Friday, September 1, 2023

Foundation Olmec Maduro With Maker's Mark 46 Cask Strength

This turned out to be an exceptional pairing. Foundation Cigars Olmec is a newer release from the company. I've had some resting in the humidor for about three weeks and finally could not resist them any longer. The 5 x 50 Robusto has a very dark chocolate San Andrés maduro wrapper. It's nearly black in appearance. The binder and fillers are Nicaraguan. The filler tobaccos are said to be baled and aged for three years after fermentation. The wrapper leaves undergo a low temperature slow fermentation process preserve the oil content and enhance their flavor. It's a very attractive cigar. The gold outlined lettering over black on the band made getting a good photograph difficult. Even just looking at it my eyes couldn't quite get it in focus.

I punched the cap with my new PerfecPunch and Stand™ from PerfecCigar Solutions. This thing makes a nice cut -- I'll have more in a future review. The draw on the cigar was free flowing and produced copious amounts of smoke for the entire duration. I initially felt the cigar might be slightly under packed, but I got an even slow burn and an hour plus smoke from the small cigar. The flavor hit with an initial pepper blast, though it was not overwhelming or unpleasant. Other flavor notes quickly rolled in. Rich espresso and charred meat were the main impressions. Some sweet molasses and dark chocolate made appearances as well. The cigar remained full bodied throughout and never developed any bitterness even smoked down to a hot nub.

Maker's Mark 46 Cask Strength is one that I hadn't been able to find in Virginia for some time. The stores got inventory last May and I had rushed out to grab a bottle. That bottle soon got hidden on the shelf until recently I spied the unbroken wax on top peaking out. Upon remembering that bottle, I knew it had to be enjoyed with the Olmec.

The label is marked Batch 23-02 and 110.1 proof. The liquid inside pours a bright copper orange and immediately releases scents of caramel, cinnamon, and raisons. I think the higher proof contributes to the aromatics being wafted about. The alcohol can be detected on the nose, but it does not burn. 

The flavor of the cask strength bourbon hits the palate full on. It's a sweet mix of brown sugar, caramel, cinnamon, and sweet fruit. There's a "Kentucky hug" going down, but it warms, not burns. I'm struck by the richness of the bourbon. It's powerful though quite palatable. I grabbed a bottle of the standard Maker's 46 to compare. This is the bourbon most often used for cooking and baking in our home. I found it interesting that the flavor lines were comparable, but now all ramped up to a fuller level. Not simply stronger, but richer and brighter. 

Maker's Mark created some confusion when they redid the labels on their products. The No. 46 has always been "finished with ten French oak staves." However, the distiller now prominently displays "French Oak" in gold on the front of the label. I've seen some enthusiasts mistaking it for a new bourbon. It's still the same delicious whiskey it's always been.

The Foundation Olmec and Maker's Mark 46 Cask Strength combination was extremely enjoyable. The two full flavor profiles each manage to stand up to the other. Combining either the bourbon or the cigar with a milder partner would be a disservice and a waste of the milder partner. The Cask Strength 46 is already a regular (when I can find it) on my shelves. I suspect the Olmec will be a humidor regular.


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