This is a tale of unexpected dichotomy in both distilling technique and pairing expectations. The subject matter spirit geeks find a childish pleasure in, along with a video series to compliment this pairing of Maker’s 46 and the Chisum Filtered Cigar.
My story begins with the standard whisky tasting. I find it helpful to forget all that I think I know of a particular spirit house’s signature and like to approach each tasting with fresh eyes, so to speak. Only then do I compare the new offering of Maker’s 46 to the past. So now, the notes on Makers 46…
Nose: Solid alcohol prevalence. Vanilla. Oak- medium strong. Familiar bourbon backnotes of caramel, light five spice and cocoa. Interesting, as vanilla is usually accompanied by sweetness as a primary tone. I didn’t get that here.
Palate: Clean, light texture. Activation of the center-tongue, with light activation to the sides. The nose carries through to the palate, with the vanilla/spice becoming prevalent.
Finish: This is where the magic happens, most unexpectedly. Normally, denser spirits will keep to what I call a ‘long finish.’ Through a variety of reasons, you can still taste a certain density of the spirit for 5 minutes afterwards. The oak becomes of primary prevalence, along with the vanilla/spice. Interesting. The lighter, more alcohol prevalent spirits always finish ‘clean.’ Not the case here.
I was reminded of an old technique called ‘priming the palate.’ This seems to be the perfect spirit for that application. Indeed, perfect for pairing inversely (or a to-and-fro variation.)
Inspired by the spirit, the team at Bourbonblog.com decided to pair with a new filtered small cigar which has recently been released – the Chisum by Farmer’s Tobacco of Cynthiana, Kentucky. Smelling the sweet leaf and noting definite tones of cocoa and maple syrup with a back-note of sher bidi spice, we knew we were getting ourselves into something good.
The balance of sweetness and restriction of tannins in the Chisum played well against the alcohol prevalence and barrel characteristic- a very nice contrast indeed. We also found the complimentary pairing of vanilla and brown sugar between the two products worth noting.
I was reminded of opera, the harmony of high pitches and low pitches married through a common harmony. Quite unexpected, yet quite exceptional.
And now for the first two videos below and on this link in a documentary called “Seed to Smoke” spotlighting Farmer’s Tobacco
Seed to Smoke Part 1
Seed to Smoke Part 2
Videos Filmed, Edited and Produced by Premier Marketing Services, Brian Jackson and Vince Moran. Special thanks to WatchEvansville.com.
Article by BourbonBlog.com’s Chef/Mixologist Stephen Dennison