Ok, when I hear the word KFC, my first thoughts are of who is the latest Colonel Sanders. We are currently on our third one and I must admit that Jim Gaffigan is the best so far. How can the “hot pocket” guy whose standup comedy routine centers mainly on fast food not get a shot at the gig? I know what you are thinking, what does all of this have to do with cigars? Well, my friends, in my world KFC stands for Kentucky Fire Cured and it is for smoking and not eating.
A few years back Drew Estate released their Kentucky Fire Cured line of cigars. The cigars get their name not only from the origins of the tobacco but the curing method. Most cigar tobacco leaves are air cured in a tobacco barn with nothing more that propane fueled, odorless heaters. In the KFC method, the leaves are treated like a whole hog or beef brisket as it is fired with woods such as maple and oak which create a smoke more closely related with southern BBQ than tobacco. This method certainly imparts a unique and strong flavor to the leaf, though the smell is usually stronger than the taste.
I asked Drew Estate co-founder Jonathan Drew about his idea behind this cigar. To summarize his response he wanted to create a new segment just as he did with Acid and Tabak, this time with a product that had the same bold and smoky flavors as a peaty scotch. I didn’t quote him here because his excitement over this new cigar produced several passionate expletives that I probably wouldn’t be able to get past our blog editors.
I have enjoyed this cigar on many occasions and I believe I have even blogged about it in the past. It is a unique cigar but like a big red wine calls for a juicy steak, this cigar begs for a whiskey companion. Bourbon is great but single malt scotch is even better. Though it is not an Islay Scotch (peat monster) I recently enjoyed a KFC with a snifter or two of Glenfiddich 21 year. I couldn’t figure out if the whiskey made the cigar better or vice versa. There was a definite symmetry there and I encourage all cigar smokers to give it a try. Even if you have smoked a KFC before and didn’t like it, give it a revisit with a glass of whiskey. I’m certain the Colonel would approve.
Chris Gwaltney, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits Category Manager: Craft Beer and Premium Cigars
Follow me on Twitter @abccigarChris