Poolside with the La Flor Dominicana Ligero

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What’s the best kind of weather for smoking a cigar? My ideal factors would involve the following: a crisp 45 degrees outside, reclining by a large fire, and winding down with a Weller’s after a sustaining, wintery meal. It’s reaching triple digits on regular basis in the Texas summer, though, so we lived out the next best ideal: in a shaded pool with a glass of rum.

I’d bought four La Flor Dominicana Ligeros for a trip to Houston, where I’d planned to grill out and relax. It is a particular kind of blessing when everyone else shows up with enough cigars for your crew, and then some. So I saved the Ligeros for a good day, like this one. Steven poured out some Ron Zacapa 23 (review to come) into glasses for me, him and our friend TJ. It was the middle of the day and the sun was beating the ever-living hell out of us. We found some refuge under a cabana that overhung the pool and lit up with a regular red Bic (sacrilege, I know).

The power of this cigar, combined with the scorching heat and cold rum, put me in an ideal state of lower consciousness. You feel the hit immediately with a LFD Ligero. The flavor is robust but even. It’s an unassuming, straightforward smoke. Binder and filler leaves are, as you might surmise, Dominican, but the wrapper is an Ecuadorian Sumatra Maduro.

Easy to light, and easy to stay lit – TJ got up to get something from the apartment for about 15 minutes and left his cigar there, smoldering. When he came back he was able to puff it again easily. When you’re at the pool, you need ease of use when smoking – you might be grilling, splashing, or otherwise being a summer degenerate. The LFD Ligero is that perfect kind of smoke. Out of the three of us, there were no lighting or construction issues whatsoever, making it easy to philosophize and screw around in the pool. I recommend the LFD for an outdoors smoke for this reason – its hardiness would do you well on a walk through the woods, at a windy beach, or on a saltlicked boat somewhere.

This LFD experience lasted a good 45 minutes with the robusto size. At a price point of about $7/each, you’d be remiss not to end a summer with a pack of these to enjoy with friends. Find a body of water, get in it, have a cool drink to accompany, and light up. Let us know what you think!

Weekend Pairing: MUWAT Kentucky Fire Cured & Glenlivet 15

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MUWATPAIR

Sometimes, you just have to fight fire with fire.

When I purchased the MUWAT Kentucky Fire Cured (or KFC), my initial thought was to pair it with a Kentucky bourbon to keep with the theme. However, a new option presented itself as soon as I removed the cigar from it’s cellophane and gave it a good sniff. This was going to be fiery. A bourbon would do a good job of tempering the smoke, but this cigar was blended and cured to enhance the smell and taste of woodsmoke. I didn’t want to dull that down, so I figured I would be best served by going with something a little more bright with just a hint of peat. I chose the Glenlivet 15.

I poured the Glenlivet over ice, intending the drink to wane in potency as the cigar picked up. Initial tastes of the Glenlivet are what you’d expect from the brand, caramel, peat and a touch of bright green apple.

The cigar cut and lit with the exceptional ease I’ve come to expect of the Drew Estate brand. Initial notes were as advertised, pure woodsmoke akin to puffing on a campfire. It was intense but pleasurable.

Drinking a sip of the scotch and then allowing the smoke to mingle immediately afterward really sharpened the smokiness whilst simultaneously bringing out some more fruity flavors in the scotch.

In the second third of the KFC the woodsmoke actually died abruptly, making the way for some flavors that I picked up in my review of

Weekend Pairing: Alec Bradley Fine & Rare/Red River Rye

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Fine&Rare

The Alec Bradley Fine & Rare was released late fall of 2012. I knew that I wanted to find one right off the bat, primarily drawn to it because of it’s interesting band and perfect torpedo shape. After a few weeks of searching I finally found one, and it was as impressive in person as it had been in the promotional pictures.

And then I promptly put it into my humidor and forgot about it until this week.

red river rye
Photo credit: Red River Whiskey Facebook Page

I decided to pair the cigar with a bottle of Red River Rye which has recently come into my possession. The Red River Rye is a Texas whiskey that I had not been familiar with before physically receiving the bottle. Nevertheless, I love a good rye and hell, I’m from Texas so I was willing to try this pairing untested.

I went with my preferred method for the whiskey: two fingers with one large ice cube. I gave it a try before lighting the cigar and found it very rich with hearty notes of caramel, cinnamon and woodsmoke. This was not a timid whiskey, but I trusted the Fine & Rare to hold it’s own.

For a second after first light, I was afraid I was wrong. The Fine & Rare came out of the gate with a grassy, hay-like flavor that was dominated by the character of the Red River Rye. However, after that initial taste dissipated it become much more hearty, with a black-pepper and cedar flavor mingled with leather. Taking a puff immediately after a sip of whiskey really brought out the woodsy flavor and subtle sweet notes in the cigar smoke.

The second part of the cigar continued to deepen, and added little touches of dulled cayenne spice while keeping the primary flavors introduced in the first third. the Red River Rye at this point became sort of a flavor highlight, brightening those more potent cigar flavors and enhancing the more subtle notes.

If the second third signified a deepening of flavor, the final third saw it touch bottom. Now the wood had melted into a maple-syrup flavor, and the cayenne had transformed into black pepper. It was rich and delicious, made all the more decadent by the Red River Rye, which was now singing in perfect harmony with the cigar, complementing it perfectly.

This ended up being a delicious pairing the whole way through. The cigar performed almost perfectly (minus one small tear in the wrapper that occurred when I pulled off the band – it was no big deal) and the whiskey was top-notch. Although I think it would be difficult to find a 2012 Alec Bradley Fine & Rare nowadays, I believe you should definitely try out the Red River Rye at your earliest opportunity!