Published on October 16th, 2013 | by Siz2
Glenlivet 12 and La Gloria Cubana Esteli R
For this cigar pairing I took what I like to call the “random” approach. I simply walked into my room, opened the humidor and picked out something on top. It had been a long weekend working on my car and I needed a larger stick to help me relax. So I reached for one of these La Gloria Cubana Esteli R releases. It looked like it was a good choice and would get the job done. I remember not being blown away by it the first time that I had smoked it, so I was ready to give it another try. Next, I walked over to my liquor cabinet. Opened it up and reached for the Glenlivet 12. I wasn’t feeling like bourbon tonight, I wanted something with a little less punch to it and the Glenlivet was right up my alley. So yeah that’s all there is to it with the “random” approach, it’s essentially a grab bag. Just reach in and pull something out. Doesn’t get much easier than that.
After nearly polishing off this bottle of Glenlivet 12 I decided I didn’t really need to cut it or chill it with ice to make it more approachable with the La Gloria Cubana Esteli R. I think it will hold up well against the cigar. Neither seemed to really overpower my palate when I experienced them both individually. So this pairing should be fairly exciting. I think we have a good balanced match going into it. We’ll see on the other side if I’m right.
Honestly, I forgot how large this cigar was. When I brought it outside to cut it I realized that it was indeed 6×54. Just a monster of a cigar to me. Oh well, that just means I had to pour more whisky into my snifter right? Right out of the gate this La Gloria Cubana Esteli R was just smoking incredibly well. The draw was perfect and the smoke was just bellowing all around me. I took a sip of the Glenlivet 12 and it hit my palate pleasantly. Nothing real combative it was enjoyable and exciting. There was a nice coating of the mouth with this pairing. It’s actually kind of funny that in the review of this whisky I said that it would go really well with a Nicaraguan cigar because of the flavors it gives off. I guess I’m some sort of fortune teller, because I was right! I’m really enjoying this pairing through the 1st third.
I’m really picking up on the vanilla and nuttiness of the whisky it’s not dominating, but it’s standing out for sure. The cigar is bringing it’s spice and sweetness to the table and it’s creating some interesting flavors combinations. I’m picking up on this velvety chocolate flavor that just seems to be coating my mouth. It’s an exciting combination that happens when I take a sip and roll the whiskey off my tongue. Then I take a long pull off the cigar and let the smoke cling to the layer of whisky inside. It’s downright delightful. That all happens on the front end of the pairing. What’s interesting is the backend of the flavors that develop. This very noticeable spice begins to build that then fades into a mellow citrusy flavor. I think that’s the whisky coating on the palate that gives off that citrus flavor. It adds a refreshing note on it’s way out.
During the second third the cigar continued to burn like a champ. I’m smoking it faster than usual for some reason, even the wife commented that I was smoking fast. I guess I was really jones-ing for a cigar tonight. Luckily because it was a larger ring gauge it didn’t get that hot and the burn was still fantastic. The whisky is about half way gone at this point. I’m not really feeling too much of a buzz right now which is good. Sometimes at this point you can begin to feel the effects of the pairing. Luckily, this combination isn’t an overload on the senses which I’m happy about. The pairing is still enjoyable and continuing to evolve. The flavors are working well together forming some interesting experiences.
As the flavors build the Glenlivet 12 begins to steal the show. There is a nice rich smokey flavor that has built up. The vanilla spice from the whisky is prevalent and beginning to dominate the palate. I can also taste the peat/smokey building up from the whisky which wasn’t as noticeable on it’s own. That peatyness is combining with the nutty flavors from the cigar and forming a very interesting flavor. It’s created some form of minty flavor, the best thing I can compare it to is the flavor of anise. I was really surprised when it built into this I definitely didn’t expect that flavor to come out that’s for sure.
The final third of this pairing was just as good as the first two. The cigar was still burning like a champ and I nearly nubbed that thing. It only took me an hour and a half which for me is record time on a cigar that large. I had to go for a refill of the whisky about half way through the 2nd third as well. I wasn’t drinking fast, just trying to make sure to get decent samplings of flavor for every puff. You know, for like research purposes…
I was a little disappointed I didn’t notice any flavor differences in the final third. It was all the same flavors that I had picked up in the 2nd third. Nothing really developed any further or drastically changed. I could have possibly burned out my palate at that point, but it was still very enjoyable. That anise flavor hung on until the very end. I was actually quite intrigued by that. I’m still perplexed at what would have caused that flavor combination. Maybe nothing did and it was just my mind picking that flavor out. Either way a very solid pairing!
Well, as I just said, this was a very solid cigar pairing! The Glenlivet 12 is a great pairing spirit, it’s not overpowering like most bourbons, but it can still stand in an give some excellent flavor. The La Gloria Cubana Esteli R is an interesting piece in the pairing. The sweet and spicy nature of the cigar really opens it up for a lot of pairing combinations. Also, the depth of flavor it had can allow it to pair well with just about anything I have a feeling. I’m going to experiment some more because I have a few more of these cigars I would love to see how it does with some rum or maybe some American Whiskey! Either way, I was more than happy with this pairing. I think most people would thoroughly enjoy these two products together.
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