You've got yourself some new threads and are looking really ace. Well that's A-OK, but it ain't just looks that make a man. When they come at you with all that jump and jive you've gotta open that kisser and fire a couple back at them! That's why we've put together a section called "Snub & Snifter" and it's all about smokes and booze. After reading this section you'll be ready to hit the jazziest joints and send them home crying.
Coconut Grove, Florida
A serene, bayfront terrace overlooking Bicayne Bay. Moonlight softened by thick clouds. Lime trees swaying in the breeze. Inside, the stereo works easily through Sammy Davis, Jr's version of the Shaft Theme. The vocals in Davis' version are cooler and more laid-back than the more familiar Isaac Hayes' version, giving the impression that he's had a few drinks. Can you dig it?
Drew Estate Liga Privada No. 9 (Robusto)
The first thing we noticed upon picking up this cigar is the splotchy maduro wrapper that looks like it's been soaked in black coffee. This gives the cigar an intimidating appearance that may turn off less adventurous smokers. When looking at the foot of the cigar (that's the end you're going to light, you knucklehead you!) the varied shades of tobacco contained in this stick are noticeable. Drew Estate has put together a blend of aged tobaccos from seven different farms for their flagship Liga Privada series, resulting in a complex product that remains interesting upon revisiting the cigar. Its bold appearance is finished off with a handsome band exclusive to the Liga Privada series.
Upon lighting the cigar, we were surprised by its easy draw. Though the smoke is thick and powerful, it remains smooth as it coats the palate with espresso, black pepper, woods and leather notes. Working our way through the stick, a tight column of soft, uniformly gray ash held tight for several inches. The light colored ash contrasts beautifully with the dark wrapper behind it. The Liga Privada No. 9 retains a similar flavor profile throughout its entire length and rewarded us with some of the richest, full-strength puffs in the final draws. Overall, this is a cigar with an intimidating appearance that surprised us with its smooth, complex nature and effortless draw.
Suntory Hibiki Japanese Harmony
Hibiki roughly translates to "harmony" and is Suntory's line of premium blended whiskies. For over a decade the Hibiki line has garnered praise for their 12, 17 and 21-year aged malts. With the introduction of Hibiki Harmony, the label is offering their first No Age Statement (NAS) blended whiskey. In producing a NAS whiskey, the master blenders at Hibiki are more free to broaden their palette with a wider variety of whiskeys. Harmony is a blend of over 12 different types of whiskeys that have been aged in American oak, Sherry and Mizunara (Japanese oak) casks. The result is a whiskey that is delicate, clean and unique that offers serious drinkability regardless of how you take it.
We were immediately struck by the gorgeous decanter-style bottle that holds Hibiki Harmony. The faceted bottle is elegant and feels nice in the hand, but is also symbolic: the facets represent the 24 Sekkis (seasons) of the traditional Japanese lunar calendar. This is especially fitting given Hibiki's statement of philosophy of "living in harmony with humans and nature". The facets help showcase the honey-amber colored whiskey inside the bottle with refracting light. When poured, the whiskey has a light floral and grainy nose as it flows out of the bottle. Upon sipping, the first thing we noticed was the smooth mouth feel and spring water-like pureness that flowed easily over the tongue and leaves a clean feeling in the finish. On the palate, the whiskey is sweet with floral, light orange and lychee notes. While the fruit notes linger, the finish has a surprising light wood smokiness that reflects the Mizunara Oak cask aging element of the blend. Overall, Hibiki Harmony is an easy drinker that isn't afraid to remind you that you're drinking a powerful and refined whiskey.
This was an enjoyable pairing that showcased the work of the expert blenders/artisans of whiskies and tobaccos. The sweet punchiness of the Hibiki Harmony helped to contrast and cut through the boldness of the Liga Privada No. 9 in a way that helped to showcase the qualities of both.
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