Pappy Van Winkle Tradition Cigar Review

Drew Estate has once again teamed with the Van Winkles for a new cigar blend – Pappy Van Winkle Tradition.  The cigar features an Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro wrapper, Indonesian Binder and aged fillers from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.  As its name implies, the cigar is traditionally made, especially when compared to the previously released Pappy Van Winkle Barrel Fermented cigar.  Where that cigar is available only through Pappy & Company, the new Tradition has a limited availability at Drew Diplomat retailers.  

Tradition wasn’t initially blended for this collaboration.  Years ago when blender Willy Herrera was in talks to join the Drew Estate Family, he put together three cigar blends.  One of those blends was especially loved by everyone within the company who smoked it.  In 2016, when Jonathan Drew handed Julian Van Winkle a box of cigars featuring this blend, Van Winkle was mesmerized with the blend. With that, Pappy Van Winkle Tradition was born.

The Pappy Van Winkle “Tradition” comes in the following sizes:

  • 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 $236.00/10ct Box
  • Belicoso Fino (5 x 50) MSRP $246.00/10ct 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) / 10ct 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

As I took the Belicoso Fino from its wrapper, aromas of aged tobacco, vanilla and molasses hit me.  It has a great draw and features hints of cedar, molasses, raisin and vanilla, as well as a bit of spice and slight earthiness.  There wasn’t a great deal of further development the more I smoked, which was okay by me.  The flavors presented were delightful.  I generally lean towards medium-bodied cigars, and Pappy Van Winkle Tradition hit my sweet spot.  The well-constructed cigar lasted about 45 minutes or so.  The cigar is a little bit on the pricey side, but offers a superb smoke.  I highly doubt you’ll be disappointed with your purchase.

Once I had a good idea of how Tradition smoked, I was off to find a great whiskey pairing.  I first reached for a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve 20-year-old bourbon.  The dark, rich, and refined character that defines the famous whiskey played nice with the medium flavored cigar.  The stick’s spicy quality elevated the pairing’s overall experience while not feeling overpowering.  I especially liked that the dried fruit notes of the bourbon were enhanced as well.  Again, a beautiful pairing.

Since PVW 20-year is impossible to find, I also paired the cigar with the slightly easier to obtain Michter’s 10-year-old bourbon.  Michter’s sweet cinnamon notes complemented the cigar’s sweeter molasses and vanilla notes.  Overall, it was a nice pairing as well.
Thanks to Drew Estate for the cigar samples.  As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.


Whiskey & Cigar Pairings

A while back Anthony at reached out to gauge my interest in writing a whiskey and cigar pairing article.  I’m not really a cigar smoker, as I’ve only had a handful of them over the years.  Cigars and whiskey pair together really well, as they share a lot of similar tasting notes.  They seem to have been made for each other.  Anthony offered to send over a few cigars.  In the spirit of research, I thought, “Why not?  Let’s do it.”

From the start, I decided to stick to American whiskies for these pairings.  I either picked a whiskey that shared one or more of the tasting notes with the cigar, or a whiskey that would compliment the cigar.

Rocky Patel Fusion

This medium-full bodied cigar had cocoa, pepper and earthy notes, and uses an Ecuadorian Sun Grown wrapper.  I tend to get a cocoa note from some older whiskies.  Here, I paired this cigar with Elijah Craig 18-year.  It’s sweet woodiness and long finish fit nicely with the slightly spicy Rocky Patel Fusion.

My Father Connecticut

A milder stick that uses Connecticut Shade as its wrapper, My Father Connecticut was described to me as earthy and nutty, with a white pepper note.  With that description I went straight for Basil Hayden.   The bourbon, produced by Jim Beam, has a high percentage of rye in it’s mashbill.  It’s also bottled at a low 80 proof.  It paired with My Father Connecticut beautifully.  Neither overpowered the other.

Camacho Ditka Signature

Anthony threw this cigar in the mix because Mike Ditka once coached the New Orleans Saints.  God, I still can’t erase that image of Ditka and Ricky Williams in a wedding dress.  Anyway, this stick features Honduran Criollo as a wrapper and is medium to full bodied.  Tasting notes here are black pepper, cream and fruit sweetness.  I had to find something that can stand up to those big flavors, and went with Pikesville Rye.  This 110 proof offering from Heaven Hill has a beautiful sweet and spicy combination of flavors, and is strong enough to handle the Ditka Signature.

Crowned Heads Jericho Hill

In terms of strength, Crowned Heads Jericho Hill sits right in the middle of the pack as a medium-bodied cigar.  It uses Mexican San Andres as its wrapper, and carries cocoa, buttery notes with earth and honey.  I paired this stick with Blanton’s.  The whisky is nicely rounded – not too sweet, spicy or woody.  Again, attributes that didn’t compete with the cigar, but rather complimented them.

Montecristo Platinum

Full-bodied, Montecristo Platinum features strong wood notes and some sweetness.  A cigar with a personality this big deserves a giant bourbon, and there’s no stronger bourbon readily available than Booker’s.  It’s vanilla and barrel char notes compliment the cigar’s flavors without overpowering.  My favorite pairing of the bunch.

Thanks to Anthony at for the cigars!