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Pre-va La Revolution

It’s pairing time once again, this time with a theme, the idea for this pairing came to me in a sudden flash of inspiration en route to the bar one particularly sunny day, “what if I wrote a blog paying tribute to pre-revolution Cuba?”

After all, Cuba is a nation with a rich and vibrant history and as a cigar lover, we have that history to thank for the development of the cigar industry as we know it today.

The Cigar:

Last year saw the inclusion of the Linea 1935 range into the already robust Montecristo portfolio, adding two brand new vitolas (Dumas and Maltes) and a replacement for the much vaunted 80 Aniversario (Leyenda). As you may well have guessed, Linea 1935 pertains to the foundation of the Montecristo brand in pre-revolution Cuba in 1935, founded in the famous H. Upmann factory and named for ‘The Count Of Montecristo,’ the famous book by Alexander Dumas which was an enormously popular choice to be read to the torcedores (cigar rollers) in the factory.

Since its foundation, Montecristo has gone on to become one of the most iconic Cuban brands, with many regarding its flavour profile to be the benchmark for what you can hope to expect of a Cuban cigar.

For the purposes of this pairing, I have chosen to sample the Maltes, the mid-range entry in terms of ring gauge and length, yet still clocking in at an impressive 6” length and not unrobust 53 ring gauge.

Montecristo Maltes 1

The Rum:

To accompany the magnificent stick I had chosen, I knew in advance what I’d be choosing to pair with it, Rational Spirits’ Cuban-Inspired Rum. Rational Spirits, based in Charlston, South Carolina, USA profess to obsessively research historical recipes for spirits and utilise innovative technology to recreate them and in the case of their Cuban-Inspired Rum they have gone to great lengths to create an homage to the independent rums of pre-revolution Cuba, pot distilling it using Grade A molasses and maturing it in charred and toasted new American oak casks, with the end result coming out at a surprising 70.5%ABV. This is particularly surprising due to the spirit being obscenely smooth and palatable when drank neat despite its imposingly high alcohol content.

Rational Spirits Cuban Inspired Rum

The Pairing:

This pairing, whilst a good idea in my mind, was quite a daunting prospect due to the rum component. While I do quite like rum, I find that it doesn’t like me and I have to tread a very careful line as it doesn’t take much of it to turn me into a raving lunatic (well, more of a raving lunatic than usual), I can only presume that it has a lot to do with it being distilled sugar and me being ever so slightly sensitive to sugar. But nonetheless, I braced myself for impact and set about lighting up my stogie and carefully sipping on the rum. I was immediately blown away by the construction of the Maltes, by far and away one of the easiest to smoke cigars I’ve come across in recent months, with a brilliant medium bodied smoke and earthy, woody flavours that developed in the second half to become somewhat reminiscent of coffee, with the rum bringing very butterscotch-esque and salted caramel vibes to the table which nicely rounded out the whole experience!

All said and done, despite my fear of turning into a gibbering mess due to the rum involved, this turned out to be a thoroughly enjoyable pairing!

Thanks for reading!