Trinidad ‘La Trova’ - Wild Turkey ‘Master’s Keep’ ‘1894’
A little while since I tried one of these gorgeous cigars. Last time, with a cracking Yamazaki 12-Year-Old. This time, a terrific Bourbon, but we’ll get to that.
The cigar, the Trinidad ‘La Trova’, is from a box coded RAG AGO 17. The first 2/3rds of the smoke were utterly glorious, though the last third, certainly not in any way a lesser smoke, was simply exhibiting signs suggesting it was too young. I'd hang off these for another year or two, if possible, but if not, you’ll still have a brilliant experience. And showing the requisite patience will not be an easy task.
As I noted last time, they were originally part of the “La Casa del Habano” program, and so were limited to specific designated retailers – eight different, highly regarded retailers around the Asia-Pacific, which was later expanded to some 145 stores around the globe.
Tech info for those who like that sort of thing – 52mm ring gauge and a length of 166mm (I believe that the technical term is ‘baseball bat’). Handmade, of course, they are described as ‘Totalmente a Mano con Tripa Larga’ (totally handmade with long filler). The tobacco comes from the famous Vuelta Abajo region in Pinar del Río, so some of the finest tobacco on the planet. Known as double robusto (Cañonazo Especial, a term previously only used for the famous 2011 Limited Edition, Cohiba 1966), they are rolled at the Francisco Donatién Factory in Pinar del Río and come in boxes of 12.
For me, these are the pinnacle of Trinidad, giving Fundadores a run for their money. Previously, I have seen white chocolate, earth and spices, with a hint of creamy coffee. This time, some white chocolate but the dominant feature was cream. Oodles and oodles of cream. It would probably be cheaper to buy a bucket of cream and guzzle it but the cigar has less calories. Rich, velvety smoke, nuts and custard and towards the finish, hazelnut and a Nutella note. The balance is exemplary, though towards the finish, with the cigar appearing so young, this slipped a fraction. Good complexity. Overall, 96, though the early part was even better.
The match – near perfect. The Wild Turkey ‘Master’s Keep’ ‘1894’ is a pointy end Bourbon from a name better known for mass production. Wild Turkey’s Master distiller, Eddie Russell, who took over from his legendary father, Jimmy, is behind the ‘Master’s Keep’ bourbons. This is their premium range, limited to just 10,000 bottles each. ‘1894’, which is named for their oldest warehouse (and the place where Eddie decided that he really did want to join the family business), is the third in the series, following on from ‘Decades’ and the ’17-Year-Old’ before it. The biggest surprise is that apparently, ‘1894’ will be exclusive to Australia (as I have said elsewhere, not that long ago, the mere thought of a top Bourbon producer releasing a special, limited edition bourbon in Australia only, would have been ‘box of frogs in party hats’ stuff).
To create ‘1894’, Russell travelled to Jerez in Spain to source old oloroso barrels for further ageing, after the initial 12 to 15 years in new charred American oak.
At this point, I’ll digress and mention the fourth in the ‘Master’s Keep’ series, ‘Revival’. As much as I loved the ‘1894’, I really do think that the ‘Revival’ is even better and while the ‘1894’ made for a stellar combination with the la Trova, I think the ‘Revival’ could have taken things to an even greater level, with its extra concentration of caramel notes.
The ‘1894’ is all bread and butter pudding notes, with white chocolate, honey, toffee, nectarines and a fine slippery texture. Some pepper on the finish and a little caramel. Crème Brulee and baked custard. A cracking Bourbon and worthy of the tag, premium. The material used has received extensive ageing, which makes the price of a bit over A$200 a relative bargain, if you can find it.
But then you could say similar things about the cigar!