Published on January 3rd, 2014 | by Siz3
Headley Grange Drumstick & Elijah Craig 12 year Bourbon
Well this is the first pairing of 2014! Pretty excited to kick this year off! So I figured I’d start with a cigar that got a 10/10 in 2013. See if we can roll that into 2014 and see what sort of excitement we can come across with this pairing. The pairing method that I’m really fond of lately is the hybrid method. Again, I knew what cigar I wanted to smoke and then I randomly chose a bourbon. I had just reviewed this Elijah Craig 12 Year bourbon so I figured what better choice than to pair the last bourbon that I’ve had. Sounded like flawless logic to me. So that’s how we arrived at this pairing. Personally I’m a big fan of this Headley Grange Drumstick it doesn’t have the same intensity of spice as it’s predecessor, but it still has a ton of great flavor. I’m anxious to get into this pairing. So I think it’s time to pour a glass and toast the foot!
I’ve been saying this for the last couple of years, but I think Crowned Heads make some of the most consistently great cigars on the market. They are right up with Oliva in regards to their consistency. I know when I smoke a CH the burn is going to be perfect, draw will be exceptional and the overall experience will be perfect. So needless to say this Headley Grange Drumstick better not disappoint… And of course it didn’t. The first third lit up perfectly and just began puffing and drawing smoke exactly how a cigar should. I was able to hold the smoke in my mouth and it had a nice delicious creamy texture to it. Can’t ask for much more than that. Being a lancero I didn’t figure the ash would last very long on this stick, and it didn’t. Maybe an inch then it fell off but it didn’t matter. The smoke was fantastic.
For the Elijah Craig 12 Year bourbon I decided to put a big square ice cube in it to take down some of the heat. I experienced quite a bit of heat when I initially reviewed it. I didn’t want to have that combined with the spice that I typically get from the Headley Grange blend. Even though this cigar is a bit lighter on spice, it’s still there and I’m not looking for any trouble! So an ice cube should settle down this bourbon enough where I can enjoy it.
The first thing that I’m picking up on is a note that’s not very enjoyable to say the least. In fact, it’s down right bitter. The first big sip and puff has a strong bitter note that comes out. Not my ideal flavor combination. It’s followed with some spice that saves the it, slightly. I’m not exactly sure what is causing that bitter combination, but it’s not off to a great start. Sometimes that happens though. All the time I combine two products that I both love individually, but they just don’t work well together. I’m hoping this shapes up better than it started or else it’s going to be a long pairing.
One thing that makes it easier to overcoming a bitter pairing is when the cigar smokes perfectly. Could you imagine having to smoke a bitter pairing alongside a cigar that was plugged or was falling apart on you? Yeah that would probably be one of the worst things that could happen. Fortunately, this Headley Grange Drumstick continues to smoke perfectly during the 2nd third which makes it very enjoyable and easy to fight through the initial bitterness. It’s hard to think negative thoughts when you’re having a great stick and a great bourbon side by side.
The Elijah Craig 12 Year bourbon really began to open up more during the 2nd third which was nice. I threw the ice cube out a while ago, now it has a nice a chill to it. The nose on the bourbon has become a little more complex, and showing it’s depth. Opening it up allows more flavors to escape and change the landscape of the entire pairing.
As I said, the bourbon is beginning to open up which is expanding the overall flavors that I’m picking up on thus far. The bourbon is letting off a nice sweetness to it. When combined with the cigar it’s creating this molasses flavor with a nice spicy finish. The scent of chocolate is also coming off the bourbon which is something that I noticed in my initial review and I’m picking up again here. This time when it combines with the cigar it’s creating a slight coffee note which is actually quite enjoyable. Almost like a mocha latte. So the flavor combinations have definitely improved from the initial third.
Well the Headley Grange Drumstick stayed smooth and consistent to the end. The bourbon finally opened up and really changed up this pairing’s flavor profile. I’m happy with the way both of these products performed all the way through to the final end. I ended up smoking at least 98% of this cigar. It got down to the end where I could barely hold it and I was still trying to get every millimeter of tobacco out of it. So yeah, needless to say I enjoyed it.
I’m glad the Elijah Craig 12 Year bourbon came around and opened up. I really enjoyed this on its own and I wanted it to do well in a pairing. It had a shaky start, but rebounded quite well.
During this final third the flavors stayed very consistent to what I experienced in the second third. I wasn’t too surprised that they didn’t change. The cigar didn’t change up flavor too much from front-to-back there were hints of spice every now and again, but overall very pleased with this pairing, at least the last two-thirds. I have to say that the mocha latte flavor is one of my favorites from this pairing. That’s what I always get at the coffee shop and to experience that in a cigar pairing makes it all worth it.
Although this pairing started off a little rough it finally found it’s groove. I’m glad it did because man, that would have been tough to take all the way down if it was bitter that entire way. In fact, I wasn’t going to continue smoking if the 2nd third was still bitter. I’m all for taking one for the team in the name of science, but dang that would have been rough. So I’m glad it lined itself out and began performing like I had hoped it would. All in all it was a decent pairing. It didn’t blow my socks off, but it was enjoyable. I’ll give it an 8/10 just because I like to rank things. Each product on its own is great, but you should elsewhere if you’re wanting a home-run pairing.