Here's another edition of "Whiskey Wednesday" for my enjoyment, and yours if you'd like. Since we were out of town last week, the mid-week pleasure was skipped. My work day on Wednesday this week was frequented by trips to the humidor and whiskey shelf mulling over what was to provide the evening's entertainment.
I first selected the HVC 10th Anniversary Toro that has had its 4 week rest in the humidor. Now to the bourbon. Eventually I spied the bottle of New Riff Single Barrel Bourbon I picked up in Maryland last fall.
The HVC 10th Anniversary is a 2021 release marking the first 10 years for the company. I've seen many mentions over the years online, but had never tried it until now. The complex blend of this Nicaraguan puro features a Nicaraguan Corojo 99 wrapper, with a Nicaraguan binder. The filler tobaccos are Aganorsa Corojo ’99 and Criollo ’98 tobaccos, with Corojo 2012, which is a Cuban-seed tobacco.
Upon lighting I was immediately struck by the copious smoke production. A peppery spice kicked off the experience. That lessened somewhat but its presence remained throughout the smoke. An earthy, creamy, tobacco flavor along with some cedar added to the mix. After the first inch or so, the smoke production decreased noticeably, and the flavors became muted. For the rest of the smoking time, the cigar required double, and even triple puffs to keep the smoke and flavor production up. Despite the extra effort, I did need to apply to flame the cigar numerous times to keep it going. Sadly the cigar also burned very unevenly so the touching up also included trying to keep the burn balanced. It was always the front of the band side that lagged behind. The main body of the ash held on until knocked off, but it did persistently release small bits of ash that floated to my lap and floor. The ash stack was quite disorderly. Perhaps the cigar needed more to rest in my humidor for more than four weeks. I do have several more so will see how they perform in the future. Other than the burn issues, I enjoyed the cigar.
Although I had poured a small "fresh crack" drink of the New Riff last fall, I really did not remember much about it. This pour gave me a sharp kick in sinuses when I stuck my nose to the glass. It was very sharp and almost unpleasant. Subsequent trials were done with less enthusiasm. Sipping I got a mix of caramel, vanilla, citrus, general spiciness, all backed with a slight alcohol burn. Not an unpleasant pour, but I was expecting a bit more from this one as I have enjoyed New Riff bourbons in the past. The reviews I subsequently saw online were mixed for the Single Barrel, which should be expected I suppose. This particular bottle is Barrel #12099, checking in at 110.3 proof. In retrospect, I should have tried a small bit of water to see if that muted some of the bite. Next time perhaps.
Okay, so this mid-week repast was not the most exemplary, but still provided a welcome period of relaxation. This hobby deals with handmade products of leaves, and hand crafted beverages, from plants as well. Variations are to be expected.
Maybe I'll make #whiskeywednesday a regular thing. At the very least, I don't mind trying, even if the posts are delayed until Thursday.