Monday, June 24, 2024

Sagamore Spirit Sherry Finish Rye, CAO V660, and the Heat!

Our heat advisory reached its peak over the weekend, but that didn't stop my enjoyment life's simple pleasures. While the wall thermometer read 98° on Friday evening, the "official" temperature was a mere 94°. It's all in your attitude and perspective really. To my mind, outside is preferred over inside, especially when I can add a cigar to the mix.

A CAO Flathead V660 and some Sagamore Spirit Sherry Finish Rye, enjoyed with multiple large glasses of ice water, was the order of the evening.


The CAO Flathead V660 is a cigar I had not explored in a while, though I've had some resting in my humidor since last August. It's a big cigar and as such requires some devoted time to enjoy in its full measure. The 6 x 60 box-pressed dark chocolate hued Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper covers an Ecuadorian Connecticut binder and Nicaraguan fillers. The flavor profile offers rich, semi-sweet chocolate, and espresso notes. The cap of the V660 is quite flat and I always use a punch to open it, rather than attempting a standard straight cut. Despite its heft, the cigar has a wide open draw. I have used a V cutter on one in the past and found the draw too open for my preferences.


The Sagamore Spirit Reserve Series Sherry Finish Rye goes especially well with a full bodied cigar. This is a 4-year old straight rye whiskey which is further aged for 18 months in PX Sherry casks, and bottled at 106 proof. The rye is a brilliant a deep burnt orange color. Aromas of figs, cherries, and raisons greet the nose, foretelling the flavors to come. Upon lighting an immediate hit of cinnamon spice starts things off. A dark sherry impression soon arrives, joining the dark fruit notes. The sherry finished rye is quite flavorful with just a hint of alcohol in the smooth finish. I've had this bottle for about two years, and after this outing there is only a small amount remaining. I chose not to finish it off, just to be able to savor one more pour, probably in the near future.

A couple of cooling fans moderated the heat on the porch ever so slightly. Despite the temperature, I experienced an enjoyable evening, watching the occasional firefly showing off, while enjoying a two hour smoke and sip.

Cheers!

Saturday, June 22, 2024

Weekend Beer Math

In case anyone asks  . . . 


Enjoy the weekend. And stay cool

Cheers!

Friday, June 21, 2024

From One Year to the Next

On the first full day of summer last year, I was lamenting the need to fire up the propane heater to enjoy a cigar on the deck. 


This year, the wall thermometer tells me that today's evening repast will require no such preparations. I do expect it may cool slightly when the sun sets and I'm fully ensconced outside with a cigar and bourbon, and some new blues coming from the outdoor speaker.


Truth be told, I prefer the present weather to the previous year's.

Happy Friday.

Cheers!

Thursday, June 20, 2024

Summer Kickoff

After what seemed like a long wet spring, summer officially arrived on Thursday. And in typical Virginia fashion, the season arrived in a heat wave. I always welcome the warm weather nonetheless. Though technically summer officially arrives at exactly 4:51 p.m. EDT, this is interestingly the earliest summer solstice since June 20, 1796, when George Washington was president.

After I set out the morning lawn sprinklers, I poured a cup of coffee and sat down with a little Sagrado Feito Connecticut. 


The Sagrado Feito Connecticut is a 5 x 38 Petite Corona. Part of the May Luxury Cigar Club mailing, it's been in my humidor just about 5 weeks. The rustic looking Connecticut wrapper hides Dominican binder and fillers. The tobaccos are said to be aged before rolling, but that's as specific information as I've found.

After taking a couple cuts from the pointed cap, I found the pointed tip was still a little small for comfortable smoking, but the draw was wide open so I left it there. The first quarter of the cigar required constant effort to maintain a good light, but when the small cigar was lit, it produced plenty of smoke. As the cigar progressed, the burn improved significantly. 

The flavors were sweet but mild, with nuts and cedar predominating. Near the end a splash of white pepper made an appearance. I've smoked only one cigar from Sagrado previously, the Sagrado Lilith Petite Corona. That cigar I found superior to the Feito, and an exceptional coffee accompaniment. This one was less impressive, though a morning coffee and cigar is always an enjoyable moment.

Cheers!

Monday, June 17, 2024

A Big Smoke for Friday: El Septimo Empress of Sheba

It took me most of Friday to decide on my evening selections. I guess that's the problem with having a wide selection on hand. I picked up this El Septimo Empress of Sheba about a month ago, when shopping for some celebratory cigars. The 6 x 60 Gordo is part of El Septimo's Emperor Collection. The Emperor Collection is dedicated to history's most sovereign rulers. The deep brown maduro wrapper of the Empress of Sheba glistens behind the decorative gold and blue bands.

El Septimo is characteristically unrevealing on the details of the blend. When I asked to cigar shop proprietor about the blend, he simply responded, "You got me." The cigar looked enticing so I took a chance on one.  


The El Septimo Empress Empress Sheba has been resting in my humidor for just a month. That's the minimum time I prefer to keep new additions before they are smoke, though I am not always as patient as I plan. I decided to use a punch to open the cap and found I loose, open draw, right near the edge of my preference.

The initial flavor that hit me was a moderate white pepper. That was soon joined by a creamy dark chocolate and nut blend. Smoke production was copious. Chocolate and espresso came to the forefront through the bulk of the cigar. Occasionally another smack of white pepper would mix things up a bit.


The large cigar fell right in the medium bodied range. In the second half, I felt a bit of strength come through, however the flavor profile changed little throughout the smoke. It did have the feel of well-aged tobacco, though I have no info to confirm that. The burn was a bit faster than I expected, ending at around 90 minutes. Overall an enjoyable, though unexceptional smoke, if a bit on the pricey side.


I enjoyed a couple pours of one of my go-to sippers, Four Roses Small Batch Select. There isn't too much to be said about it that I haven't already said in previous Musings. This Four Roses bourbon is crafted from a blend of six of the Four Roses mash bills and is bottled at 104 proof. The profile is filled with sweet, dark fruit, vanilla and oak, with just a touch of spice. It's a moderately priced bourbon that pairs well with cigars, fruits, and cheese. Just the thing for weekends in these parts.

Cheers!

Friday, June 14, 2024

Flag Day and National Bourbon Day - What a Combo!

June 14 is filled with truly "Made in America" celebrations. Today is Flag Day, the day we celebrate our Nation's flag and all it represents. On the same day we also mark National Bourbon Day, the day we celebrate an "official" American beverage. 


On June 14, 1777 the Continental Congress resolved "That the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation." Our first flag has evolved over time to the one we proudly fly today with 13 stripes and 50 stars. To this day, I hold it to be the most striking of any Nation's flag. There are many misguided and anti-freedom people in the US today who claim our flag is a racist or oppressive symbol. Ironically, a majority of those making those accusations, would hardly be as free, if even allowed to avoid the death penalty, under the governments they so ignorantly wish to emulate. 

National Bourbon Day came later. On May 4, 1964 Congress proclaimed bourbon to be a “distinctive product of the United States.” I am not sure when the National holiday came to be, nor how the day came to be celebrated on June 14. Tradition, or legend, holds that May 4 was actually the first time bourbon was distilled, but who would really know? The day likely has more to do with distillery marketing than history, but who could be against such a celebration? There is certainly an argument that could be be made for joining it with Flag Day given its connection to our great Nation.

So fly the flag and enjoy a sip of bourbon today, and be thankful for both.

Fun fact: Viewing the American flag leads to higher brain function.

Cheers!

Thursday, June 13, 2024

The Creation of the Beer Fridge

It begins here.


And finishes in the basement or garage. That's where the majority of its existence will be.

Cheers!

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Sunday Wine, Hors d'Oeuvres, and a Cigar

Aah. . . Sunday afternoon. Even in retirement, Sunday's remain special. Mass in the morning, then a nice breakfast/lunch, followed by reading, and piddling around the house or yard. There was a time when Sunday afternoon also included a visit to one of our favorite local pubs for drinks and light food before dinner. Now it we are more likely to spend the late afternoon on the deck, with of course, drinks and light food, with the added bonus that I can also enjoy a cigar.

This past Sunday afternoon I had an urge for wine instead of beer or bourbon. It just seemed right for the sunny afternoon. I selected a bottle of Rebellion "Commonwealth" red wine. The local wine is from the Rebellion Bourbon Bar in Fredericksburg. Rebellion offers a house stave pick of Maker's Mark bourbon. When they receive the bourbon, they also receive the barrel it was aged in. Rebellion work with a local vintner to produce a red wine aged for 8 months in the barrels.


My wine knowledge is generally limited to liking a wine, or not. I do favor full bodied reds. The bourbon barrel aged wine is semi-dry with sweet dark berry fruit notes. It is low in tannins with no bitterness. I didn't find any distinctive or different notes, outside of a very pleasantly drinking wine.  And, one that happened to pair quite nicely with the La Paline Black Label cigar I chose to enjoy.


The La Palina Black Label is a 6 x 50 Toro. The cigar has not spent much time in my humidor as I just picked it up last week when visiting the cigar lounge. However I was most interested in trying it out, and it just looked like it would pair well. Sometimes you just have to go with your gut.

The cigar uses a Brazilian Bahiano wrapper, which encases a double binder of Dominican and Nicaraguan leaves, as well as filler tobaccos from those two countries as well. The Black Label kicks off black pepper spice, along with hints of cocoa and roasted nuts. As the smoke progressed the cocoa shifted to more of a sweet dark chocolate. The cigar provides a full bodied smoke, although it is not harsh at all and should be approachable by most smokers. I enjoyed a 90 minute smoke with no burn issues.


I had high hopes for the pairing, and I was not disappointed. The two flavor profiles were complimentary, like a classic red wine and chocolate pairing.

Cheers!