By: John Dade

Appleton Estate Reserve RumMy anticipation grew as the time drew near for the paring of one of my favorite spirits with a fine cigar. Though I am normally a Scotch drinker, I find that certain times of year and certain moods call for a well-aged rum. And of course a fine cigar to pair it with makes for a great duo to share an evening with.

For this paring I choose the Appleton Estate Reserve Rum to accompany my Diamond Crown Julius Caesar Pyramid, rated an amazing 95 by Cigar & Spirits Magazine.

The Julius Caesar Pyramid is a 6 1/2 X 52 Dominican that was so named to honor the 135th birthday of the founder of the J.C. Newman Cigar Company, Julius Caesar Newman, and to celebrate the 115th anniversary of the company itself. The Julius Caesar is part of the Diamond Crown cigar series from the J.C. Newman Cigar Company, and is wonderfully crafted in the Dominican Republic in limited quantities, at the renowned Tabacalera A. Fuente factory.

While the exact blend of long filler tobaccos and selected binder tobaccos are kept “secret,” the gorgeous Ecuadorian wrapper that embraces this Pyramid beckons the holder, like the sirens song, to partake of the treasure within. But here, the pleasures are realized rather than revoked.

The Appleton Estate Reserve is an excellent Jamaican rum that boasts an artful blend of some 20 Estate aged rums, each distilled in copper pot stills specifically designed for Appleton Estate. These distillations are then carefully aged in handcrafted oak barrels for approximately 8 years. Only then are the rums personally selected by Appleton’s Master Blender, and crafted into the finished rum bearing the Appleton Estate Reserve name. This is truly a sipping rum to be enjoyed neat in a snifter, or in a rocks glass with one cube.

Following my usual routine, after I remove my Julius Caesar from the humidor, I give it a slow pass beneath my nose and I’m again enamored by the alluring aromas of tobacco tinged with wood. Once clipped, the pre-light draw is firm, yet open, and as I roll this solid Pyramid between my fingers, the oily sheen of the reddish-chocolate wrapper speaks of good things to come.

I choose to sample my Appleton Reserve after first gently swirling it in my glass, to release its essence and delight in the long “legs” trailing down my glass. As I hold it up to the bright blue sky on a clear afternoon, the colors of dark amber with scarlet hints foretell of the pleasure soon to be sipped.

Diamond Crown Julius Caesar PyramidI then toast the foot of my Julius Caesar and fire up the super-premium stick. The draw opens up and copious amounts of white and gray smoke dance around me. The first notes that I notice on my palate are earthy and sweet.

The first nose from the Appleton Reserve is of spicy alcohol which quickly gives way to molasses, burnt sugar and spice. With the first sip, a blast of sweetness laced with spicy notes is apparent. Then the flavor of caramel fills my mouth offering a slight burn on the back of the palate. The draw on my Julius Caesar cuts through the spice to complement the oak and molasses that lingers on my tongue. Though usually considered a medium bodied cigar, the Julius Caesar’s bold flavor profile intermingles wonderfully with the spiciness of the rum.

Half-way through the cigar, the flavor profile remains consistent, as is the even burn and firm gray-white ash, that holds on for almost 2 inches before gracefully dropping on its own. I am thoroughly enjoying the comfortable and relaxing relationship that I’m having with these two premium creations.

As I puff into the final third of the Julius Caesar, a slight shift to nutty and woody tones seems to bring out traces of vanilla and warm caramel in the rum, adding more delight to the experience. As the duet progresses, each sip of Appleton Estate seems to bring out even more of the peppery personality of the Julius Caesar. Each draw on the Pyramid highlights the caramelized depth of the sip that follows. This all plays well into the great finale.

With the sun beginning to set on a wonderful day, the relationship with these two fine friends smoothly comes to an end. Both left me pining for more time together and happily looking forward to a hasty reunion. We shall meet again!