Episode One: A New Blog

So, I am not a cigar reviewer. When I was asked to start writing for the Noise I wasn’t quite sure how I could match the outstanding reviews of the current team. I still consider myself quite a noob when it comes to cigars.

What I have been fascinated with since I started smoking cigars, is the pairing of cigars with various libations to find the optimal match up. I love being able to pick out a couple of dance partners that work really well together, and compliment flavours. Over the years I have matched up some true winners, but also have missed the mark completely on some. So that is what I have decided to blog about. Hopefully more hits than misses though!

For my first Cigar Noise blog I thought I would match up something that is always a slam dunk for a beverage and something new to me in the cigar pantheon.

Who You Bringing to the Dance?

For the beverage I selected Four Roses Single Batch Bourbon. In my part of the world, this is a tougher bottle to find. I usually rely on family or friends traveling to the States to pick me up a bottle or two, but this one I acquired on a trip to Boston in the fall of 2017. While I wouldn’t say I ‘smuggled’ this bottle across the border, I would say I rescued it.

Now I’m not telling anyone anything they probably don’t already know, the Cigar Noise App is full of posts with Four Roses as a dance partner, this bourbon is outstanding with a cigar. It has that great burn you expect from a well established bourbon, but then settles right down and gives fantastic flavours of caramel, vanilla and spice.

My previous experiences pairing it with cigars has never done me wrong, but it really kicks off any cigars that land in the medium/full side of the flavor spectrum. For me it’s important not to put together things that will fight for recognition on the palate, but will blend their flavours together and enhance each other.

On a quick review of options, the Drew Estate Undercrown Sun Grown kept popping out to me. I have not had this one before so I did what I always do with a new to me for a perspective pairing, do some googling to make sure my gut reaction was on point. Anything I read gave this cigar a suggested flavour profile that would make it a great dance partner for the Four Roses. Good enough for me. Out to the cigar nook!

Cigar: Undercrown Sun Grown
Brand: Drew Estate
Pairing Category: Bourbon
Pairing: Four Roses Single Barrel

Click any of the links above to view other posts with similar characteristics.

The First Waltz

Rolling the Robusto version between my fingers, I was very happy that only after a month or so in my humidor it had good bounce, a nice sheen to the wrapper and a great nose. I got some good earthiness and a sweetness from the tobacco. That is usually a good sign for a bourbon pairing for me.

Pouring off a few fingers of bourbon, and having the benefit of the end of winters chill for the glass, no ice is required. I rarely use ice or water anyway. I like the taste of straight liquor, I want it as the maker intended.

A quick straight cut, a nice light and we are off to the races. A quick sip of the four roses and that initial hit of pepper with the first couple pulls from the cigar and we are in flavourtown. The smoke on the Sun Grown has all the things I enjoy about cigars. A thick smoke with a tinge of blue and grey. As the smoke rolls around with the last flavours of bourbon in my mouth I am getting a great pepper and vanilla balance.

A few more puffs and a splash of bourbon and I am getting a cedar and fruit hit that the bourbon is bringing out in the smoke. I am getting a little inconsistent burn line in the first third, but I bring it back to rights and that is really the only flaw I can see in the construction. The wind does not seem to want me to keep much more than an inch of ash at a time but that is pretty typical for me in the Canada.

DE Sun Grown Four Roses

You Know You Make Me Want to Shout

As I make my way through my glass and the cigar I am starting to land in a creaminess dance party. The pepper in both have given way to such a great blend of caramel and cream that it is reminding me of a really good latte. I am about half way through at this point and loving this pairing.

As the dance continues I hit up some tunes on the cigar playlist, nothing like being alone in the cigar nook, crushing a pairing and listening to classic rock. My poor neighbours have to suffer through my pairing infused warbling from time to time. Blessings to them.

I am enjoying my way into the last third, the band has a little too much glue on the wrapper side, but comes off without damaging the wrapper. The pepper in the cigar is starting to kick up again but the Four Roses continues to settle it down some and I finish up with an empty glass, the last strains of Rock and Roll Aint Noise Pollution and about an inch and half of the cigar left.

DE Sun Grown Four Roses

It’s Closing Time

Overall, I was very happy with this pairing and would highly recommend it. I usually try and let cigars sit a little longer typically but this did not suffer from only a month in the humidor. I’m not really into ratings but would grant this a hearty ‘Giver’ if you are looking for a pairing down the road. If you have any pairing suggestions, I am always looking for new things to try, so leave a comment below!

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Sean Ryan

Contributor at CigarNoise
There are 2635 kilometres to Chicago, we have a full tank of gas, half a box of Patina's, it's dark and we're wearing sunglasses. Let's Go.
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