Filler / Binder: Unknown
Background: Drew Estate seems to have a pulse on the market and what people are looking for. While a lot of people choose to drink various hard liquors when smoking a cigar, there is also a contingent that enjoys a good beer. Jonathan Drew is one of those people. So what did he do? He made a cigar that would be accentuated by a particular type of beer (Hefewiezen, Imperial Stout, American IPA, Porter, or Triple Belgian) you were drinking.
Appearance (0-20): If I were to walk up to a rack of cigars, this wouldn’t be the first one I would look toward. That is to say, the branding is rather on the bland side. Varying shades of brown and bronze on the Monk label fade seamlessly into the stick itself, where the foot band is black and rather unremarkable also. When picking up the stick and examining it, you can see it has a decent foot and there are no real blemishes or heavy veins to worry about, but again a large part of the battle is getting someone to pick up the smoke in the first place.
Construction (0-20): The Imperial Stout version of this is silky to the touch with very little oily feel. There are a couple of areas along the cigar that there are slight gaps in tobacco. The initial cut revealed zero debris. From a first scent perspective, it gave off an odor that you could compare to a really rich pipe tobacco. Airflow was a little on the loose side, but that was expected given the gaps in tobacco that I could feel. The same slightly open nature continued throughout the entire stick. The ash was also indicative of some construction issues, since it didn’t hold well and the lines were uneven at best. The ash itself was a bright grey to almost white color.
Strength (0-20): Touted as medium to fill in strength, it definitely fits those qualifications. If nothing else, it is on point there.
Flavor (0-20): The smell of pipe tobacco was a bit of a giveaway as to where the flavors might go. The sweetness was definitely apparent, which was reminiscent of the Isla Del Sol, where it hits a milk chocolate taste. And much like the Isla, the bitterness of the heavier coffee flavor gives it a decent balance, especially when it’s paired with a nice creamy nature and a slight pepper kick. It’s rather straightforward on the flavor profile, but that isn’t always a bad thing. When targeting this as a cigar that is perfect to pair with a specific beer, the stability of the flavor outweighs the want for a smoke with more complexity since it works well to pair between the two and compliments the beer rather than takes away from it.
Value (0-20): I can’t, in good conscience, give this a really high score. A lot of the elements in this cigar are good, but I will take a Java over this at the same price any day.
Additional Notes: Paired with water at Cigars International.
Overall (0-100): Time and time again I have noted that I really do enjoy an occasional flavored cigar. The elements are there on this one to hit it out of the park, but it seems like they can’t make solid contact. From a conceptual standpoint, I love it. The idea that beer lovers can connect two of their favorite pastimes, beer and cigars… is wonderful. But the whole thing just lacked that little bit of extra finish from my standpoint. The appearance is somewhat lackluster, the construction is mediocre, and the pricing is a bit on the high side. The flavors are certainly there from a pairing standpoint, and the strength is right on… but I don’t think I would revisit this without some sort of change in the overall concept. Maybe I was simply hoping for more, given that I enjoy Drew Estate cigars, or that I desperately want this kind of concept to succeed. But alas, its but a pipe dream for now.