Monday, December 11, 2023

Chilly Night Sip and Smoke

It always takes me a while to adjust to winter, especially when I'm hoping to enjoy a cigar. In the early weeks of the cold season, more often than not I'll simply forgo that after-dinner pleasure. Hence, the reduced posting this time of year. The thing is, once I do venture out, it's generally not as unpleasant as I feared. Such was the case on a recent evening. 

I turned on both the portable propane heater and the infrared table lamp heater, grabbed a thick leather jacket, and headed out. I selected a smaller, more budget cigar in the Crowned Heads Juárez, just in case I decided to quit early. I went more robust with Maker's Mark 46 Cask Strength. I needed the "warmth."

Crowned Heads Juárez OBS is a 4 3/4 x 52 Robusto with a chocolate Mexican San Andrés wrapper, Ecuadorian Sumatra binder, and filler from Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. The stick has an MSRP of around $6.00. It's a mild to medium profiled smoke with notes of chocolate and leather. There's a hint of raison that comes in the finish. As I began the smoke, I thought to myself that I may have "overstepped" with the bourbon selection. The burn remained even though at times I had to double puff to keep the smoke production up. 

Maker's Mark 46 Cask Strength is one of my favorite members of the "regular" Maker's Mark lineup, though it is at times hard to find. The ramped up version of the standard 46 "French Oak" expression is bottled at 110.1 proof, at least in this bottle. I've seen various proofs, all around the 110 mark. Aromas of caramel and wood char predominate. The flavor notes feature caramel, brown sugar, and sweet bread. Cinnamon and a light alcohol warmth round out the sip. The finish is clean and relatively short.

Although the cigar was on the milder side of medium, I was still able to enjoy the flavor, without it being overwhelmed by the bourbon. As I slowly sipped my drink and enjoyed the cigar, I became mostly unaware of the cool night air. However, near the end, the fluttering flame on the heater reminded me that a run for more propane is on the agenda.


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