Herrera Esteli & Laphroaig 10 Year
It has a been awhile since we’ve done a pairing here on the site so I figured it was time to get back to it! After our cigar review weeks finally calmed down I decided to sit back and have a nice pairing. I opted for the ole reach and grab method. I had never personally had the chance to smoke the Herrera Esteli because Mr. Yow got to review it. So I had an extra one lying around and I snatched it and grabbed the bottle of Laphroaig 10 Year and the party was about to begin! Not really a scientific method, but hey it works. And when you’re trying to kill some Sunday rainy blues, nothing beats some Stogies on the Rocks right? Let’s get into it and see what develops.
I’m not gonna lie, I’m not a huge Scotch fan just yet, but I’m easing into it. I definitely enjoyed this Laphroaig 10 Year so I figured why not pair with a cigar and see what happens. Man I tell ya, this first third was just a delight. The whisky is so nice and mellow, it has that strong smokey note to it in the aroma and when you combine it with a cigar it’s just delightful. Since I had never smoked the Herrera Esteli I was’t exactly sure what to expect. By the end of the first third I was ready to give this cigar a 10/10. I even texted Jeremy and told him it was a 10, he’s obviously not as generous of a reviewer as I am though. The overall pairing experience was fantastic, great burn, draw etc and each product was a very nice compliment to the other.
After reading Jeremy’s review of the Herrera Esteli I was really expecting to get those woody, floral and spicy notes. I didn’t get the woody and floral right away. I did pick up on the spice though. Holy good goo! My tasting note even says “Nice creamy smokiness coat with a layer of peppery fire!”. So yeah, it was pretty spicy coming out of the gate, for me at least. Towards the end of this third though the spice died down and the floral notes began to pick up. I began noticing this nice combination of flavors. It was a very minty note that shifted towards more of a eucalyptus flavor. Now I know I said in a previous review that I had never picked up on eucalyptus before. However, this flavor hit me and reminded me of that same flavor that I got in the High West Double Rye, so I figured, hey, it’s gotta be eucalyptus right? So that’s what we’re going with. Either way it’s a nice minty note that has developed and I absolutely love it!
As the pairing continues the Herrera Esteli continues to build up to a full bodied cigar. It has a great range of flavor, and now the strength is catching up. What I love is how harmonious these flavors are. Neither one is dominate right now they are both just ebbing and flowing with one another. I think that’s a big reason as to why so many people drink Scotch with their cigars. It’s not as dominate over the cigar like bourbon tends to be.
During this third the Laphroaig 10 Year is playing nice and doing a bit of a dance in terms of flavor. I’m not picking up on that minty note as much now. I’m starting to get more of the smokey flavor that I remember from the review. However, the spice has picked back up on the Herrera Esteli and as I said above, it’s definitely building in strength. When the spice returns it’s quite pungent! Luckily the whisky is keeping it at bay and not allowing it to really take over the pairing just yet. I think it’s a great combination of flavors thus far. Very harmonious. There aren’t any crazy combinations of flavors that I’m picking up on just yet. I have a feeling the final third might bring some change though.
This pairing continues to be superb. The cigar is so easy to smoke, the draw on it is superb and it’s creating this wonderful aroma of smoke and spice that is filling the air. Then when I bring the glass of Laphroaig 10 Year to my nose it adds it’s peaty aroma to the mix and it’s delightful
Finally, during the last third of this Herrera Esteli I began picking up on that woody note that was mentioned in Jeremy’s review. It hit me pretty hard at the end and it also kicked up a notch on the floral note. When that woody note hit and combined with the whisky you can imagine the flavor it gave off. To me it was like tasting a roasted piece of hickory. I was sitting there imagine a nice slab of brisket slow roasting on top of it and it made my mouth start to water. Absolutely divine flavor combination. This is a combination that I could enjoy over and over again.
I can’t say enough good things about this pairing. I have really enjoyed it. The cigar is easily a 10/10 for me, and when you combine it with this whisky it just drives the goodness on home. I can see why CA put this cigar in their top 10 this year. This was my 1st time smoking it and I loved it. So I definitely think I’ll go back to well for this smoke. The Laphroaig 10 Year was a solid addition and it’s making me really re-evaluate my tendency to drink bourbon with these pairings. The whisky really acted as a backbone the entire time and didn’t dominate the pairing but instead let the cigar shine, which I appreciate. So I’ll continue my pursuit but I have to say, this is a damn fine pairing. Both of these products are readily available and I think if you have either one, then you should go out and find the other to give this pairing a chance. My guess is, you won’t be disappointed.