It's no secret that I am a Rocky Patel fan, further evidenced but the abundance of Rocky Patel branded accessories on my deck. The ALR 2nd Edition is one at the top of my list. The Bala vitola was a special edition created to fill a limited edition humidor of 100 cigars released by Rocky Patel. I was able to acquire a few of the smokes at a local Rocky Patel event, attended by Rocky and Nish Patel, last winter.
The Bala is a 5 3/4" x (approximately) 58 Perfecto with a soft box-press. The cigar has a mostly closed foot and narrows towards the cap end. As with all the ALR Second Edition smokes, the Bala features a Mexican San Andrés wrapper, a Honduran binder, and filler tobaccos from Honduras and Nicaragua. The cigar is packaged in a shiny embossed gold band. There's also a very large band for marketing covering almost the entire cigar, which was removed prior to any pictures.
The A.L.R. Second Edition kicks off with a pepper kick that mellows with time. Flavorful notes of espresso and cocoa follow, with a touch of sweetness in the finish. The cigar has excellent construction and the burn razor sharp.
With the cigar lit, I cracked open the Pilsner. The Hardywood Pils pours a bright golden yellow with a thick fluffy head. The German-Style Pilsner has a crisp, moderately bitter profile. Grassiness, caramel sweetness, and a hint of pepper all join in for an excellent, classic Pilsner profile.
The cigar and beer pairing was very enjoyable, and I was compelled to open another bottle of the Hardwood brew. I've also made a note to pick up more to have on hand as a refreshing libation this summer.