This this first batch of pics are pre-Christmas pairings.
Sadly I am almost at the end of my Highland Park 12. Will have to reup with a new bottle for sure as it is one of my favorites, hint of smoke and full of carmel and spice goodness. I paired it with the Comacho American Barrel Aged, because I wanted a scotch that wasnt going to clash with smokiness as I have never had this cigar before. I freaking loved this cigar, I think I may be an infused junkie. It has such a great flavor, the tobacco has been aged in bourbon barrels which gives this stick a boozy hit but not in drunk uncle making you a strong drink at a christmas party way. Subtle but present. Definately on my to get again list. If you havent tried an infused cigar, this would be a good one to start with.
Next up was Room 101's Daruma. Now I normally dont go in for shorter sticks, cause if I am going to brave the elements or run a bunch of kms I want to have a good long smoke. I was pleasently suprised with this cigar, it had a great burn time of about 50 minutes and the ash didnt fall apart in the wind. Initial flavors were coffee, cocoa and mild spice. Couple hits of ceder every now and again which was nice to expereince. For the price point it was a very nice cigar.
Okay this next pairing was pretty awesome. Spindrifts Abyss and Alpha Cigar Company's Defuser. The beer was incredible. Such a clean taste, with all that burnt carmel and hops taste one would want from a dark beer. But very light and not heavy at all. A perfect match for the Defuser. This cigar is the uninfused version of Absinthe infused cousin by Alpha Cigars. It completely stands alone on its construction and flavor without the absinthe. On a quick check on thier website you can see my pic above on thier social media feed - how cool is that! #superstar haha. I am really intrigued by how this cigar company started and am looking to try more of thier products. This came as a bonus cigar in the December Cigar Saveur box and pretty pumped it was.
Next up was the SkullBreaker - Surrogates by L'Atelier and a Breton Brewery Stirling. This pairing was legit! The hoppy freshness of the Stirling with its little hit of banana on the finish was a great fit for the meaty Skullbreaker. This is a full bodied cigar with strong cocoa and espresso notes along with under currents of leather and spice. If I wasnt surrounded by mountains of snow, i could easily see myself in some tropical climate, relaxing with these two on the beach. But you would def need to keep pairing this cigar with something fresh as it was quite a heavy smoke. Enjoyed it, but dont know if I would search it out again.
Lastly in the pre-Christmas Catagory is the Cardhu 12yr and the Crowned Heads La Careme. I picked up a couple of these in an online order with Summit Cigars, and had been waiting to try this one. The Cardhu was a great vehicle for this cigar, as I find Cardhu a real vehicle scotch. It is one of those middle of the flavor spectrum scotch that is sophisticated, and balenced. The La Careme was killer. It was so smooth, hits of chocolate, leather, toffee throughout. It was delicious, like eating a box of pot of gold without the calories and shame. Want more of these. ASAP. Like yesterday.
So that is it for pre-Christmas the next round will be Christmas to present. Seriously I ran 89km in two weeks so no judging!!!
So Christmas morn, we were up fairly early, some of the family was off to church, I was in my kitchen getting my stuffing and turkey ready and all the veggies preped for dinner. Once that was complete I made a killer Bloody Mary and grabed my Warped Cigars Guardian of the Farm JJ and headed out to the cigar nook. I have never been a fan of bloody mary/caeser drinks. I am alergic to shellfish so never really had a caesar and the thought of vodka with tomato juice never really hit a chord with me. But I decided to give it a try a few months back and fell in love with it. Mine are not super spicy but enough that you know its there. The GoTF has been one that I have wanted to try for a while ( i think ever cigar is one that i have wanted to try for a while haha). It started with a ton of flavor earthy goodness and some cinnemon hits. It flavor changes about halfway through and hits notes of leather and spice. I dont know if it worked super well with the bloody mary, but a nice irish whisky would be bomb.
Round two on Christmas Day was Breton Brewery's Nut Brown and an Ashton Cigars La Aroma De Cuba Mi Amor. Another awesome paring. The nut brown was another home run from Breton Brewery. Great honey and nutty flavors which really took off with the semi-sweet and spicy kicks of flavor from this cigar. About a third of the way through there were some notes of coffee and earthiness that again matched extremely well with the Nut Brown. On my to get again list.
I have had the next cigar a few times now, and I would put it in my favorites catagory, the Undercrown Toro from Drew Estates. Love it, love it, love it. I was having a bit of a down day after Christmas. This happens for alot of people and it happens to me almost every year. So I have learned what I need is to find the ocean and go have a sit and a chat to clear my head. So off I went in search of a spot to have this Undercrown. Luckily there was a small break in the overcast, snowy weather and so I took a rip out to the Arisag lighthouse. It was nice to see the ocean, have a puff and breath in the salt air for a bit. This is on my permanent get list, luckily the shop in Halifax stocks them on the regular so I will always have a chance to have a couple around in case of emergency haha.
This moves us along nicely to New Years Eve, and it was time to crack into my new to me Dalwhinnie Winters Gold and Oliva V Series. Every year my wonderful god daughter Piper picks out the best scotches. At her young age, she has exquiste taste haha. I have never seen this scotch in Canada so it was a real treat to have something that different. The bottle notes suggest it is best when served cold, well New Years was a very chilly affair so it was a great compliment to the Oliva cigar. Best for last comes to mind with this cigar, it was one of those ones you never want to put down. It boasts notes of toffee, leather, latte coffee, and just goodness. Im not going to say i heard angels singing but def top 5 of the cigars I have smoked for 2016. Luckily got it in under the wire haha. I also dragged friend of the show Rob out to the nook. He was a great sport and found a nice blanket and glass of scotch and came out for a sit. We were probably out there for about an hour and a half, a testament to the construction of the Oliva cigar. So nice to ring in the new year with a fabulous cigar, scotch and friendship.
Immediately following the New Year, a shipment of cigars arrived from the US via friend of the show Jainyme. On his recent travels home to the US, he kindly visited a cigar shop called Cigar Boutique Little Havana in Miami beach for me. The shop owner Cesar is a beauty, and has amazing customer service, I look forward to doing some more business with him in the future. So of course I would be remiss if I didnt try one of the sticks from this order. I decided on the Undercrown Shade. This is a conneticutt wrap cousin to the Undercrown by Drew Estates. I paired it up with the Big Spruce Brewing Company Blood Donair ( pronounced Donner). This is a stout brew with an awesome hit of raspberry on the finish and adds a reddish hue to the beer. When we took a little road trip up to Big Spruce I fell in love with it, and thought it would make a great pairing with this cigar. The Shade had more spice then I think I was expecting, extremely enjoyable. It is incredibly balanced and constructed, really happy I got more then one of them. The raspberry hits from the beer and the spice and nuttiness of the cigar was a refreshing pairing. Light and fun.
Whew almost there!!
Last but not least, for the post Christmas cigars is the HR Blue. I dont have many friends that legitimately enjoy cigars, some that will have one if I have one, but few that are enthusiasts also. One such friend, home from Alberta for the holidays happened to be in the Nish on a day that I was able to get free, so we quickly made arrangements to meet up for a cigar. I wanted to give Steve a great expereince and so I picked out one of my recent favorites for him the CrownHeads La Careme and paired it with the Tim's Dirty American IPA from Big Spruce. He found many of the same notes of flavor that I did, and the bounciness of the citrus in the TDA worked well for him so I was pretty happy about my pick. Steve is just getting started as I am, and subsribes to a Premium Cuban cigar of the month club out of Calgary so it was great to talk about the various cigars he has tried and ones that he is looking forward to trying. The HR Blue was in a word, amazing. It has great construction, draw, and flavor. Very cuban in its feel, and burn time was about 65 minutes. It didnt light evenly, but that could have been me rushing to get going, but once it evened out in the burn line, it really slowed down and smoked smooth. Always great to have any visitors to the cigar nook, and left Steve with an open invitation to come back the next time he is home.
Feel like I might be missing one, but this post is long enough.
Going to try and settle down a little with cigar smoking, being up to 4 a week was awesome, but have a lot of kilometers to put in over the next few months, so going back to 1-2 a week I think.
Hope you all had great holiday!
Sean "BigBoyRunning" Ryan