Featured Pairings: Falto Lonsdale X Espanita Tequila Añejo

Luis J. Falto has been blending Falto cigars at the La Aurora factory in the Dominican Republic for decades. It remains a niche brand to some, but Falto offers a deep dedication to craft. The brand’s diverse flavors should appeal to most serious cigar enthusiasts. You’d be well-served by getting a Falto in your rotation. The cigar vitolas of Falto are the blends. So, a robusto will have the “right profile” for a robusto, and the Lonsdale has a blend of its own. It’s a traditional method of blending, and that’s part of what makes these cigars special. I spent some quality time with the Falto Lonsdale prior to lighting the cigar. I enjoyed the scent at the foot, feeling the wrapper and giving it some cold draws. I discovered some berry crumble aromas straight off–both nutty and jammy. On light, the cigar met me in that same space, with deeper nuttiness and some sweet cream, too. On occasion, there are flashes of a Dominican earth profile, but all-in-all, the notes stay in line with that crumble I mentioned. A tequila often has the right flavor notes for a pairing of this kind, probably because of the similarly tropical [...]

Featured Pairings: Liga Privada Year of the Rat 2020 X Four Roses Small Batch Select 2020 Edition

When you’re famous for a cigar named the “Dirty Rat,” it’s wise to capitalize on the Chinese Zodiac when 2020 rolls around as the Year of the Rat. It’s a common occurrence for limited edition smokes to celebrate zodiac signs, so it’s no surprise that the team at Drew Estate went hard on this one. Offering a blend that’s slightly tweaked from the original Dirty Rat, this Year of the Rat is a shapely Grand Corona with….is that a pig tail on the cap? It’s something more like a flattened, inverted triangle shape. A beaver tail? The Year of the Rat is sold in limited edition boxes of 10, and I found it to be perfectly compatible with Drew’s other Liga Privada line–a strong, slightly peppery cigar with the signature earthy blend of Honduran and Nicaraguan tobacco that Drew does so well. The ash burns tightly and perfectly straight. There’s a sweet, peanut profile as you reach the middle of the cigar. It fuses with the other tastes and remains balanced until the end. I believe a limited cigar should be joined by an equally limited bourbon, so I poured a glass of Four Roses Small Batch Select 2020 [...]

Featured Pairing: Daniel Marshall by Carlos Fuente XXXVIII Anniversary Cigar X Laphroaig 30 Year Old Scotch: The Ian Hunter Story

In many ways, Carlos “Carlito” Fuente and Daniel Marshall represent the upper echelon in the cigar world. They are each master craftsman with vision and meticulous standards. The Daniel Marshall XXXVIII Limited Edition Anniversary Cigar is a once-in-a-lifetime smoke. It represents a celebration of Marshall’s 38th year in the cigar business as well as being his age when his daughter Julia was born. Carlos Fuente (in collaboration with Marshall) created the cigar with Dominican ultra-rare tobacco to honor his friend in a commemorative year. The Daniel Marshall XXXVIII Limited Edition Anniversary is a 6 x 52 torpedo. The cigars are packaged, appropriately, in an artisanal Daniel Marshall desktop/travel humidor made from Macassar Ebony that was designed by Marshall and Fuente. Each humidor contains: • 1 Daniel Marshall by Carlos Fuente 24kt Golden XXXVIII Anniversary Cigar with 2 grams of pure 24kt gold personally rolled by Daniel Marshall. • 7 Daniel Marshall by Carlos Fuente XXXVIII Anniversary Cigars. • 1 Daniel Marshall by Carlos Fuente XXXVIII Anniversary Cigar to be enjoyed in the “Virtual Campfire with Daniel.” A single roller was selected to work with this beauty at the Fuente factory in the Dominican Republic. There were only 12 cigars [...]

Featured Pairings: Alec Bradley Coyol Petit Lancero x Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey

Around this same time last year, Cigar & Spirits Magazine reached out to my father, Alec Bradley Cigar Co. founder, Alan Rubin, to pair a couple of our cigars with Glenfiddich and Balvenie scotches. A year later, as a second generation cigarmaker, I am honored to have been invited by Cigar & Spirits Magazine to talk about pairing an Alec Bradley cigar with bourbon. I’ve chosen to pair the Alec Bradley Coyol Petit Lancero with the Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey. The Coyol Petit Lancero is a blend of Honduran and Nicaraguan tobaccos, featuring an estate grown wrapper leaf from our farm in Trojes, Honduras. Coyol is definitely an enthusiast’s cigar; it has bold flavor but maintains a medium body. The Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel is on the higher end when it comes to proof, at 110. The whiskey fills the palate, but even at that proof, it’s not overwhelming and keeps plenty of room for the cigar smoke. That’s important, because I like to pair cigars and brown spirits that complement each other in flavor and mouth feel. The Coyol Petit Lancero is more intense in flavor than the other sizes in the line due to its [...]

Featured Pairings: Diamond Crown No. 4 Maduro x Chicken Cock Straight Bourbon

Diamond Crown is one of the well-established super premium brands in the cigar business, a collaboration between giants Arturo Fuente and JC Newman. The Diamond Crown is Stanford Newman’s vision of premium, with fermented Connecticut wrappers and impeccably built. The No. 4 Maduro showcases that dark, silky wrapper, which has a sweet, rich taste on the tongue. On lighting, there are notes of toasted bread and fig and Christmas spices. The burn on this, as expected, is razor-sharp as the cigar builds in strength. Interestingly, I caught a raspberry flavor profile on occasion that was a welcome surprise. I paired the No. 4 Maduro with a glass of Chicken Cock Straight Bourbon. On the nose, Chicken Cock is very sweet, very corn-forward. The flavor is orange with some vanilla syrupy-ness. The Chicken Cock highlights the No. 4 Maduro’s sweeter notes, and this is paring a great balance between jammy sweet notes and bright vanilla. This is a late evening snack to be sure, something to be enjoyed in place of dessert and to finish a delicious and meal. There is a lingering richness throughout the smoke and this bourbon makes a brilliant complement to the pairing. [...]


Arturo Fuente cigars are often a surprise for me. Sure, there are the classics like the 898 and the Chateau Fuente line, but there’s such a wealth of limited edition and unique styles of Fuente, I’ve made it my full-time job to try them all. Of course, the Gran Reserva Magnum R #44 is another in a line of stellar cigars from Fuente. This one is a spice and cream experience, the red sun grown wrapper introducing us to cinnamon that we’ll enjoy throughout the smoke. There’s a shop near me that makes a homemade cinnamon ice cream, and this is it. Delicious. A quality cigar needs a unique spirits pairing, and Ardbeg Uigeadail fit the bill here. First, it’s pronounced “Oog-a-dal,” and the unique name comes from the name of the loch from which Ardbeg’s water flows. This is a bold, cask-strength, award-winning Islay scotch. It’s got some deep, smoky notes and there are some surprising citrus notes present, too. Lemon on the nose, occasional sour black cherry. It’s warming, it’s a campfire, and together with the creamy cinnamon elements of the cigar, you might as well be drinking chai by a fireplace. The experience is that vivid [...]


WARFIGHTER GARRISON 7.62MM Warfighter Cigars is combat veteran owned and based out of Nebraska. Their cigars are Dominican made and named for military calibers: .50 Cal, 5.56 MM and 7.62 MM. The 7.62 MM has a scent of old-school tobacco before lighting, almost like the classic machine-rolled cigars back in the day. The Garrison 7.62 has a medium draw, with notes of citrus and banana – it’s mild and well-built, and smokes cool all the way to the nub. As you progress, it becomes more nutty and sweet. It’s a solid smoke with an even burn. I paired the Garrison 7.62 MM with Miel de Tierra Reposado Mezcal, a match in flavor profile with orange, pecan and banana tasting notes. The usual smokiness of mezcal gives way to a sweet honey, reminding us of the mascot bee of Miel de Tierra. This is a unique and flavorful premium mezcal that delivers mild spice with a cool, honey sweetness on the tongue. The two pair together incredibly well, this Nebraska-based Dominican cigar brand and a smooth, sweet Mexican mezcal. The two interplay together well, with a solid and tasty combination of tropical and nutty tastes between both the cigar and mezcal.     BALMORAL AÑEJO XO GRAN TORO Balmoral Cigars [...]


  ESTEBAN CARRERAS MR. BROWNSTONE Mr. Brownstone is a brand-new blend from Carreras, introduced this Spring at IPCPR 2017. Wrapped from ring to foot in a wax-paper label, unwrapping a Mr. Brownstone reveals a  waxy, oily wrapper with a mineral-and-wood scent. The maduro wrapper implies richness, a strong, flavorful smoke, and the Mr. Brownstone doesn’t disappoint. Somehow, the name of this cigar seemed more and more appropriate as I smoked. There are two significant “brown” flavors at play here: dark chocolate and oiled, aged wood. The two play together in a way I’ve never experienced, the sweet and milky with the musky earth, reminding me of roasted apples and rosemary. The Carreras Mr. Brownstone burned straight and even, with a medium draw and at medium-to-full strength. After about the halfway point, the stick mellows to a less complex dark chocolate for the remainder of the time. I paired Mr. Brownstone with an aged gin, Ramsom Old Tom. “Old Tom” style gins are sweetened and sometimes aged, usually with a more citrus-forward palate. In this case, Ransom has lived a short time in wine barrels, and has taken on a complex flavor appropriate for pairing with the Mr. Brownstone. The two played together well, mostly because of the richness of both. Ransom’s [...]

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