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Singlemalting Whisky Blog # 159 – Cuba “aaah”

After spending my first week in Cuba I thought a getting back into the swing of it blog might be in order. Safely tucked away in my luggage were some cigars and of course a couple of bottles of Cuban rum.
Today we are going to do a pairing with the Ron Santiago de Cuba 12 Year Old and the Hoya de Monterrey Elicure No. 1
The Rum – Ron Santiago de Cuba Extra Anejo 12 Year Old at 40% ABV
Ron Santiago de Cuba is seen as the best Cuba has to offer for rum and was said to be Castro’s favorite. Distilled in the old Bacardi plant that was abandoned during the revolution the Cuban distillers have deliberately designed this to pair with the best Cuban cigars.
Tasted in my San Francisco World of Whisky Hornblower glass that I thought might be more open for the light and yet rich style of the Santiago de Cuba.
Colour: Wow really deep rich colour with a real redddish hue. Apart from my week in Cuba I had not had the pleasure of trying Ron Santiago de Cuba rum before so I know very little about it apart from the fact that it was highly recommended to me by every local I spoke to about rum.
Nose:  Cherry Cobbler, Vanilla beans and pineapple syrup. A hint of Cuba Libre (rum and cola) here.
Palate:  Much lighter fruits than the colour would imply. Fragrant tropicana abounds with caramel squares, candied orange peel and a dusting of white chocolate flakes all without being overtly sweet.
Finish:  The soft caramel covered tropical notes continue with banana, papaya, coconut and pineapple all making appearances. Warming and long, this is a great finish.
Worthy of adding to any great spirit collection this is a super delicious rum. So with the initial notes out of the way it is time to light up my Epicure No. 1 and see how it all comes together.
Robusto size (my favorite) and coming in it’s own cedar lined tube which helped it survive the transit back home perfectly. Could probably use a touch of time in the humidor but I can’t wait. Touted to be a lovely mild cigar it should pair magnificently with the Ron Santiago de Cuba 12 year old.
Colour:  Lighter leaf on this cigar and lovely uniform colour from top to toe. Double banded with a night tight feel to it with just a touch of give on the pinch test.
Nose:  Has that Cuban earthy note to it like a stroll through the barn.
First draws:  Used a V cutter which is my preferance. I do also like a punch but has to be a perfect draw for that so I tend to use a V with new cigars that I have not tried before. No pepper notes here as right out of the gate I get soft fruit and creamy milk chocolate.
First sip:  Oh yeah yummy combo here the Ron Santiago tropics are accented by the mild and consistent flavor of the Epicure No. 1.
If the Ron Santiago 12 were a heavy molasses style rum this would not be the right cigar but as it is a balanced lighter rum this is perfect.
Ongoing this is a very consistent and lovely smoke. Draw is perfect and burn is even and holds tightly to the ash. I am torn between my next draw or my next sip as both are delicious.
Wish I had a box of each as this would be a fabulous Summer time staple out on the deck. At least Calgary Spring has been good enough for me to be outside writing this (was snowing last night). It has warmed up a treat and the sun is shining brightly as I sit on my back deck enjoying these amazing Cuban passions.
Thanks Cuba for introducing me to some of your finest. I will be back.

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…