Monday, March 11, 2024

Knuckle Sandwich Maduro With OGD 114

I've been looking forward to trying this one for a while. Back in December I picked up the Espinosa Knuckle Sandwich Habano and Espinosa Knuckle Sandwich Maduro, both in the Robusto vitola.  The Knuckle Sandwhich line is the result a collaboration between chef Guy Fieri and Erik Espinosa. I'm an admitted fan of the boisterous celebrity chef, and hoped the cigars would be representative his personality. Not just another celebrity putting his brand on a product, Fieri is a longtime cigar enthusiast. 

For this outing I selected the Knuckle Sandwich Maduro version. The chocolate hued Ecuadorian Sumatra Maduro wrapper holds Nicaraguan binder and filler. The 5 x 52 cigar is box-pressed.

The cigar blasts out of the gate with a flavorful blend of dark coffee, cocoa, and a bit of white pepper. A dark fruit aspect comes in the finish. The draw was on the looser side, with lots of smoke production. The first third of the cigar seemed to burn really fast. I was seriously enjoying the flavors, and started lamenting the predicted short smoking time. To my delight the burn seemed to slow, especially past the midpoint, and I ended up enjoying a surprising 90 minute smoke from the small cigar.

The ash on the cigar did seem to drop easily in short blocks. On several occasions I ended up with the ash section in my lab. There was also as fair amount of loose ash flakes dropping on a consistent basis. As I became aware of the mess I was much more attentive to keeping the stick over the ashtray on the side table. Other than than, I had no burn issues. Even down to the tiny nub, the smoke remained cool, even when I could no longer hold the cigar between my fingers.

I paired the Knuckle Sandwich with Old Grand-Dad 114. This bourbon seemed to be hard to find in Virginia for a while. When we visited Florida last fall I picked up a bottle. Of course, soon after that I started seeing it again on shelves locally.

Upon pouring, the 114 proof point, along with the high rye mash bill, is immediately evident in the aroma wafting from the glass. The spicy heat is apparent, in the nose, backed by a brown sugar sweetness. The flavor profile follows the pattern with brown sugar and caramel sweetness. A rye and cinnamon spice coats the palate, as well as the warming proof. The finish is long, with the flavorful heat lingering.

Despite the many mentions of spice and heat in the paragraph above, Old Grand-Dad 114 is extremely drinkable. There's no harshness, just a full palate sensation. At an approximately $30 price point, it's a value that should not be passed by,

The Knuckle Sandwich Maduro and Old Grand-Dad pairing made for a delightful combination. Two full bodied flavor sensations together were even better than the parts. Both the bourbon and the cigars are ones I'd gladly keep on hand. I am looking forward to trying out the Knuckle Sandwich Habano counterpart very soon.


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