One of the best pairings while smoking a cigar is a nice bourbon. The flavors compliment each other nicely and are perfect for a nice relaxing nightcap. Pappy Van Winkle is one of the greatest bourbons on the market so I was excited to hear that they teamed up with Drew Estate to produce a couple of lines of cigars. The first one using Kentucky tobaccos that was barn fire cured and fermented in Pappy Van Winkle bourbon barrels in St. James Parish, Louisiana for a very unique flavor. It can be quite bold, so it’s not for everyone. For those of us that prefer and more traditional cigar, enter the Pappy Van Winkle Tradition. The Tradition is a blend that most cigar smokers are used too: no special aging, no unique fermenting, just quality tobacco. Several blends were presented to Julian Van Winkle to pick from that best matches what he was looking for in a cigar and paired well with Pappy Van Winkle bourbons. He chose a blend that Willy Herrera created while touring the Drew Estate factory in Nicaragua before he joined the Drew Estate family.
For a more details, check out the interview Brian Hewitt did with Willy Herrera in the Drew Estate both at the 2017 IPCPR Trade Show in Las Vegas:
Also, check out the video Drew Estate did with Willy discussing the new blend:
Here is a Drew Estate video discussing the differences of the Pappy Van Winkle Tradition vs Barrel Fermented:
Here are the specs:
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro
- Binder: Indonesian
- Filler: Nicaraguan and Dominican
- MSRP: $25.00/$250.00 per box of 10
- Available at Drew Diplomat locations
- Cigar provided by Drew Estate
The Pappy Van Winkle comes in 7 different size with a couple of the sizes having limited availablility:
- Coronita (4 x 46) MSRP $146.00/10ct Box
- Robusto Grande (5.5 x 54) MSRP $216.00/10ct Box
- Toro (6 x 50) MSRP $240.00/10ct Box
- Belicoso Fino (5 x 50) MSRP $250.00/10ct Box
- Churchill (7 x 48) MSRP $236.00 / 10ct Box Exclusively available at Drew Diplomat Spirits Retailers
- Lonsdale (6.5 x 44) (Not for Sale) / Xct Box Exclusively at Drew Diplomat Rewards Events in October, November and December 2017
- Corona (5.5 x 44) MSRP (Not for Sale) / 10ct Box Exclusively available from Jonathan Drew and Julian Van Winkle
The cigar has a beautiful, mocha brown wrapper with a stubby tip. It has a well applied cap with no soft spots throughout the cigar. Drew Estate quality control is known for really good QA so this is no surprise. The cold draw has notes of cedar, rich tobacco and leather.
The cigar has strong caramel flavors with notes of black pepper, vanilla wafer, leather and cedar. The caramel flavors are very bold in the first inch and then die down and meld well with the vanilla wafer, black pepper, leather and cedar. The cedar is somewhat more faint than the other flavors but is present throughout the cigar.
The cigar changes more in the last half as the cigar develops a creaminess with notes of vanilla cream, leather being the dominate notes. The black pepper is still there, especially on the retrohale. The cedar note is softer than in the first half. The pepper ramped up near the end.
Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this cigar when I first got it. Most of these cigars that are cross branded with famous whisky/bourbon houses are totally gimmicks and not very good cigars. This is definitely not one of those. Maybe it was because I wasn’t expecting too much, but this cigar really surprised me with great flavors and smoked very well. It really does remind me of quality bourbon with the vanilla, caramel and woody flavors. The price is a shocker though, so I know it will not be for everyone, but if you want something special to smoke, give these a try. They are not gimmick cigars, but very high quality, tasty cigars. Bravo, Drew Estate. Job well done. Now, I need to find some Pappy Van Winkle to pair this with…..