La Gloria Cubana Gilded Age paired with Belle Meade Bourbon
For this cigar pairing I decided to go with the La Gloria Cubana Gilded Age and Belle Meade Bourbon. It was really more of a hybrid pairing method for this one. I knew I wanted to smoke a larger cigar and if you remember from the review all the Gilded Ages that I have are churchills. So yeah that solved that problem. Then I decided to take a slightly academic approach I wanted something that would pair well with the spicy/earthiness of this LGC. After the debacle that I had on the last pairing I wanted to think through this one. That’s what made me go for the Belle Meade Bourbon. I wanted something that was a little sweeter, not as earthy, something that would compliment this cigar the most. So that’s exactly what I did!
The hybrid approach is probably my favorite approach to pairing cigars. It provides a bit of academics and some randomness all thrown together to make some interesting pairings. After taking a look at both of the flavor profiles of these two individual products I have a feeling they are going to make a great pairing. So let’s dive into it and see if I’m right.
When I grab a churchill vitola I always think, “this won’t take that long to smoke”… Then I’m always wrong about that statement. I look at them in my humidor and they don’t look that big. Then when I get ready to light it up, I realize I’m in for a minimum 1.5 hour smoke. I lit up the La Gloria Cubana Gilded Age and began puffing away. I wanted to give it a slight head start of the bourbon. Even though I poured a pretty tall glass of bourbon I have a feeling this cigar will out last that pour. So I waited until I got about 1/4 of a inch into the cigar before my first drink.
As soon as I took that first sip there was a nice rush of refreshment. It was like a Coca Cola commercial where you just go “ahhh” in refreshment. The bourbon really brought some life into the cigar. The flavors started mingling like a cocktail networking event. The next thing you know a full blown party is happening. One thing that I really enjoyed about this pairing during this initial third is how open the cigar is. For a churchill it’s incredibly easy to draw, which makes it that much easier to enjoy smoking.
The flavors given off on this cigar pairing were fantastic. I knew I had a good feeling about this combination. First off the Belle Meade Bourbon is a great compliment to this cigar. I wasn’t a big fan of the bourbon initially, but I’ve grown to enjoy it more now. It gives a nice bit of relief to the initial spice being given off by this La Gloria Cubana Gilded Age. Overall the combination is very smooth, no harshness or bitterness to it which is always appreciated. There is a slight meaty note to it, probably from the cigar, but it’s amplified by the bourbon. There is also a strong nougat and caramel expression. This is more on the lingering finish from the bourbon. It’s almost as if a Milky Way bar has melted in my mouth. Maybe it’s because its Halloween, but I’m picking up on this strong sense of Milky Way bars. It’s a great pairing thus far and I’m excited to keep it going.
The cigar is staying fairly open through the 2nd third. I had a little bit of trouble with it and had to purge it. Then it began burning better. I think with it being such a large cigar it just builds up a lot. But I fixed it and now it’s rolling. It’s interesting to see how this pairing evolves throughout the duration. The cigar I know builds overtime, and the bourbon is opening up after being chilled and cut with some ice. So to see them both blossom alongside each other is very exciting.
As I said, both of these products are starting to blossom and really open up. The cigar is starting to hit with some coffee notes. It’s actually the dominant flavor right now. The sweetness of the bourbon is there on the backend rounding out the flavor profile. What I love though is that both of these products are producing some exciting flavors through the combination. However, they’re not combative with each other. The La Gloria Cubana Gilded Age is rolling through it’s changes and the Belle Meade Bourbon is hanging with it never causing an issue with the flavors. It’s a very interesting pairing to say the least.
As the cigar is beginning to wind down, I can’t say that I’m said it’s finishing. For some reason I just get tired of smoking after an hour and a half. So I’m ready to be finished with this cigar. As enjoyable as the pairing is, all good things must come to an end. So I decided it was time to lay the cigar to rest. Then cap it off with a final swig of the bourbon. You know what they say, when the bourbon is gone and the cigar is out the show’s over. I’m honestly not sure if anyone has ever said that, but I did and I believe it.
To my disappointment there wasn’t too much change in the flavors in this final third. Maybe I just couldn’t notice them at this point either though. That’s always the predicament that you run into with pairings. At some point I believe your taste receptors just get fried and can’t pick up any new flavors during the pairing. After smoking for over 1.5 hours there’s a good chance that’s what happened. So even though I didn’t pick up any new flavors I still enjoyed the flavors that were there. They were similar to the 2nd third, a lot of the coffee notes from the cigar, the meatiness was still hanging around. That overall sweetness from the bourbon gave a nice bit of life to everything else going on as well.
All in all this was a fantastic pairing. Full of flavor and life it had a little bit of everything going on. I think it really allowed each product to showcase what it had going on. To me it the made the bourbon stand on it’s head and show off. The cigar was solid and because it was changing up flavors throughout it kept the pairing exciting the entire time. So if you have any extra La Gloria Cubana Gilded Age laying around I would suggest finding a sweeter bourbon to pair it up with. I know the Belle Meade Bourbon doesn’t have a wide distribution yet, but if you can find it try these two together and see what happens! I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.