WHISKEY REVIEW!

Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Cornerstone Rye – 109 Proof – 9 & 11 year old Rye

Thee Wild Turkey. This distillery and I have a deep love affair. I believe Wild Turkey is the most consistent distillery in the last 50 years of distilling in Kentucky. Yup, that’s right, Wild Turkey. You see they have only two mash bills – one for bourbon and one for rye. It’s quite impressive. So with that, here is my first whiskey review on CigarHawk….oh and Drink More Turkey!

Nose: You will not want to stop smelling this glass. A warm and inviting vanilla marshmallow smell. It follows up with a hint of sweetness. There is absolutely no ethanol here.

Taste: Very bold up front. A peppery vanilla taste meets the forward palate. The forward palate lasts quite awhile. Honey immediately follows. The spice never fades. This is absolutely the most impressive thing about the taste. 

Finish: A solid lingering finish. The honey moves to the mid palate. The sweet spice carries all the way through. It’s warming in a good way. The spice comes back around to the forward palate which is unusual for any pour. 

Overall: Eddie Russell has done it. His father distilled the infamous “Christmas Rye”, which is something of legend. Eddie has landed himself another anchor to cement why he will be just fine the day (the unfortunate day) Jimmy steps back as Master Distiller at Wild Turkey. Cornerstone Rye has become (that’s right past tense) what it’s name says, a cornerstone. I am extremely impressed with this profile and will be purchasing more before it’s gone. Do yourself a favor, grab one before that happens. Cheers!

Score: 9.5/10

Added Water: After 5 drops of water, the spice dissipates. After 10 drops of water, it is sweet sweet honey all the way through.

*Full disclosure: I warm my palate before tasting any bourbon. Typically with a potato vodka. It’s always treated me better and I feel I get a much better nose and finish by doing this.

Celebrating 243 years of one sweet victory….and American whiskey!

Whiskey claims to itself alone the exclusive office of sot-making.

Thomas Jefferson
A Stolen Throne Crook of the Crown with a 13 year old WhistlePig Rye Whiskey from the Bourbon Society of Central Florida.

It is July 5th. Independence Day is over. Although for some reason I do not want to stop celebrating that sweet victory that is 243 years old. Independence Day is my favorite holiday. I love it more than Christmas. Hell, I love it more than my own birthday. Which leads me to one massively important point. American Whiskey is the best whiskey to ever grace this planet.

Without our Independence from Great Britain, we would have never been gifted what the Founding Fathers spent so much time working on. I know what you’re thinking, the Declaration of Independence….WRONG! It was whiskey. You see, the way I look at it is quite simple: the Declaration of Independence was simply a document to give America the freedom to distill the best liquid to grace Earth.

Now, now, I am moderately joking. It serves as one of the greatest historical documents of all time (taxation IS theft). The greatest country in the history of mankind formed as a result. The freedom to write this piece is evidence of that. Yet, for some reason I always come back to whiskey. So with that, I believe a toast with some fine rye whiskey is in order. George Washington did it and he arguably drank more than any other President. Something about it must be good, right?

So toast we will to the greatest country in the world. To all those who did and continue to sacrifice so much for our freedoms, we say thank you. I will always love Independence Day. Cheers everyone!

Blanton's Black (Japan)

It’s Monday Hawks! We all know what that means! That’s right, an excuse to have a glass of whiskey and a fine smoke to help relax from the beginning of the week. This week we take a look at our second installment of the Blanton’s series. Today is all about taking it Japanese, with Blanton’s Black!

Blanton’s Black and Red are distilled in Kentucky with the rest of the Blanton’s labels, but only distributed to the Japanese market. Even in Japan these two are harder to find. I spent a whole week in Tokyo and was only able to find two bottles of the Black and none of the Red. I got lucky a couple of weeks ago and won a raffle for a bottle of the Red.

So let’s dive right in to this delicious bottle of rare and forbidden juice.

Blanton’s Black comes with a minimum of 8 years aged, unlike the regular Blanton’s the US gets. The regular Blanton’s doesn’t come with any kind of age statement, but it’s speculated that it’s 6 years minimum.

The mash bill on this bourbon is Buffalo Trace’s mash bill #2, which has the higher rye content. However, BT doesn’t disclose the exact mash bill.

ABV on this variation of Blanton’s is 80 proof. The Red is 93 proof, just like the original. The Black, however is slightly watered down to help bourbon drinkers that don’t want the heat of the higher proof pours.

The color of this fine juice is a golden dark brown.

This bourbon is not particularly expensive at about 30-40 dollars USD in Japan. However, on the secondary market these bottles are like gold. Running somewhere between 200-300 dollars.

The nose on this bourbon is stunning. Floral notes with cherry and apple on the front, with caramel, vanilla, and oak on the back end.

The taste is smooth. A very easy drinker. Little to no burn on the tongue. Fruit and sweet on the front of the tongue make way for the oak of the 8 year aged juice. The oak is not overpowering, but it’s definitely noticeable.

The finish on this bottle was medium at best. It doesn’t linger. It’s tasty and makes a great sipping drink.

My final thoughts on this bourbon are that it’s great! One of my favorites! However, for the price on the secondary, it’s just not worth it. If you happen to be in Japan and find it, buy a bunch. I personally wouldn’t pay what people are asking for this bottle.

An interesting side note- Blanton’s in the US and Japan comes in the standard 750ml bottles. Blanton’s released to European market only come in 700ml bottles.

Blanton’s Black (Japan)

It’s Monday Hawks! We all know what that means! That’s right, an excuse to have a glass of whiskey and a fine smoke to help relax from the beginning of the week. This week we take a look at our second installment of the Blanton’s series. Today is all about taking it Japanese, with Blanton’s Black!

Blanton’s Black and Red are distilled in Kentucky with the rest of the Blanton’s labels, but only distributed to the Japanese market. Even in Japan these two are harder to find. I spent a whole week in Tokyo and was only able to find two bottles of the Black and none of the Red. I got lucky a couple of weeks ago and won a raffle for a bottle of the Red.

So let’s dive right in to this delicious bottle of rare and forbidden juice.

Blanton’s Black comes with a minimum of 8 years aged, unlike the regular Blanton’s the US gets. The regular Blanton’s doesn’t come with any kind of age statement, but it’s speculated that it’s 6 years minimum.

The mash bill on this bourbon is Buffalo Trace’s mash bill #2, which has the higher rye content. However, BT doesn’t disclose the exact mash bill.

ABV on this variation of Blanton’s is 80 proof. The Red is 93 proof, just like the original. The Black, however is slightly watered down to help bourbon drinkers that don’t want the heat of the higher proof pours.

The color of this fine juice is a golden dark brown.

This bourbon is not particularly expensive at about 30-40 dollars USD in Japan. However, on the secondary market these bottles are like gold. Running somewhere between 200-300 dollars.

The nose on this bourbon is stunning. Floral notes with cherry and apple on the front, with caramel, vanilla, and oak on the back end.

The taste is smooth. A very easy drinker. Little to no burn on the tongue. Fruit and sweet on the front of the tongue make way for the oak of the 8 year aged juice. The oak is not overpowering, but it’s definitely noticeable.

The finish on this bottle was medium at best. It doesn’t linger. It’s tasty and makes a great sipping drink.

My final thoughts on this bourbon are that it’s great! One of my favorites! However, for the price on the secondary, it’s just not worth it. If you happen to be in Japan and find it, buy a bunch. I personally wouldn’t pay what people are asking for this bottle.

An interesting side note- Blanton’s in the US and Japan comes in the standard 750ml bottles. Blanton’s released to European market only come in 700ml bottles.

#Blantons #blantonsblack #japanese #bourbon #whiskey #Buffalotracedistillery #Traficante #spirits #cigarhawk

Traficante Cigars. Hell Mary Review

So I have been seeing Traficante Cigars lighting up social media for over a year now and they have REALLY taken over our group in popularity. I can honestly say that I didn’t really know very much about them but I did a little bit searching and found that information about the brand and the owners are pretty hard to come by but there is certainly a reason for it as you will see. Some of you may already know.

“OUR JOURNEY Traficante Cigar Company was created in 2015 as I (Mike) was involved in Narcotics operations and for that reason, no personal photos were posted publicly until May 2017. The Traficante Cigar Company represents what we have seen in the Narco-Culture. We have no intention of being a major player in the cigar industry, but prefer to keep the brand(s) exclusive and unique. We depend heavily on the connections we have made over the years to assist us in our quest to provide the highest quality cigars available at an affordable price. We are not a large company, and we prefer it that way. Our goal is to provide the best cigar experience possible. How do we do that? With the help of our Amigo’s.”

Taken from the website.

I would imagine that being involved in that kind of work and the lifestyle that comes with it explains the low profile online. Can’t blame them for that. I am hoping to connect with the owner soon and try to set something up for release here on the site.

Looking at the company website, the cigars, the aging process and the info I found, this is certainly by all accounts a true “boutique” cigar company. Producing under 100 cigars a day it stands to reason that supplies of these cigars come and go so quickly. I have seen the same thing with Ezra Zion cigars and when the announcement comes about cigars being back in stock, you better have your money ready and hit that order now button because they don’t last long. While I can appreciate what they are doing, as a consumer on the flip side it usually means we miss out on some great releases. I travel a lot for work and by the time I am able to stop and check emails and go to the site, they are gone. 1st world problems right?

So back to their aging process. This was also available on their website and I thought it was worth adding.

THE BARREL AGING PROCESS

After fermentation is complete, our tobacco undergoes a secondary aging process where it continues to release ammonia. This enhances the flavor and aroma.The wrapper tobacco is packed in bales of 120 lbs and is left to rest and age for a minimum of two years. During this time, the bales are cured in a special warehouse where the humidity and temperature are controlled at all times, in order to maintain the proper moisture and humidity. Once fermented, filler tobacco goes back to the tobacco floor where part of the mid stem is removed by hand. After the mid stem is removed, filler tobacco is packed in bales of 130 lbs and placed into tercios, which are bales made of royal palm bark. Tercios are an expensive process because each tercio must be made by hand. This method originated in Cuba and is ideal because it allows the tobacco to age in a slow, continuous manner to achieve the optimal taste, aroma and burning capability.Filler tobacco remains in tercios for up to two years. Once this is complete, the filler tobacco is then packed into Dominican rum barrels where it continues to age and mature, taking on additional flavor nuances.

So with all of that said, let’s jump into what we came here to do. Let’s look at the Hell Mary from Traficante Cigar Company.

Traficante Hell Mary 7 x 50 Maduro Toro

MSRP: $12.00

Blend:

The blend is not disclosed and this is what is on the website.

“The Hell Mary is unique to say the least. From the art work on the band to the blend itself, this is sure to be one controversial cigar. Notes of Louisiana Perique, Anise, leather, and the green fairy (Absinthe).This is one complex blend with multiple transitions.”

Interesting. Being from Louisiana this peaked my interest. If you are not familiar with Louisiana Perique tobacco here is some info. There are roughly 25 farmers that grow Perique and that number is growing as popularity is rising.

Perique /pəˈriːk/ is a type of tobacco from Saint James Parish, Louisiana, known for its strong, powerful, and fruity aroma. When the Acadians made their way into this region in 1776, the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes were cultivating a variety of tobacco with a distinctive flavor. A farmer named Pierre Chenet is credited with first turning this local tobacco into what is now known as Perique in 1824 through the labor-intensive technique of pressure-fermentation. The tobacco plants are manually kept suckerless and pruned to exactly 12 leaves through their early growth. In late June, when the leaves are a dark, rich green and the plants are 24-30 inches (600 to 750 mm) tall, the whole plant is harvested in the late evening and hung to dry in a sideless curing barn. Once the leaves have partially dried but are still supple (usually less than 2 weeks in the barn), any remaining dirt is removed and the leaves are moistened with water and stemmed by hand. The leaves are then rolled into “torquettes” of approximately 1 pound (450 g) and packed into hickory whiskey barrels. The tobacco is kept under pressure using oak blocks and massive screw jacks, forcing nearly all the air out of the still-moist leaves. Approximately once a month the pressure is released, and each of the torquettes is worked by hand to permit a little air back into the tobacco. After a year of this treatment, the perique is ready for consumption, although it may be kept fresh under pressure for many years. Extended exposure to air degrades the particular character of perique. The finished tobacco is dark brown – nearly black – very moist with a fruity, slightly vinegary aroma.[1] The fruity aroma is the result of hundreds of volatile compounds created by anaerobic fermentation of the tobacco. Many of these are responsible for the flavors of fruits and are often found in wine.[2] Source: Wikipedia

Appearance: Looking at the cigar the very first thing you notice about it is the dog tag. Unlike traditional cigars bands, these dog tags really stand out and make a statement. These dog tags certainly reflect the vibe and feel that surrounds the brand. The Hell Mary is certainly unique featuring a woman with a ball gag, nipple clamp with roses around her. The cigar is very rustic with lots of veins ranging in sizes from small to medium. The wrapper is medium to dark brown in color.

Pre-Light: Where do I start? There is a ton going on here in the form of notes coming off the barrel. Tons of heavy floral, absinthe, anise (liquorice). Since I have never been exposed to Perique tobacco I am not sure what I should be getting from it. I have heard that it is strong and the notes coming from this stick are all very noticeable. Using a V-cut to open the cap, the draw has some resistance and I pick up mostly floral, clove, grassy notes with some anise. This cigar is one of the most intriguing cigars I have had in awhile simply because I have no idea what to expect from it.

1st Third: Whoa! What the $%*@ is going on? I did not expect this at all! Tons of sweet cedar wood, minimal floral notes but some clove and grass. This is a very unique blend for sure. I decided to use an X-cut to open the draw a bit and it helped out a lot. Floral notes begin to take shape as I move further into the first third. This is unlike any other cigar I have tried and I am really digging this flavor profile. Full bodied, medium strength so far. No burn issues and the draw is fine now that I opened it up a bit.

2nd Third: Having a little trouble with the burn. I needed to give this cigar a bit more time in the humidor I think. We also had a rain storm come through so the humidity is much higher now. The flavor profile stays about the same without a lot of heavy transitions. Mostly floral notes, grass, clove, anise and heavy cedar. I am really enjoying this blend. Although there aren’t many changes in the flavors, the blend works for me and I am really enjoying this cigar. No real performance issues.

Last 3rd: Again no real changes. The cedar and floral notes take turns at the forefront and then falling back nicely. There is a touch of spice here and there but overall the blend is very consistent. The burn straightened up nicely since the touch up. The strength is still a solid medium. Pretty much on cruise control at this point. Very enjoyable smoke.

Final Thoughts: This one really surprised me. When I first smelled it I thought “Oh hell no, this thing is super infused”. I almost didn’t want to smoke it but I can honestly say, I am glad that I did. This is not one that I would smoke everyday but I would certainly add this to my regular rotation on the days where I just want something completely different. I encourage you to find this cigar and give it a shot. If you enjoy heavy cedar, floral, grassy notes, this cigar is for you. Very edgy artwork, very unique smell, very unique smoking experience. I say “well done on this one” Michael Poe.

MOMBACHO CIGARS S.A. EXPANDS INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION AND DEBUTS NEW LOOK FOR LIGA MAESTRO

Great news from our friends at Mombacho Cigars. I am super happy to see this brand grow and expand in the industry. If you haven’t tried any of their stuff before, you should seek them out. Our friend Rob Rasmussen sent over some info for us to share with. Check it out!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:

Robert Rasmussen

Brand Manager Mombacho Cigars

E: rob@mombachocigars.com

P: 510-693-1714

MOMBACHO CIGARS S.A. EXPANDS INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION AND DEBUTS

NEW LOOK FOR LIGA MAESTRO

Germany, Japan, Mexico and Norway have been added to the expanding list of countries where Mombacho Cigars are available for purchase. New Liga Maestro boxes debuted at IPCPR 2018.

GRANADA, NICARAGUA. – (25 July 2018). Mombacho Cigars S.A. has broadened its international reach by adding distributers in four new countries. Germany, Japan, Mexico and Norway are now among the 16 countries where Mombacho Cigars are sold.

“Awareness of our brand is not only growing in the US, but internationally as well,” said Robert Rasmussen, Brand Manager of Mombacho Cigars. “Our cigars can now be found in 16 countries worldwide and we are working diligently to continue expanding into more nations.”

Mombacho Cigars S.A. is a Canadian owned company established in 2006 that entered the US market in 2014. The international interest in Mombacho has grown rapidly and Mombacho cigars are now available in Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Germany, Guatemala, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Norway, Spain, Switzerland and Trinidad and Tobago.

“The recent IPCPR trade show was a success for Mombacho, both in terms of retailers in the US and our distribution worldwide,” said Claudio Sgroi, President and Master Blender of Mombacho Cigars. “It is beautiful to see the love for Mombacho spread across the globe.”

Mombacho also unveiled new boxes for their Liga Maestro line at the recent IPCRP trade show in Las Vegas. The new boxes feature a matte black finish with a gold embossed Mombacho logo and have already begun shipping to retailers. Tierra Volcán will be available in similar boxes later this year.

ABOUT MOMBACHO CIGARS

Mombacho Cigars, S. A. was founded in 2006 to provide premium handmade cigars through memorable experiences in select markets around the world, including Canada, China, Italy and, since 2014, the United States. Mombacho produces all of its products at its factory in Granada, Casa Favilli, where over 30 members of the Mombacho Family work. For more information, contact Robert Rasmussen, Brand Manager of Mombacho Cigars at rob@mombachocigars.com.

I am a fan of this brand and I hope that we can get more local retailers to pick them up soon. I look forward to building a relationship with them and wish them much continued success. Please make sure to share this and ask your local B&M to carry them.

Coyaba Cigars Green Label

I have seen Coyaba on social media for some time now so I reached out to Mr Juan Nunez. What a great industry we are a part of. Think about that. What other industry can you simply reach out and interact with a Company/Brand owner and they respond almost immediately and they will have a conversation with you like you have known each other for years? This happens all the time and they are some of the most genuine people you will meet. Juan was certainly no different.

This is my first review of the Coyaba brand. For those of you that don’t know about them here is some info from their website.

“About Coyaba Cigars Tobacco

The meaning of Coyaba in the Taino language means Paradise. To the Tainos, this signified their Heaven. A place of ease and rest where time was spent feasting and dancing. They were free of diseases and the threat of hurricanes. With the creation of Coyaba Cigars, we have accomplished our own paradise.We welcome you to Coyaba Cigars. We produce premium handcrafted cigars that are sure to please the palate of diverse cigar aficionados and enthusiasts alike. We are confident that for years to come, you and your friends will enjoy Coyaba Cigars, the industry’s finest aromatic sensation which is available for your smoking pleasure. Our factory is located in Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic, and whose main purpose is the production of premium handcrafted cigars. The Dominican Republic is recognized internationally by the unmatched quality of its premium handcrafted cigars. We at Coyaba Cigars have the capacity to handcraft cigars in various emblematic classic and specialty vitolas with unique blends by our certified Cuban trained cigar rollers. We do so with the best specially selected materials available in the market today.This is all done under the direct supervision of our master blenders, whom are true perfectionists and pay special attention to detail as demonstrated in their consistency with blends and creation of our premium hand crafted cigars.We welcome our brothers of the leaf to Coyaba Cigars, where ‘We do not smoke the competition… The competition smokes us…’Salud and long ashes…Juan P ‘JP’ Nunez”

If you want more information on the company, brand and blends, please visit http://www.coyabacigars.club/home.html

Let’s jump in here and take a look.

Coyaba Green Label 7 x 48

Origin: Dominican Republic.
Wrapper: Negro maduro San Andres (Mexico).
Binder: Ecuador Connecticut natural, Peru (Viso).
Filler: Dominican Republic (Piloto Cubano), Dominican Republic (Doble ligero), Nicaragua (Viso).

Appearance: This cigar is rugged in appearance with medium veins and tight seams. The stick has a few bumps but feels firm with no soft spots. The green, white and gold band really stands out against the wrapper. Overall a nice presentation.

Pre-Light: From the barrel I pick up notes of straw, barnyard a slight bit of pepper. From the foot I pick up fermintation, hay and a slight cocoa note. I use a v-cut to open the double cap and I get notes of espresso and some hay. The draw is open with a little bit of resistance.

1st Third: Right off the bat I get a nice woodsy profile. I pick up some grassy notes mixed with some sweet cocoa. A touch of light pepper in the background blends in nicely. The burn and draw are both good. As I move a bit more into it the blend turns a bit more earthy with some nice woodsy notes. This is a nice medium strength, very smooth and easy smoke.

2nd Third: No real big changes in transition. The profile remains earthy with nice wood notes (reminds me of a sweet cedar with some grassy notes) and a touch of sweet cocoa. This is consistent with the first third of the cigar. The draw has remained nice and open with a slight resistance and the burn has a slight wave to it. So far its on cruise control and no touch ups have been needed. Moving towards the final third, no significant changes. Sweet cedar still very much at the forefront with more earthy notes on the back end.

Last Third: A little touch of pepper comes back into the mix. Again no real changes. Still getting a lot of nice smoke production, draw and burn are both good. Still a nice, smooth, easy medium strength cigar. As I move to the last inch or so, no bitterness, still cool to the touch with no hot spots or burn issues.

Final Thoughts: This was my first from the Coyaba brand. As someone that typically smokes full bodied cigars I had concerns on this fitting my normal profile. The construction and performance are both very solid. The cigar remains very consistent throughout the entire smoke. If you are looking for something with drastic changes from third to third, this in not your go to cigar. It is a very solid cigar with a nice earthy, woodsy profile with notes of sweetness along the way. Strength was a solid medium start to finish. If you are more of a full bodied smoker, this would be a great first smoke of the day with a cup of coffee kind of smoke.

So there you have it. The Coyaba Green Label. I look forward to reviewing more of their cigars in the near future. Thanks to Juan Nunez for allowing me the opportunity to do this review. Until next time…#LongAshesFullGlasses friends.

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Weller Wednesday

Happy Weller Wednesday Hawks!!!!!!!

I had all planned on reviewing a local distillery this week, but then I got a hold of some Weller Special Reserve, Weller Antique, and Weller 12 year old. I have wanted to try some Weller’s for years, but could never find any in the ABC ran state of NC. Needless to say I was excited to run across these!

This week we will review Weller Special Reserve (WSR) AKA The Green Label Weller.

All the Weller products come from the Buffalo Trace Distillery and are part of their “wheated” line. These include bourbons such as W.L. Weller and Pappy Van Winkle. So let’s jump into this review!

Mash Bill- I couldn’t find the specific mash bill for WSR, but we know it’s from Buffalo Trace’s wheated mash bill.

ABV- 90 Proof

Price- This is only a 19-23 dollar bourbon. However, because of the limited quantities and the hoarders that live in the bourbon community, this goes for well over double on the illegal black market.

Color- Bronzed Orange/Honey

Nosing- I like to let my bourbons sit for a few minutes to allow some of the alcohol blunt to drift away, and this bourbon was no different. After letting it open up a few minutes, I was treated to sweet smells of caramel, honey, graham crackers, and as dumb as it sounds, candy corn. Not the regular ones either. The awesome caramel ones that we all loved as kids. Admittedly, I still love them.

Taste- Incredibly sweet with all the caramel and vanilla notes you could ask for. On the back end of the tongue, I get some mild oak, marshmallow, and maple syrup.

Finish- WSR is not an overly complex bourbon, but it does have a nice medium finish that coats the mouth like a light butter. On the exhale after swallow, you really get those caramel notes. At 90 proof, this was not a hard bourbon to just sip on neat. WSR had very little burn to it, and was great for an spring afternoon.

Final Thoughts- While I had hoped for this being a stellar out of the park bourbon because of the following, I was slightly let down. It was good in every sense, but nothing to write home about. All the hype behind this bourbon is absolutely crazy to me. Now, don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed it and would love to keep it in my collection to sip on warmer evenings, or help newcomers to bourbon make the full transition to the bourbon world, but it just lacked. Hell, for a 20 dollar bottle, how much can we really expect? It does the job, and gets it done with little effort.

I sipped this bourbon out of my Glencairn glass, neat. I felt no need to add water or ice.

Beginners Bourbon Series…Larceny

It’s Whiskey Wednesday my fellow hawks!

So my plan is to do a review every Wednesday (since I’m probably enjoying a drink myself).

I’m going to start with five of what I consider to be beginner bourbons. The ones you let your friends try when you’re trying to bring them to the dark side!

Remember hawks, enjoying bourbon is no different than enjoying cigars, it’s completely subjective. So what I smell or taste, may not be what you smell or taste.

Hopefully everyone enjoys the reviews

Larceny Bourbon review

Larceny is a 6-12 year, no age statement bourbon from Heaven Hill Distillery.

The mashbill- 68% corn, 20% wheat, and 12% malted barley

Price- 19-30 dollars, but I paid 24 in NC on sale (29 regular price)

Color- Honey/Light Carmel

Nosing- At first the nose on this heavy corn bourbon was nothing but alcohol. I have experienced this with other bourbons before, so I let this one set for about a minute. After letting it sit, I picked up all the typical bourbon smells of vanilla, caramel, and oak, but was able to pick up honey, cherries, and dried fruit.

Tasting- I really pick up the honey, corn, and sweet notes. It almost taste creamy, as the vanilla and caramel hits your tongue. The bourbon has very little spice and isn’t very complex. Very little heat or burn for a 92 proof whiskey.

Finish- creamy, sweet, almost a orange flavor, but doesn’t last very long.

Conclusion- This is by far my favorite bourbon to send new whiskey drinkers to. It’s soft, subtle, and won’t kill your tongue. It has tons of sweetness bc of the high corn and wheat content, which makes it a smooth drinker, at a great price point. Because it is not overly complex, beginners won’t have a hard time picking up the main flavors.

I didn’t see the need to try this one with a drop or two of water, or ice. It was smooth from start to finish without any assistance.

I did this review over two days. One without a cigar, and then today with a Foundry Time Flies. They paired nicely together, however the cigar did seem to over power the bourbon just a little.

** I want to thank my buddy Gonzo for doing this review. I look forward to more reviews as we expand on the content featured here. Please feel free to leave comments, questions and suggestions. Until next time…Long ashes and full glasses.

Ciudad de Musica…Crowned Heads

Altadis U.S.A. recently added another great company to their collaboration list and this time it was Jon Huber and the folks over at Crowned Heads. The Montecristo Ciudad de Musica, Spanish for City of Music, makes perfect sense for the Nashville based company. This cigar is being produced by Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Jr at the Tabacalera La Alianza S.A, which is one of the factories that already produces Crowned Heads cigars regularly.

“The challenge for us was in taking such an iconic brand as Montecristo and putting our fingerprints on it all the while respecting the tradition and legacy that’s existed in the Montecristo brand since 1935,” said Jon Huber, in a press release.

Available in 4 sizes:

Corona Gorda (5 5/8 x 46)

Robusto (5 x 50)

Sublime (6 x 54)

Piramide (6 1/8 x 52)

The Piramide size will be exclusive to Casa de Montecristo lounges. Prices are $11.95 – $16 per cigar.

When I first heard about this project, I was anxious to give them a try. Fortunately for me, I have a Casa de Montecristo about an hour away from me and I was able to pick up the Piramide size. Without further ado, let’s fire this one up and see what we get shall we?

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano

Binder: Nicaraguan

Filler: Nicaraguan, Dominican

Country of Origin: Dominican Republic

Appearance: The wrapper has a medium brown color with medium veins and very tight seams. The wrapper has an almost reddish copper tint in the sunlight. The large black and copper band contains 3 logos. The Montecristo Fleur de Lis, the Crowned Heads “CH” logo, and the Ciudad de Musica logo all encased in circles. The cigar has a really nice oily sheen and the band really gives it an elegant vibe.

Pre-light: I pick up notes of hay, earth, barnyard, and cedar from the barrel. The foot offers more of the same with notes of cedar wood, earth, hay, and slight pepper. The cigar feels light in the hand but no soft spots anywhere. The piramide shape has been one of my favorite sizes for a long time. I used a straight cutter to open things up and the cold draw presents an open draw with slight resistance. I pick up notes of straw, cedar and earth. I get the foot good and toasted and away we go.

1st Third: I pick up spice and a very woodsy profile right from the jump. I get some pepper on the retrohale. I start to get notes of sweet cedar and pepper in the background. About 1/4 inch in I get a touch of mocha/espresso notes. This is a very complex blend and I start to pick up notes of roasted coffee beans. This is a really unique blend with a lot of subtle flavors going on. The draw is open, I am getting tons of smoke, the burn is slightly wavy, the strength is medium. This blend really works well together to form a nice flavor profile that is smooth and complex.

2nd Third: The transition brings some earth, mocha, nuttiness, sweet cedar and spice. About the halfway mark a sweet, subtle caramel note makes an appearance and adds to the complexity. The performance is the same. Good draw, wavy burn line, lots of smoke and medium strength. Not a ton of changes in flavors just a good, complex blend that is creamy and easy to smoke.

Final Third: As I move into the final third, the blend changes slightly and I pick up notes of earth, sweet cedar, wood, leather, and a slight grassy note. I still get faint notes of mocha and espresso. Everything else remains the same. I smoke this one down to about a half inch without it burning hot or being bitter. Total smoke time was around 1 hour 45 minutes.

Final Thoughts: The Ciudad de Musica was an enjoyable symphony of flavors that blend together like music from your favorite band. The blend really comes together nicely and provides a nice, smooth, medium strength, complex smoke that is enjoyable from start to finish. I really enjoyed the piramide size and I would like to try it in another size to compare. I think this cigar would appeal to seasoned cigar smokers more than newcomers. The complexity of the blend, in my opinion, would be best appreciated by an advanced palate. I am also curious to see what happens to this cigar as it ages a bit more. There were a couple of cigars I tried last year that just got better and better each time I smoked them. I can see this being one of those. The first cigar I ever tried was the Montecristo White Label. I really had no idea of what I was tasting at the time. Having revisited it after I had been smoking for awhile, I learned to appreciate what I enjoyed about my first Montecristo. Being a fan of Crowned Heads and hearing about this project I knew it would be interesting, and I was not disappointed. This is a great collaboration and overall a very good cigar. If you get the opportunity to try this one, pick it up and let me know what you think about it.

I hope you enjoyed my review. Please feel free to leave comments, thoughts, or questions here. Don’t forget to follow me on social media and join the CigarHawk Face Book group.

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