Romeo y Julieta Limited Edition Exhibición No.2 2000/Havana Club Gran Reserva 15 Anos/Woodford Reserve Bourbon
It should be simple. A great cigar. A fabulous drink. They have to be a brilliant match, don’t they? What could go wrong? Well, in truth, not much and it rarely does. But simply combining two superb examples, each at the top of their game, does not mean that they will elevate each other or even that they will always be a terrific match.
The cigar? After a lot of talk on the forum about top examples of LE’s, I pulled out one of my very last examples of the R&J Exhibition No 2 from 2000, one of the very first of all of the LE’s. Technically, 49 x 194, it is one of the earlier LE’s which never seems to enter the conversation. Completely unfair. It is a cracker cigar, though I have no idea when I last tried one. Donkeys ago. Construction was exemplary, if perhaps a little tight. Quickly settled to a mild, slightly under medium, body. Complex and subtle with notes of dry hay, tobacco leaf and blackberry. But it was one of those complete cigars where it is really hard to pick flavours, because it is so balanced and absolutely nothing stands out. What was interesting was that from very early, it was obvious that this was a slow smoker. DC-sized, though a little on the smallish side for a DC (or have we become so accustomed?), it took 3 ½ hours! Can’t ever recall a cigar taking that long. But perfect for when you have consecutive games of footy to watch. And that was without re-lighting. Just a very, very slow smoke. For me, 95.
First up, the Havana Club 15 Anos. Fabulous rum. Powerful and clearly with considerable aged material. A bit of a molasses kick. Treacle rather than honey, and with a touch of oatmeal. But all well balanced. A brilliant rum.
As a match? Well, impossible to go wrong with two such stellar contributors, but the rum was a bit too powerful for the cigar. Overwhelmed the cigar’s subtleties. Love it, but too intense.
Tried a fave bourbon, the Woodford Reserve. For those who take note of these things, from Batch 101 – somehow, quite a few years ago, I got hold of one of these from Batch 1. I’ve tried numerous others over the years, but none ever matched that first one. No matter – this is a bourbon I like. Less sweet and less intense than the rum, so that meant it worked a little better as a match, but it was still a bit much for this subtle smoke.
Be interested in other thoughts on what might have worked better than these two. Neither a dud, in that sense, but neither elevated the match. Something more subtle is needed. A gentle aged malt? A much lighter rum? Half the fun is to keep looking, keep experimenting.