For those of you that have not followed this column, the first two installments are at www.robbyrasreviews.com under Coffee and Conny Reviews: Chapter One and Two. Basically, I love coffee, and I love cigars, so I figured I should explore the pair and perfect the two together. Since I normally review with ice water for no palate interaction, I keep these reviews quick and to the point. In my attempts to determine which pairs work best together, I have found sipping pre-draw and post-draw influence the palate in different ways. I cannot say I have determined which regions of tobacco pair well with specific roasts, but I feel over time I should start to determine patterns and make educated recommendations. For now, every review refines my palate and helps me determine the best Connecticut's on the market.
Room 1o1 Corona
Recently I found a local roasting company that has several single region beans and roasting levels to choose from, so I grabbed a couple pounds of light roasts as I have traditionally bought medium-dark roasts. I have determined that lighter roasts tend to cleanse the palate really well, and in this case, the Malawi was a perfect pair with the Room 101. My mouth was a little blasted from a hot sauce drenched breakfast, so the light spice in my notes may be a result of the habanero sauce. The retro was very smooth, mild pepper notes, and a very clean finish on the first third. The second third was mellow and with a sweet, buttery, creaminess picking up toward the final. The citrus notes of the coffee seemed to intermingle with the cigar on my palate creating such a wonderful finish, I really lost track of both and just enjoyed the moment. My thoughts on this cigar, is the Room 101 Connecticut is an excellent morning smoke and is perfect for a light-medium roast. This cigar is too light for a dark roast, and I would think the lack of depth in the cigar might be overshadowed in that case. Being a huge fan of Matt Booth’s creations, I am not surprised I loved it. Sometimes I forget to review cigars due to the enjoyment, this was one of those cases, so I apologize for the lack of detail, the 101 rocked.
AKA Solace Cloud Nine
Talk about a letdown of sorts... Rob sent me one of these with some review smokes, and unfortunately, I found it had been reviewed several times on www.robbyrasreviews.com. I was bummed as I had heard good things, so when the move to cfed came up, I figured it was time to burn this puppy and be the first to review it here. The dry draw reminded me of Honey Nut Cheerios, and the coffee employed was the Yirgacheffe. The first third provided light spices, hints of honey and graham cracker, with a cedar note as the main flavor. The retro was very easy and leaned on the dry side with hints of vanilla. Light nuts and sweetness arrived in the second third, and the light beans are perfect with sweet cream. The finish was surprisingly long, and I was kicking myself for not smoking this earlier. The finale had the initial Cheerios notes and I had concluded this was one of the best Connecticut’s I have smoked. I highly recommend this cigar to anyone, and look forward to exploring this line for future reviews.
San Latano Connecticut Lancero
Normally if I do not like a larger ring gauge (RG) of a certain blend, I tend to enjoy the smaller RG involving a blend I might enjoy. I was not a fan of the larger RG San Latano Connecticut, but figured I would give the lancero a shot, as my buddy Drew sent it to me as a gift. Did I mention it is 80 degrees, the birds are chirping, blossoms blooming, and I got nothing to do today? The dry draw was all fruity sweetness, which immediately blasted my senses upon first draw. Cedar, dry nuts, and a retro with enough kick to wake the senses welcomed the breakfast Guatemalan blend on my palate from The filling Station. Specifically, the coffee is best post draw; otherwise, it mutes the flavors a bit. The middle third mellowed and the coffee tended to overpower it at times, but the finish of both stayed clean on my palate. The final third demanded a latte, so I ran inside and whipped up a sweet cream latte, and created a heavenly match. The cedar and nuts dominated the finale, and I would say this cigar is a hit. I would be surprised to find any smoker that might not like this blend, from rookies to Cuban snobs, the San Latano delivers.
Final Thoughts: Spend a little more, and you get a bit more out of your morning smoke. The most important part of this pairing is not burning the palate out, and with all three of these, I was very impressed. The AKA was the best of the three, but all three were fantastic, and I will buy all of them again. I have determined that lighter roasts tend to do really well with this pairing, as the bright citrus notes seem to cleanse the palate very well. In some cases, taking a sip pre-draw changes the experience all together and may change up what flavors pop from the cigar. Chapter Four is coming soon, along with more single region beans of different roasts. I plan on cataloging which pairs worked with light or dark roasts, and noting the regions, to see if I can find a correlation after multiple reviews.