A Mid-Summer Night’s Smoke

IMG_2602.JPGIt has been an insanely hot summer so far and as I settle down to write this blog I’m not sure what I plan on rambling about! Perhaps the heat has finally fried my mind and created just a jumble of thoughts. Lots of thoughts going on right now with the FDA´s new cigar regulations and what it may do to the industry and all those who are in the business. But I don’t want to get political here since that could run on for many pages.

We also have the IPCPR trade show to talk about but that again is a topic for another day. I could talk about the many truly outstanding cigars I have smoked over the past few weeks that our stores don’t carry due to space limitations and availability. Or I could just talk about what I am smoking and drinking right now.

So with the heat index still hovering around 90 right now at 1am I’ll touch on my current enjoyment. My last blog also brought up the heat factor concerning what to smoke and drink when one feels like they are visiting the ninth circle of Dante’s Inferno! A double imperial stout with a full-bodied cigar is a bit overwhelming so I decided to venture into uncharted waters by smoking a lighter cigar with a hard cider and was pleasantly surprised on how enjoyable it was!

Since that evening I have tried various mild cigars with a variety of ciders and if you have not had the experience you are missing out on a very refreshing and tasty pleasure.

Tonight I delve into this brave new world even deeper and explore the world of mead and cigars. Mead is one of those products that is rapidly gaining favor in the craft brew
category although it is a bit of a hybrid between craft brew and wine. It is a honey-based wine, typically low in alcohol, these days also having a bit of carbonation, and infused with fruits and spices and hops. Very light and very refreshing.

IMG_2601Tonight I am trying one from Crafted Artisan Meadery called Pollen-Nation which is a hopped blackberry infused honey wine. I stepped up my game this evening and brought out a Davidoff Winston Churchill. While this cigar is not available in our stores I felt it was more than worthy of talking about. This is a pricey cigar coming in around the $17 mark but is just outstanding and matched very well with the sweetness of the mead. The cigar has a very complex selection of filler leaves which leads to a complex yet balanced flavor profile. Notes of almonds and roasted nuts are prevalent along with just a hint of peppery spices. It has a mild to just barely bordering on medium strength and body which held it’s own against the sweetness of the mead without overpowering it. The complexity of the smoke with layers of nuts, spice, some citrus and vanilla, and faint flavors of fresh hay was just amazing and perfect with the mead. While this cigar had an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, I would also suggest pairing this mead with a Connecticut wrapper smoke such as a Rocky Patel 1999 Connecticut or an Ashton Classic which I plan on doing tomorrow!

So when the heat begins to make you crazy, chill a quality bottle of Crafted Artisan Mead and grab a mild Connecticut wrapper smoke out of your humidor and settle in for a tasty and relaxing experience.

You will not be disappointed!

Stay smokey!

Steve Mungeer, Certified Retail Tobacconist and Category Manager: Premium Cigars & Craft Beer

Follow me on Twitter @abccigarmungo

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