Monday, November 13, 2023

New Riff Single Barrel (Again) and Viva La Vida Cigars

I've been looking forward to smoking the Artesano del Tobacco Viva La Vida cigar since it arrived in the October Luxury Cigar Club monthly shipment. I've smoked this cigar line produced at the AJ Fernando factory in the past. Both the lancero and toro vitolas have made appearances in these Musings. This time it was the 5 x 54 robusto that I was enjoying. The attractive maduro Nicaraguan Habano Oscuro 2000 wrapper, Nicaraguan Corojo 99 binder, and the Nicaraguan Criollo 98 filler combine to make a flavorful smoke. This is full-bodied smoke with notes of leather, black coffee, pepper and a moderate cinnamon spice. The robusto was no less delectable than the others I've tried.

As the accompaniment for the evening, I poured some New Riff Single Barrel. The New Riff is a high rye bourbon with the expected rye-influenced kick. This particular batch is bottled at a robust 110.3 proof. The spice of the rye is prominent in the nose, along with cinnamon, brown sugar and sweet fruit notes. The proof is noticeable in the mouth giving a nice heat, one that stands up well to the full bodied cigar. The rye spiciness makes itself known more as the liquid rests on the tongue. The spiciness is balanced by some vanilla and cream sweetness. I was very pleasantly surprised by enjoyment of the pairing. This despite a memory of this one being a little more harsh previously. That harsher profile remembered was the reason I chose it for the pairing.

I went back and looked my previous remarks on the New Riff, which pretty well confirmed my memory. Then I noted that the previous tasting had been accompanied by a less than stellar cigar. It so happens that the same cigar has since disappointed on multiple occasions. Maybe that had some effect on my perceptions. This outing, I found the bourbon to be a most agreeable drink.

It's often said that the enjoyment of a particular bourbon, or a cigar, is influenced in no small part by one's mood or the accompanying food or cigar or drink, as the case may be. The more I explore bourbon and cigar pairings, and revisit some of the individual players, the more I experience that. I certainly found this to be true with the New Riff Single Barrel. I look forward to enjoying it again, with yet another cigar.


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