The Drew Estate Smoking Monk of Esteli project dates back more than 3 years. Announced in late December 2014, the entire range covers five different types of beer to pair with. They are available in a single toro vitola at 6-1/2 by 54 ring gauge.
The Smoking Monk of Esteli line is exclusive to Cigars International and can be purchased from CI or from Cigar.com. In the coming weeks we will post reviews of each blend and also feature each Smoking Monk on Sharing Our Pairings, sponsored by Cigar.com.
Hefeweizen – Mild-bodied with creamy notes of vanilla and a sweet finish
Imperial Stout – Hearty, medium to full-bodied blend with nuances of cacao and sweetened dark roast coffee
American IPA – Medium-bodied with a zesty flavor profile of citrus, spice, and slight smoky finish
Porter – Well-balanced, medium-bodied blend filled with notes of dark chocolate, coffee, and caramel
Triple Belgian – Medium to full-bodied with a rich, complex tobacco flavor and a spicy finish
Nosing the Smoking Monk of Esteli Porter I’m definitely picking up some vanilla off the wrapper and foot. It reminds me immediately of a more subtle Natural with an unsweetened cap. The sample I smoked for the pairing portion required a double v-cut for the draw to be just right, where the solo cigar only required a single v-cut.
On the solo cigar review this definitely reminded me of a Drew Estate Natural but it had some pepper on the retrohale and the vanilla notes were suppressed and subtle. There is some earthiness in the first third which ends up being a more full bodied loam reminiscent of the Liga Privada No. 9.
The Smoking Monk Porter did not stand out for me in terms of flavor complexity on its own. I would put it squarely in the medium bodied, medium strength category.
For the pairing I went with a Samuel Smith Taddy Porter. This is a porter that I pulled out of my beer fridge as it is a part of my regular rotation. It registers at 5% ABV and for me represents a porter made in a very traditional way.
The porter had some dry malty character along with some smokiness. It finished sweet and creamy with a slight lingering hop citrus and bitterness. The nose on the Taddy Porter was caramelized malts.
Ultimately this is what you came for, and the whole intent behind these cigars. The malt of the Taddy Porter did a great job of offsetting the leather notes in the first third. I was able to get more pronounced smokiness off the beer as I progressed into the middle of the cigar.
Total pairing time was 1 hour and 43 minutes. I did finish my beer shortly after entering the last third of the Smoking Monk Porter.
I found throughout the pairing that the Taddy Porter did a great job of complimenting the flavors from the Smoking Monk Porter cigar, and also refreshed my palate between draws.
Would I pair this again? I’ll grab a 5 pack of the Smoking Monk of Esteli Porters and will likely switch it up with some of the other porter beers that we featured on Sharing Our Pairings Episode 21.