Friday, April 26, 2013

Cigar Review: CAO Concert

Music to my... mouth?!  This melodious cigar is sure to please a crowd. For about $6 at Stogie Boys you can own this classic, and (spoiler alert) it's worth every penny.

I won't go into CAO's story but here are a few fun facts:

1. The CAO Concert cigar was inspired by the brand's Nashville roots.
2. Rick Rodriguez crafted this beautiful piece.
3. It is made using a combo of 4 Nicaraguan & Honduran fillers with a Connecticut binder, then rolled in a Ecuadorian Habano wrapper.
4. It is best smoked while listening to big band jazz, like the old school stuff (true story).

Upon lighting, you get hit with a peppery smell and a thin smoke. It has a tight draw, and takes a little to get going. Once in full puff mode, ya puff mode, it picks up fast with rich and strong flavors. Not for the faint of heart. The peppery start will bite, but it mellows to a woodsy taste and a tad of sweetness. I say tad cause it is mainly earthy spice so don't kid yourself!

It burned great and was a long smoke due to the tight draw. Hunker down with a good book cause it will be a while. As it burned, the spice mellowed and the sweetness kicked up. Still earthy though. It leaves a nice rich taste in your mouth, but a generally dirty feeling. It's all that flavor just hanging out for later.

I was very impressed! I am not a bold cigar guy but this stick was palatable and super complex. Standing ovation for this maestro. Solid 8 outa 10. Pick one up, enjoy.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Whiskey Review: Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey

A baller whisky from the West Coast. I first heard about Stranahan’s from a friend. He was raving about some new whisky from Colorado. I said, “Whisky from Colorado? That's about as crazy as whisky from Columbus!”. I am eating those words…

This is one of my favorites from west of the Mississippi. It has cool presentation, an interesting brand, and a rich taste. The first thing you notice is the tall bottle with the little metal shot glass. Now I never abuse my poor whiskeys by “shooting” them, but the glass is kind of cool. Upon further investigation you will notice handwritten notes on the bottle. They include the batch number, fillers name, and notes. I love this part and think it is awesome! My bottle says “Listening to Cake” and it was filled by Rowland. How personal is that?! Now it isn't a mind blowing idea, but it's different and I love the personal touch. It makes me imagine some kid my age, just jamming out to some Cake and working a long day. Pretty neat. Their brand story is cool too, you can read more here .

Now to the taste!

Color: Russet, brownish gold
Nose: musty, sweet like oranges
Taste: rich brown sugar, citrus
Body: medium, maybe a little syrupy
Finish: short and sweet, a little smokey

This is a great whiskey and should make bourbons think twice about the Westsiders. It's strong and spicy, but still smooth enough to make it very easy to drink. My only complaint: it’s a little pricey for the above-average taste. I still recommend everyone with a whiskey cabinet pick up a bottle, and support our whiskey loving friends in Colorado! I give this whiskey a respectable 8 of 10.

Questions for YOU: Ever have a Colorado whiskey? Any good? What brand?