Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Woodinville Bourbon and E.P. Carrillo Encore Pairing

Sometimes I think I am subconsciously led to pair a cigar and a drink based on aesthetics as much as palate. I wonder if that was the case when I gravitated to the E.P. Carrillo Encore to smoke with the selected bourbon for the evening, Woodinville Straight Bourbon. I had actually tasted the bourbon before selecting the cigar, but in retrospect noticed they looked good together too.

The Woodinville was one of bourbons I've had on my "to try" list for quite a while. I've seen many reviews of the craft distillery and their products are generally well liked. Distribution is limited in Virginia but recently the straight bourbon and rye have shown up in some stores.

Woodinville Whiskey takes the term "craft" seriously. Their grains are all locally sourced, then processed and distilled at their distillery, and then trucked to their storage houses in eastern Washington state. The distillery was awarded “Craft Whiskey of the Year” and “Craft Rye Whiskey of the Year” two years in a row by the American Distilling Institute. 

The straight bourbon comes in at an easy 90 proof, with a sweet fruit and brown sugar aroma. The flavor notes are classic and balanced, with hints of fresh fruit, vanilla, brown sugar, and just a kiss of spice. The mouthfeel is almost creamy, with a short, pleasantly "bourbon" aftertaste. It's quite an enjoyable sipper. At a very reasonable $40 price price point, Woodinville is an everyday drink candidate.

I always like the "old school" bottles used by some producers. The shorter, square bottle of Woodinville, and the craft feel of the label looks good on the shelf.

There are some cigar brands that you just know are going to bring a consistent, prime experience to the table. E.P. Carrillo is one such maker. I don't recall ever having a Carrillo cigar that failed to please. This Encore Majestic selection is a box-pressed 5 3/8" x 52 robusto sized stick, that was selected as Cigar Aficionado's 2018 Cigar of the year.  It's a Nicaraguan puro with tobaccos from three growing regions, EstelĂ­, Condega and Jalapa. The medium body smoke produces consistent flavors of caramel, cedar, a slight sweet candy hint, with a touch of black pepper. The burn was even and strong throughout, requiring not a single touch up. Not only was the color palette a match, but the flavors of the bourbon and the cigar paired up wonderfully.

When it was all said and done, I wished the cigar was just a little larger vitola, and the bourbon glass not empty. But then again, that's generally the case.


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