single malt scotch whisky

Cigar Pairing: Quintero Panetelas

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Autumn weather means one thing – time to bust out a few cigars.  Online cigar boutique Montefortuna Cigars was kind enough to send over a couple of Cubans and asked that I pair each one with a different whiskey.

To kick things off, I decided to reach for Quintero Panetelas, a small but fiesty cigar.  It’s relatively inexpensive and packs quite the flavor.  It’s made with tobacco from the Vuelta Abajo and Semi Vuelta.

After a few initial puffs, I poured a glass of Glenmorangie Signet, and am glad I did.

Annoyingly, the cigar itself had a very tight draw at first, but improved slightly as time passed.  Glenmorangie Signet is a wonderfully balanced.  The whisky’s dark chocolate and sherry profile beautifully complemented the cigar’s bold tobacco and slightly woody taste.  Because of its small size, the stick lasted about a half hour, making it a great choice for a daily smoker.  I typically drink one glass of whisky while smoking a cigar.  However, these two paired so well I poured another glass of whisky to help finish off the cigar.  That’s saying something.

Quintero Panetelas can be purchased at Montefortunacigars.com.

Thanks to Montefortuna Cigars for the cigar.  As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Review: Speyburn 15-Year-Old Single Malt Whisky

My introduction to Speyburn a couple of years ago came in the form of its 10-year-old and NAS expressions.  Their light and approachable character was matched with their very affordable price tag.  Flavor-wise, it’s like a sort of second cousin to Glenmorangie 10yr, without the floral notes.  What’s not to love!

The brand’s core range grew with the recent addition of a 15-year-old single malt.  Priced at $65, Speyburn 15yr is still easy on the wallet.  It matured in a combination of American oak and Spanish oak (read ex-bourbon and ex-sherry) casks.

The nose hints at a creamy whisky, with vanilla, orange peel, and dried fruit.  It reminds me of a custard dessert like a crème caramel.  On the palate, creamy toffee and vanilla kick things off.  Developing soon after are spice notes, dried fruits and semi-sweet chocolate.  Bitter orange appears on the back palate.  The long finish is warm, with hints of creamy vanilla and orange peel.

Compared to its younger 10-year-old sibling, Speyburn 15-year-old manages to bring a slightly darker and elegant quality to the table – the toffee’s a bit darker, more spice, and the addition of dark chocolate.  The dried fruit add even more complexity.

I’m a fan, even with the $30 – $40 markup for an extra five years of maturation.  It is still cheaper than a lot of 15-year-old single malts on the market.  Speyburn is value-driven without sacrificing quality, and that’s something I always appreciate.  Highly recommended! 8.5/10

Speyburn.com

Thanks to Speyburn for the sample.  As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Laphroaig 27-Year-Old Whisky Review

Laphroaig ends the year on a high note with the release of its 27-year-old single malt. This expression is the latest entry in the brand’s Super Premium series, following exquisite 32-year-old and 30-year-old whiskies, released in 2015 and 2016, respectively. For this 2017 release, whiskies matured in refill hogsheads were transferred to first-fill ex-bourbon barrels and refill quarter casks. After more than a quarter century of maturation, Laphroaig 27-year-old is bottled at 83.4 proof, or 41.7 ABV. It would be safe to assume this is cask strength given its random proof.

The whisky carries rich aromas of tropical fruit, leather, peat, citrus, and vanilla. On entry, vanilla cream develops into key lime pie, tobacco leaf, and tropical fruit punch. Hints of earthy peat and smoke begin gently piercing though but don’t overpower the other flavors. Of note is the whisky’s oily mouthfeel, which coats the palate in flavor. Though Laphroaig 27-year-old is a low 83.4 proof, it doesn’t present itself as thin or watered down. The finish is long and slightly warming with a citrus-tinged smoky character.

If you haven’t already guessed, I’m a fan. Laphroaig has another winner on their hands with this release. It is a satisfying, well-matured, and balanced whisky. Laphroaig lovers with deep pockets ($750 a bottle) should seek this out quickly, as it’s a one-time release. Highly recommended! 8.5/10

Laphroaig.com

Thanks to Laphroaig for the sample. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.