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 [...]


A World Class Pairing Trial by Nick Hammond | photos by Hunters & Frankau Our British brother of the leaf, NICK HAMMOND, is invited to join a roomful of experts in a Champagne and Habanos pairing trial. Tough gig… The offer of Champagne is enough to garner my attention. The offer of a cigar ensures it. But combine the two and I’m all yours, all day, all night, wherever you may be headed. So when I received an invite to join the Masters of Havanas – all those Havana cigar specialists in the UK who have passed an exacting examination invigilated by UK Cuban cigar importer, Hunters & Frankau – who are gathering en masse for a Havana and Champagne tasting, you couldn’t see me for dust. Many of these specialist sommeliers – employed in fancy hotels, restaurants, cigar bars and lounges the length and breadth of the land – are friends of mine, and we don’t often get the chance to catch up. Still more are nodding acquaintances, and I like to get to know as many new faces as I can. These are the cream of cigar specialists in the UK. They’re able to pair a Montecristo Open with a suggested beverage, or give you the precise measurement of an obscure Limited Edition release. [...]

Nat Sherman Puts the “Nat” in National Espresso Day

By: Randy Mastronicola Coffee is a passion shared by many and National Espresso Day on November 23rd is likely to inspire many of us to seek out a good java jolt. Nat Sherman’s Michael Herklots, Vice President of Retail and Brand Development, offers us a couple of pairing suggestions that will add a little spirit to your espresso experience. “Inevitably, cigars last longer than espresso. Personally, I like sparking water on the side. I’ll generally light the cigar first while waiting for the espresso. Then, I enjoy the espresso with the cigar and continue with the cigar once the espresso finishes, accompanied by the sparkling water. The latest espresso is Espresso Corretto, which is espresso served with liquor inside. Anise flavored liqueurs are typical. Rye or Bourbon is great as well, as are grappa and some rums. As for a cigar to pair, whatever you’re in the mood for.” Much like cigars, coffee is a language unto itself, and most of us would agree there is no shortage of dialects. Herklots continues, “Regarding espresso, I like mine ristretto (short) and without sugar. I recommend a Nat Sherman Timeless No. 5. It’s a small format with great flavor that remains cool but it’s the [...]

Montecristo White Series Vintage Connecticut No. 3 with Ron Zacapa Solera 23

By Benjamin Winokur Rare, vintage aged tobacco? Check. Silky Connecticut shade wrapper? Check! Exceptional craftsmanship and construction? Check again. These are just a few of the qualities possessed by the Montecristo Vintage Connecticut. The Montecristo Vintage Connecticut No. 3 is a 5 ½” X 44 corona that comes from the Tabacalera de García in the Dominican Republic. The filler is comprised of an expert blend of tobaccos from Peru, the Dominican Republic, and Nicaragua; it is finished off with a 2008 Vintage Connecticut Shade Grown wrapper. It should come as no surprise that this wrapper comes from Altadis’ very own farm in Connecticut. Fun fact, the red barn and field on the label are images taken on that same farm. To start off, this is a beautifully presented cigar with the unique box and band artwork. The cigar itself is no slouch either, once you remove that large center band you’re faced with a golden-honey Connecticut shade wrapper that is smooth and velvety to the touch. Upon lighting the Montecristo Vintage Connecticut is smooth and mild, offering soft touches of white and black pepper on the nose during retrohale, with buttery and cream notes throughout. Paired with the Montecristo Vintage Connecticut [...]

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