September 27, 2023 1:28 pm

Pappy Van Winkle Cigar

“There will always be more old bottles of bourbon being made, so never ever save old bottles of bourbon. They’re meant to be enjoyed with family and friends at the moment.”

Freddie Johnson (Buffalo Trace)

What Makes It Special

Brand:  Pappy Van Winkle Barrel Fermented 
By: Drew Estate Exclusively for Pappy & Co.                    
Vitola:  Robusto 5 ¼” x 52                        
Origin:  Esteli, Nicaragua  
Wrapper:   Barrel fermented “tapa Negra” wrapper over a Mexican San Andres base wrapper            

Hand selected leaves from Kentucky are packed into small torquettes (or bundles of tobacco), which are then loaded strategically into oak bourbon barrels. Water is then added, while immense pressure is applied to the torquettes via railroad jacks. The tobacco is removed 2-3 times per year, shaken out, then repacked. The total process of fermentation takes 12-18 months, leaving a truly unique flavor profile and aroma. 

Price: $14

Visual / Pre-light Draw

  • Oily with rough visual seams
  • Exterior farm hay or fresh mulch aroma
  • Hard shell construction, sturdy mouth feel
  • Medium pull, smokey, peppery, salty wet mulch
  • Light brown foot coloring turns dark brown toward the head

First Third

  • Very nice draw but little to no foot smoke aroma
  • Immediate burst of salty and oaky coconut, medium body
  • Ash lasted the entire foot (first third) and off with light tap
  • No noticeable lingering flavors
  • Nice even but fast burn

Second Third

  • Base is still salty with more obvious oaky farm hay notes
  • Enjoyable but quick smoke, almost a race against time
  • Like smoking a bourbon barrel, quicky, to avoid the angels share

Final Third

  • Noticeable change, darker notes of aged oak
  • Spicy or peppery sea salt notes
  • Ash held from base (second third)
  • No re-light required throughout entire smoke
  • Cigar become harsh and bland at the end

This pairing is best described as a CARAMEL SALT BOMB! While I prefer a good scotch, I enjoyed this deep dive return to the dark side.

The Pairing

In the words of WBSE member Cory Putnam…“YEEEET!!!” Why not take advantage of the opportunity to double down on the Buffalo Trace experience!? The cigar was salty and oaky throughout its entirety, so the sweet wheated caramel notes of the BTAC William Larue Weller (2020) provided a strong counter punch, especially with an ABV of 67.25% (“YEEEEET!”). This pairing is best described as a CARAMEL SALT BOMB! While I prefer a good scotch, I enjoyed this deep dive return to the dark side.


Thank you whiskey enthusiast James Archie for providing the Pappy stick.

Photography by: James Archie

"Whisky is liquid sunshine."

George Bernard Shaw

“The light music of whiskey falling into a glass – an agreeable interlude.”

James Joyce

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