does linger a little with that sweet creamy ripe corn on the cob continuing from the nose.
Does develop a touch of white pepper right at the death which is an interesting end to what is essentially a sweet whiskey.

“A really solid whiskey for only $ 25 (can’t buy anything in Canada in that price range unless you are using it for a rub down)”

Just the ticket for some lazy days by the pool and on the balcony in Hawaii. I might try pairing this up with some local pineapple (juicy and amazing). I bet it would make a great brown sauce to pour over these lady finger bananas that Cindy and I can’t get enough of.

It’s so fun to add unique whiskey hunting to a vacation especially when there are not a lot of stores with decent selections around. Thanks to Posh Liquor for providing such an eclectic and fun experience. I can truly say that I have never experienced a store like it.

POSH Liquor POSH Liquor Booze everywhere! Booze everywhere!

If you find yourself in Honolulu you should drop in and do some hunting of your own.

Next week I will be doing my first Cigar review alongside the Platte Valley. Hoping that I can find a nice mild Cigar with a slightly sweeter disposition. I’ll still be here in Honolulu so this review might have to be somewhere on the beach.

Looking forward to sharing it all with you then.

Aloha and Mahalo from Oahu!