Smoke On The Water
For the foundation of this pairing, I decided to tackle a very recent addition to the Hoyo De Monterrey portfolio; a brand which I have recently taken quite a shine to, with it’s dialled back strength of tobacco allowing for a more aromatic, elegant and flavourful smoking experience. For those like myself who like to delve a bit into the history of these iconic brands, the Hoyo de Monterrey brand was born in a plantation of the same name in San Juan y Martínez, in the heart of the Vuelta Abajo region. Vuelta Abajo is regarded by many as the finest tobacco-growing region in the world; it is the main source of tobacco for Cuban cigars and happens to be the only area that grows all three types of leaf used in cigar production, namely: the wrapper, binder and filler leaves.
For the cigar in question however, I opted to sample one of the newest additions to the Hoyo range, the Le Hoyo de Río Seco (56 x 140mm). It is the most recent addition to the Serie Le Hoyo range and the second heavy gauge offering following on from the Le Hoyo de San Juan, as heavier gauge vitolas had not seen much of a presence in the brand until the San Juan; the Río Seco helps to further expand the brand’s offerings for fans of a heavier gauge cigar.
With the cigar choice set in stone, I began pouring over what offerings we had in the CASC fridges to pair with it, after some light deliberation, I settled on Beavertown’s Heavy Water, an Imperial Stout jammed full of Raspberries, Cacao and Vanilla. I’ve often been a fan of Raspberry in Stouts, and despite the decadent nature of the beer, the individual ingredients all find their place and spot to shine without treading too much on the toes of any other ingredient. The initial nose is a sharp, tart fruityness from the Raspberry, then opens up to the vanilla and chocolatey notes, and delivers much the same order on the palate, but much, much deeper with a nutty caramel character appearing.
Originally I had intended for this to be solely a Cigar and Beer pairing, but as I was finalising my selection for the pairing I had a sudden flash of inspiration to include a certain whisky that I’d overlooked and realised would compliment the other two aspects very well. That whisky just so happened to be the Tomatin 18. I’ve been quite a fan of Tomatin offerings that I’d tried in the past, and whilst only having previously tried the 18 once before, I had a hunch that it’s rich Oloroso sherry character would mingle well with the cigar and beer.
I was more than thrilled with the results of this pairing, as I had momentarily worried myself that the gluttonous nature of Heavy Water might have overpowered the Río Seco, but in practical application, the two intermingled brilliantly and the Tomatin 18 added a beautiful tertiary level of refinement to the proceedings, with it’s chocolatey, caramelly sweetness and dried fruits helping to expand on Heavy Water’s similar characteristics. I’d very much recommend trying this combination to anybody with a particularly sweet tooth!
Thanks for reading!