“Explore the pairings, there’s something for everyone!”
—The Twisted Pair Podcast
What Makes It Special
If you know, you know!!! Texas based Whiskey Network Staff Writer, Dave Yancey, aka ‘Greybeard’, has partnered with the lovely ‘Ash Red’ and classically trained Texas Chef, Matt ‘Spiceman’ Harris, to create the Leaf n Grain Society. This is the only group and company that focuses entirely on teaching, in depth, how to pair cigars with all types of beverages and food. Dave said “we started as a desire to share our enjoyment of pairings. From there we started learning what it was about cigars and drinks that made the pairing work on that level. We then decided that we wanted to teach others how to discover their own pairings.”
Greybeard and Ash Red take us to the next level, live on Instagram @JUSTGREYBEARD, and occasionally on their Leaf n Grain Facebook page, every Wednesday at 7PM CST, as the Twisted Pair Podcast. They feature special cigar and whiskey industry guests while sharing their unique and next level knowledge on cigar pairings. Dave, or as I call him, ‘Gandalf the Grey’ of both cigars and whiskey, is a certified Bourbon Steward, a Level 1 Spirits Specialist (WSET) , a Wine Specialist, and prospective Cigar Sommelier (IACS). Ash Red is a Certified Retail Tobacconist (CRT) and currently working on becoming a certified Cicerone (beer expert). Recently, they were featured as guests on the iconic and globally rebranded Great Cigar & Pipe Show, along with admired WBSE member and Cafe 305 BBQ owner, Billy Breedlove. Be sure to check out this epic next level live pairing episode here:
This Leaf n Grain LnG Single robusto cigar features a Mexican San Andres Maduro wrapper leaf, which is grown in the volcanic soil of the San Andres Valley, and can be traced back to ancient Mayan carvings in Veracruz. Known as “Morron” or “Negro”, for its dark brown color, this tobacco is stalk-cut (entire plant) versus primed (leaves picked off the plant two or three times), and so it is thicker, naturally sweet, and earthy. This unique blend also contains a corojo binder from Esteli, and secret sauce Nicaraguan long fillers from Jalapa, Esteli, and Ometepe. All of the cigar’s tobacco was personally selected by Dave, Ash Red, and Spiceman, in collaboration with their friends at Providencia and Rojas Cigars. It can only be purchased at their favorite Underground Cigar Lounge in Fort Worth, Texas, or online at www.undergroundcigars.com.
Brand: Providencia & Rojoas
Vitola: 5×50 Robusto
Filler: Nicaraguan Long Fillers (Jalapa, Esteli, & Ometepe)
Wrapper: Mexican San Andres Maduro
Binder: Nicaraguan Esteli Corojo
Age: 2 Years
Body: Medium to Full Boldness
Visual / Pre-light Draw
The dark brown maduro wrapper is very toothy and oily with a partially closed foot. It’s hard construction has tough overlapping veins with a slight hint of exterior plume. The very simple but large white band, displaying the yellow Leaf n Grain logo, slides right off pre-light. The cigar has a dark chocolate exterior odor, similar to Mexican hot chocolate. There is also a faint exterior hint of barnyard hay, while the foot has a bolder chocolatey odor with heavier hints of the same barnyard hay. After a two day dry boxing of the cigar, my preferred Colibri V-Cut dry draw produced nice floral and cocoa notes over dark orchard fruits.
An explosion of flavor on the first draw. Bursts of creamy, incredibly smooth, chocolate and floral notes coat the palate. The cigar’s white pepper immediately transitions to creamy vanilla, even on the retro-hale, which has a slight black peppery spicy punch to it. It has a nice even slow burn, with perfect amounts of smoke input and output. I wish I was eating what I’m tasting as it transitions again to creamy oaky oat notes over dark figged fruits. There is so much flavor going on in this first third, I doubt my palate is picking up on all of them.
There is a very fruity palate coating aftertaste that lingers after a momentary break. The cigar’s ash is still going strong as its flavors seem to be meshing together for a wild, indescribable flavor. Those noticeable soft white pepper and cocoa notes transition into nice coffee flavors, as the ash falls off on its own terms, all over my laptop. Time to introduce this incredibly smooth and epic medium bold robusto cigar to the epic Joseph Magnus Cigar Blend bourbon. In the words of Dave Yancey…“oh hell yeah!!!” The whiskey’s spicey boldness definitely takes this cigar to the next level, enter The Spiceman! Also taking the pairing to the next level, on Dave’s recommendation, is the song “Circle” by Big Head Todd and The Monsters. The song’s deep lyrics and classic 80’s rock guitar riffs, interweave with the now creamier but enhancing flavors of the whiskey and cigar. The cigar’s burn and now buttery smoke output slows even more. The pairing’s euphoric journey immediately reaches a divine level, beyond my desired “unusual awesomeness”, enter Gandalf the Grey!
The extra lengthy experience of this robusto cigar is next level for sure, and it’s the only cigar I want right now! I’m getting that awesome chocolate covered marzipan note I often get on quality cigars. The ash’s second chapter just fell off with dignity, all over my shirt, but no worries, because the cigar remains lit! The cigar’s foot smoke odor smells like chocolate frosted cupcakes while its boldness rapidly increases. This final third is a mellow vanilla cream bomb, that explodes with boldness in its grand finale, all over “my precious” marzipan. Suddenly I became pleasantly buzzed, and vicariously impressed with Dave, Ash, and Matt’s tobacco choices on this robusto blend. Their legit next level knowledge is definitely revealed through the incredible and bold character on this amazing smoke!
The bourbon’s high ABV spice, surprisingly mellows and marries very well with the cigar’s medium boldness. The pairing creates beautiful spicy dark orchard fruit cake and chocolate cereal notes that tingle and linger on the palate. Overall, this is what should happen when you pair a quality cigar with a quality bourbon.
The Joseph A. Magnus distillery was founded in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1892. “Magnus prided himself not only on the quality and age of his spirits, but on intelligent and honorable business methods. Excellent whiskey, he recognized, was more than simply a pleasant experience for the drinker – it was a means of promoting good conversation, close fellowship, and the interchange of kindly deeds and pleasant thoughts.” ~ josephmagnus.com
This Cigar Blend Bourbon Batch 65, blended by Master Magnus Blender, Nancey Fraley, was released in the winter holiday season during December of 2021. Batches 60-71, consisting of fourteen to twenty year old bourbons, blended and finished in Armagnac casks, pays homage to the Christmas season as “The Twelve Blends of Christmas”. This ‘Hazmat’ Batch 65, titled “Six Geese-A-Laying”, is 130.44 proof (65.22% ABV) “with intense aromas of dried apricots, mince-meat pie, and dates in syrup coming from the Armagnac barrel.”
Paired with this LnG Single Robusto, the Cigar Blend bourbon turns into the boldest and darkest double fudge brownie, covered in melted caramel, with a beautiful bright red maraschino cherry on top, enter the lovely Ash Red! The bourbon’s high ABV spice, surprisingly mellows and marries very well with the cigar’s medium boldness. The pairing creates beautiful spicy dark orchard fruit cake and chocolate cereal notes that tingle and linger on the palate. Overall, this is what should happen when you pair a quality cigar with a quality bourbon. Dave’s favorite track reminds us that “love is the reason we are here or nothing at all, and that “love is easily forgotten,” but this incredible pairing experience won’t be! Time to hit repeat on this deep track, and come full ‘circle’, time and time again, with this delicious brownie bomb, and perfectly ‘twisted’ pairing.
Happy Thanksgiving WBSE and The Leaf n’ Grain Society.
Acknowledgment & Live Pairing Discussion
Thank you to Leaf n Grain Society’s Dave Yancey, Ash Red, and Matt Harris for creating this awesome robusto cigar. Be sure to check them out on their Leaf n Grain Society Facebook group page, or company website at www.leafngrainsociety.com.
Thank you to WBSE’s ‘Florida Boy With The Sauce’, Billy Breedlove, for your time and incredible barbecue sauces, which can be purchased at www.cafe305bbq.com.
Click here for more epic, Whiskey Network Staff Writer discussion, on taking cigar pairings to the next level.
Photography by: James Archie