I had enjoyed a delightful summer meal of spiced steamed shrimp and local corn on the cob. A relaxing dessert drink and smoke was the cap on the day. This night's choice was a Rocky Patel A.L.R 2nd Edition, which is a frequent source of enjoyment for me. And with it, Angels Envy Rye, which was anything but "usual." I found this to be a unique and interesting libation.
Angels Envy finds their niche in finishing aged whiskey using interesting barrels previously holding other beverages. Their standard bourbon is finished in Port barrels. The Angels Envy Rye spends 18 months in Caribbean Rum casks and is bottled at 90 proof. Immediately upon nosing the glass I was struck by memories of Colleen baking gingerbread cookies in the kitchen. Aromas of ginger and molasses come first. Notes of caramel and butterscotch are detected as well. The taste follows suit presenting those same flavors. The influence of the rum casks is strong, and I can almost imagine I'm sipping on a sweet, dark rum. So much so that I found the bottle of Myers rum left over from Christmas baking and poured a taste. Yep, there's rum in that rye. A soft molasses sweetness is left to coat the palate in the finish. Despite the high 95% rye mash bill, there is little of the expected rye spiciness. Angel's Envy Rye is a flavorful dessert in a bottle.
The Rocky Patel A.L.R. (Aged, Limited, Rare) 2nd Edition I selected for this pairing was the 6 1/12" x 52 box-pressed Toro vitola. I chose one of the larger sizes I have in this stick mainly for the long smoke time I was looking for. The 120 minute burn time did not disappoint.
A Mexican San Andrés wrapper, a Honduran binder, and filler tobaccos from Honduras and Nicaragua combine to make a very fitting match to the rye. It starts out with a bold pepper kick, which mellows and merges with espresso and cocoa. A touch of sweetness lingers on the tongue in the finish. The whole flavor profile compliments the dark sweetness of the rum influenced rye.
Some pairings work, some pairings excel. This was the latter. Enjoying the approaching dusk, and watching the lightning bugs come out to do their dances added to the experience of a pleasant summer evening.