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Send Word To The Colonies

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It’s something of a rarity that I often begin the thought process of constructing a pairing blog with anything other than a cigar, but in this pairing I wanted to highlight a new item of beer stock that we had imported, from one of my top 5 favourite breweries in the world: Evil Twin Brewing!

The Beer

I have previously discussed Evil Twin at length in my product review of their outrageous “Imperial Wedding Cake Break” imperial stout, but today we’re going to be dealing with another style which they display masterful skill at producing, IPAs. Personally, I’ve never really been one for pairing pale ales or IPAs with cigars, but I’m always trying to actively push myself to try new things and remain open minded to new combinations of flavour profiles. Which brings us to the beer in question: “The Art of Mixing a Beer: Blood Orange Margarita,” an 8%ABV Double IPA thematically based on a, you guessed it, Blood Orange Margarita. Flavors of lime juice along with notes of blood oranges with a slight amount of sourness (from the limes) immediately leap out at you with little to no bitterness presenting itself. It can honestly say that it really does conjure the feel of a margarita with blood orange added!

The Cigar

With the beer firmly locked in, it was time to start scouring through the humidor for a companion to put alongside it. I knew I’d be looking for something with quite a spicy character to compliment and cut through the hoppiness and juiciness of the beer, which brought my mind very quickly to Trinidad vitolas, more specifically the “new wave” Trinidad's. Trinidad as a Cuban brand date back to 1969, but you would have seldom ever seen any of their vitolas in the wild as, much like Cohiba's, they were produced and reserved for dignitaries and diplomats visiting Cuba until 1998, which marked the release of their first public vitola, the Fundadores. It would not be until 2003 that the cigar I ended up opting for would even come into existence, and that cigar is the Coloniales. I knew from previous experience with the vitola, that the Coloniales opens with an initial saltiness and slight floral notes, eventually giving way to spicy wood notes, hints of roasted macadamia and leathery hints, which was exactly the flavour profile I was looking for.

The Whisky

In terms of whisky, I wanted to include a spicy element to the proceedings as well, which made choosing from our vast selection incredibly easy, it HAD to be the Edradour 10 Year Old, my forever go-to dram for pairing with an IPA. Edradour is one of Scotland's smallest distilleries and their methods of production have remained virtually unchanged in the last 150 years and thank god, because they make some absurdly good drams! The 10 Year Old’s decade of ageing was spent in a combination of Oloroso sherry and bourbon casks, giving it great complexity. A thoroughly fruity dram with rich sherry sweetness, alluring vanilla and a hefty backbone of spice.

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The Pairing

I had high hopes for this pairing, hoping to prove myself and my prejudice against pairing cigars with IPAs wrong, and sure enough that became the case before long. Honestly, this pairing went down so smoothly that I was well into the second third of the cigar before even taking the time to try and find any flaws in it, so I resigned myself to admitting that I’ve perhaps been too hasty to close myself off to the option of pairing IPAs with cigars and got down to enjoying what the pairing had to offer: the juiciness and the hop character of the beer intermingling joyously with the spiciness of the cigar and the liquid spice of the whisky coursing through the gaps to create a well-rounded warming experience perfect for the cold, dark winter days ahead!