Friday, September 22, 2023

A Sweet Pairing - Carrillo Pledge and Barrell Batch #33

For this pairing I pulled down a half empty bottle that's been untouched of late. It's been idle, somewhat because it's not readily available in Virginia, but mostly because I buy more bourbon than I drink. It's actually quite rare to finish off a bottle unless it's a regular mixer. Given the ever shrinking shelf space, I may have to make a concerted effort to reverse that trend.

Barrel Craft Spirits sources whiskeys from around the world, and expertly crafts new blends that are released as new batches, on a regular basis. Batch #33 was released in mid-2022. The bourbon was well-received by bourbon fans almost immediately. The 116.6 proof bourbon is a blend of  5, 6, 7, and 9 year old barrels from Tennessee, Kentucky, and Indiana. It carries a 5 year age statement based on the age of the youngest component.

The aroma warms the nose with notes of cinnamon and fruit pie. Sipping brings enhanced baking spices and fruit sweetness into the mix. There's a moderate warmth to the profile but it's balanced by a pleasing sweetness. The flavorful finish is long, coating the tongue with persistent sweet fruit and caramel notes.

I've been enjoying a few different cigars from E.P. Carrillo of late. This time I grabbed a E. P. Carrillo Pledge Prequel. This is a 5 x 50 Robusto wrapped in a US grown Cuban-seed tobacco called Connecticut Habano. The binder hails from Ecuador and the filler tobaccos are Nicaraguan. The soft box pressed stick is adorned with distinctive blue and gold labels. The wrapper leaf is dark chocolate in color and lightly mottled.

The flavor profile runs in the medium to full bodied range. There is some intitial spice and pepper. The main flavors are black coffee, oak and a sweet tobacco flavor. The burn throughout was even giving plenty of flavorful smoke. If we can put any stock in cigar of the year rankings, it should be noted that Cigar Aficionado ranked the Pledge Prequel the #1 cigar of 2020. Thanks to that, this one was very hard to find for a while, but seems to be widely available once again. Despite the popularity, it remains a reasonably priced cigar, with the consistent high quality one expects from E. P. Carrillo.

I enjoyed this pairing. The sweetness left on the palate from the bourbon and the sweet coffee flavors of the cigar were very complimentary. Either one is a delicious treat by itself, and together they are even more delightful.


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