Monday, December 18, 2023

Wilderness Trail Bourbon, Hamlet Tabaquero, and Caramel Popcorn

A pairing, plus one, of sweet treats kicked off the weekend. Cold, and rain, and chores, not to mention my day job, had conspired the past week to prevent relaxing with a good smoke. Finally, Friday evening combined with warm weather (relatively speaking) offered a break. 

The Wilderness Trail Small Batch Bottled in Bond Bourbon was picked up during our Thanksgiving travels. The wheated bourbon is released in small batches of 18 barrels, this bottle is labeled 18K0722. The whiskey is aged 5-6 years. The aroma has vanilla and caramel aromas with a hint of alcohol. Upon sipping a strong oak presence joins the vanilla and caramel. A hefty dose of cinnamon and pepper spiciness rounds out the finish. I get a little heat for interest as well. I found it to be an especially enjoyable libation. Wilderness Trail products are not common on VA ABC shelves, but I'll keep an eye out for others.

For the smoking pleasure of the evening I grabbed a Hamlet Tabaquero. This stick was from a box I picked up in September 2022. That was right after it was announced that Hamlet Paredes was leaving Rocky Patel, and the Tabaquero line was being discontinued. The 6 x 52 Toro uses a San Andrés wrapper, a Nicaraguan filler, and San Andrés and Brazilian Mata Fina double binders. It has a creamy sweetness, with milk chocolate, cedar, earth, and oak.

The Tabaquero has been a long time favorite of mine. This was the sixth from the box of twenty. Unfortunately, the previous five all had some sort of burn issues that ranged from mild to serious, with the frequent touchups hampering the experience. This one however, was flawless. Exceptionally so. For the entire 90 minute smoke the char line was even and the smoke production plentiful. Even the best cigars often require some touch with the lighter, usually in the last quarter or so. Perhaps the 14 months of humidor time helped to mitigate any issues from unknown storage conditions prior to my receiving the box. Since I'm rationing the remaining cigars, it may be a while before I find out by smoking another.

And the third part of the trio was some caramel popcorn. That decadent treat is from a Christmas food gift sent by a family member. In my defense, there was no "Do Not Open Until Christmas" label on the box.


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