As Winter finally sets in, here in Ohio, after one of the warmest Decembers on record. Unfortunately, our ability to have that outdoor evening cigar and whiskey pairing become very limited. So we’re forced to find comfortable venues for our pairing of sins. However, even though last night my pairing process was a little disrupted, I was quite pleased with the result.
I started the evening with a visit to a local tobacconists, Stogies of Powell, (more about them on a later post) where I picked up one of my “go-to” cigars. The Nat Sherman Timeless 652T.
This cigar is touted as Medium-Bodied and Medium Strength, which to me equates to an easy smoke, rich in flavor and a moderate to light amount of nicotine (buzz). This Nicaraguan Puro (Wrapper, Binder, and Fillers are from Nicaraguan seed) is a great cigar for any occasion where you want a satisfying but not overpowering smoke.
So here’s how it smoked for me:
The box cut was very comfortable in the hand, and the torpedo head gave me plenty of space to make a cut for the most pleasurable draw. The construction was flawless allowing for a nice even burn with no re-lights or trimming required.
Initial Nose: Smooth and moderately rich
Upon Lighting: Pepper and light spice for the first few puffs
1st 3rd: Smooths right out with almost a creamy smoothness.
2nd 3rd: Slight earthiness lends to a very satisfying experience
Final 3rd: Took it down to the nub. Remained as smooth as the it was from the start even though I was burning my fingers.
Who should smoke this: The avid cigar smoker typically respects this cigar, yet it’s mild enough that even a novice would enjoy it.
Tonights Pairing: As earlier stated, tonight’s pairing process was a little disrupted, and since I was soon to meet my wife at a nearby pub for dinner and drinks, I decided to respect my sobriety and pair the cigar with a black coffee, To some this pairing might sound a bit strange. If so, I highly recommend you try it. If not, you understand that a cigar paired with black coffee is quite complementary. But with fingers scorched from attempting to suck every last bit if goodness out the cigar, it was time to move to the next venue, Prohibition Gastro Lounge where I discovered the 2015 Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Straight Rye Whiskey.
As I often do with bartenders that I trust, I said to Hans (my main man at Prohibition), “give me a whiskey that you think is one of the best.” Without hesitation, he grabbed a bottle of Thomas H. Handy from the top shelf. After a lengthy sniff, swirl, and a first sip, all I could say was “WOW – where have you been all my life”? This limited edition whiskey honors Thomas H. Handy, the proprietor of the Sazarac House in New Orleans, who in the late 1800’s modified the traditional Sazerac cocktail by replacing the cognac with rye whiskey thus creating the first world famous rye cocktail (see recipe below).
This 126.9 proof gem is surprisingly light on the nose, offering slightly sweet yet spicy taste. At this proof, it, of course, has warmth, however, the warmth just lingered at the back of my throat and never progressed from there. Then after about 15 minutes of sipping, the glass was illuminated by the bar lights exposing Legs That Go On Forever. Something more significant in the world of cognac or wines, these legs don’t effect the drinkability of the whiskey, but boy they looked sexy!
My Take: The award winning 2015 Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Straight Rye Whiskey is a must try for those who really appreciate a great rye whiskey. Novice whiskey drinkers should probably steer clear and save your money until your tastes adjust to the nature of high-proof whiskey, rye’s in particular. College students, I know you like to feel “grown-up” but stick to Natty Light. This is not a shooter and deserves the care and patience in drinking that Buffalo Trace put into its distillation. I’ll, without a doubt, visit this wonderful whiskey again.
Until next time, Pair Sinfully!
The Sazerac Cocktail
2 Old Fashioned glasses
Ice cubes & cold water
2 oz. Rye whiskey
3 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
1 sugar cube or 1 tsp superfine sugar
Splash of absinthe or Herbsaint