Leaf Speak

April 2020

Foundation The Tabernacle

Size: 5 x 50

Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: San Andreas Mexican
Filler: Honduran Jamistran/Nicaraguan Jalapa
Vitola:  Robusto 

Average Price: 10.50 USD

I really enjoy pairing my cigars with beverages. In the evenings, it’s usually Scotch whisky. If I’m having a creamy morning cigar, it will likely be a delicious coffee. And if I’m not in the mood for either of those, I’ll likely grab a craft beer or soda.

 

There are two ways to approach a pairing; choose a similar profile to amplify the notes and flavors, or, choose a contrasting profile that will, hopefully, produce an experience that is more than the sum of the parts.

Contrasting flavors can combine to transform notes into something entirely different, much like mixing colors to produce a brand new one.

Visual / Pre-light Draw

The Tabernacle displays a bold appearance with a dark, coffee bean colored broadleaf wrapper and an appealing gold trimmed band featuring a portrait of the 225th King of Abyssinia. Veins are wound around the exterior of the cigar like a beautiful spiral staircase and the absence of oil gives a dry, leathered introduction to this intriguing and visually brilliant presentation. The pre-light draw is void of all complexity and offers a one-dimensional wheaty peek into what lies ahead.

First Third

Immediately after lighting citrus notes flooded the palate along with hints of almond and pepper. The citrus was a surprise judging by the dark and dry appearance, but it was a welcome one and continued throughout the entirety of the cigar. Notes of dried ryegrass and walnut rounded out the first third of the cigar and played nicely with the exquisite Islay dram which it was paired. Near the end of the first third the richness of the cigar started to bloom.

Second / Final Third

The solid construction of the cigar gave way to easy draws and an ideal, even burn. The citrus, while still evident, transformed into a darkened fruit note and an earthy, meaty body started to form around it. Leathered puffs engulfed the palate and justified the dry, darkened appearance of the cigar. The Islay single malt shone brightest with the accompaniment of these bold notes and both the cigar and whisky were elevated to new levels of enjoyment.

As the cigar melted into ash, and the earthy, leathery, cocoa laced smoke entered and exited the palate, I became saddened that the enjoyment was nearly over. The citrus note lingered around the perimeter of the darkened core and the pepper reared its head once more before the end arrived. While not overly complex or adventurous, The Tabernacle has proven itself to be a very enjoyable cigar. It surely has cemented a place in my humidor as it was an impeccable partner to my beloved Islay malts and, I imagine, would be a great pairing for many other fine whiskies.

The Pairing:

I chose Uigeadail from Ardbeg to pair with the darkened Tabernacle. This is one of my favorite expressions from Ardbeg and it shares many similarities with the cigar. The pairing strategy for this was flavor amplification, and it didn’t disappoint.

 

The shared notes of cocoa, leather, citrus, and pepper were all enhanced by the marriage of liquid and smoke, coming together to make this pairing one to remember. The oils of the malt intrigued me as they slowly fell down the side of the glass, just as the oil sheen on the cigar wrapper intrigued me as it retreated from the ember. Truly exceptional products on their own, and even more so when enjoyed together.

Sláinte!

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