I managed to spend the last night of the old year at Highland Cigar Company, around good friends, family and fantastic drinks. I met Rick Baumgartner of Kristoff, and Garrett Damore of AVO/Davidoff, may be setting some things up in the future with these two gentlemen.
They’re really knowledgeable about the cigars they sell, and they’re both passionate men too.
Drink of the Night? (Before the Champagne of course!)
Blood and Sand:
1 oz Scotch (In this case, Cliff used Johnny Walker Black)
3/4 oz Cherry heering
3/4 oz Sweet vermouth
3/4 oz Orange juice
¼ oz Lemon (Classically, not an ingredient)
Mad Moulton was on FIRE New Years Eve, making those cocktails like a boss. I’m a fan of savory and this classic cocktail had enough balance and froth that made it look as pretty as it tasted. My preferred cigar was the ACC S.E. 12 Year to ring in the new year, but I had a chance to re-taste the Kristoff GC – and it indeed is lighter than presumed, with cocoa and coffee notes, slight bite but a smooth draw and a solid, medium finish. I had the Robusto.
I have this one cigar that..honestly I know so little about because there’s some mystery behind it, but all I can tell you is that it’s supposedly reminiscent of the Opus Double Corona NOT made by A. Fuente. It’s a fairly lengthy cigar made by Purity Cigar Group and when I can post a pic of it, I will.
It might be my new years smoke.
I’m looking forward to the ACC S. E. 12 year – which I’ve reviewed in a video here. It’s a great smoke and a fantastic way to ring in the new year at Highland Cigar Company.
Though who knows. I hear Highland is doing a Drew Estate/Kristoff event on New Years Eve – so I imagine drink pairing but probably no official review from me LOL!
At first glance, this dark cigar looks like it’s going to be a powerhouse. The band has a very old world Cuban feel to it in design and because it matches well with the darkness of the leaf, it makes it harder to see.
But for a cigar with such a hefty price tag ($2,500 per cigar), I have my suspicions. Yet, the website (Yamantaka Global) says the cigar is the same vintage tobacco as the 1950s Cubans. It’s obvious that this cigar is also rolled entubado like everything else ACC does. What that means is that the cigars are rolled in a tube-like fashion, and require a higher skill level of roller, else the attrition rate of production becomes really high since older tobacco is more susceptible to damage.
I’ve smoked enough ACC cigars to know the quality behind them has always been top notch, but this is hands down, the most expensive cigar on the market, and the most expensive cigar I’ve ever smoked to date. The other blogs don’t even MENTION ACC and it always kind of pisses me of, because I’ve been made aware of some of the more expensive sticks, but I’m also sure that if ACC made a $4 cigar, it’d beat the equivalent in someone like Gurkha’s blends, which I tend to find disappointing because something is wrong with many of the Gurkhas I’ve smoked.
Same goes for La Palina, sadly.
Cutting the cigar and doing a pre-light draw reveal really smooth flavors that are a little hard for me to identify, and I’m drinking water with this cigar. Upon lighting, the cigar has a smooth taste, with mellow notes of sherry and oak, as one would expect, from a cigar with this name. (Reminds me of the style used by Drew Estate to make their barrel aged cigars.)
The cigar has a beautiful draw, sending a plethora of almost sweet, white/gray smoke into the air. That trademark ACC scent isn’t present on this cigar though, but that’s okay. The feel of the cigar in my fingers suggests plenty of tobacco in the blend and at first puff, one would think, would have a tight draw. But no, the draw is excellent as I mentioned earlier.
Medium bodied, but full flavored, the oak becomes soft vanilla notes across the palate. If I searched hard enough, I tasted the lightness of sherry, making me wonder what style of sherry they used for the casks.
Solid cigar all the way through though. And a great start to me getting into higher premium cigars!
Not only is it complex, but it’s one of those made for red wine cigars. A softer California style Cabernet Sauvignon will compliment the richness of the ACC 1960 Oak Sherry Barrel, but if you have twenty year wines, try those too. Check your vintage charts!
I first experienced smoking this cigar some time ago when a sample was sent for review, and I am now smoking the ACC S. E. 18 year.
If you remember, I did a review for the ACC S. E. 12 year here. I really enjoyed the robustness of flavor in the 12 year, but the 18 year is a different beast entirely.
Yes, vintage tobacco, and I mean maybe up to fifty years old vintage, rather than the industry standard when a maker (wine does this too) slaps the word “Vintage” on a cigar box.
With a beautiful, laser cut jacket that’s just as exquisite as the 12 year, and a secondary band proclaiming the age statement, this cigar’s wrapper is much lighter in color compared to the 12 year.
Rolled entubado, this cigar is also triple capped to protect smoker, requiring another level of skill to not just blend, but roll this elegant cigar. Cigars with tobacco this old require a lot more care, not just because of the need to be gentler with the leaf, along with making sure the cigar is consistent and remains in line with the creator’s vision.
The flavors of this cigar are much milder than the 12 year, also. Due to the age of tobaccos, the blend, the flavors are softer. More of that cotton candy-like flavors, with very much a smoother profile too. Lighter on the pepper and spice, but damn tasty for sure.
Definitely a cigar that can’t be compared to anything else, really.
The packaging of ACC S. E. cigars is highest quality, using materials that only enhance the uniqueness and really look more like a lifestyle, than just a simple cigar. The Accessories from ACC, such as custom humidor cabinets and ash trays are a perfect compliment for those seeking to upgrade their lives.
If you’ve been following the blog for any length of time, you know my preferred size of cigar is the toro, or a churchill, both with ring gauges no smaller than 50 (though I will do a 49) and generally no bigger than 54.
Coming across my desk however, is a special treat. In a 7X42(guessing, don’t have the specs) size comes the ACC S. E. 10 Year Rosado Lancero.
For starters, much like the remainder of the ACC products, the jacket is a glorious rose gold with a seal over where the ring would be. It’s clean, elegant, distinguished from other cigar makers.
Vintage tobaccos were used, as were Cuban bunching methods of entubado that only the highest of skilled rollers can do when it comes to working with aged tobacco. In addition to the clean, reddish Rosado wrapper that ACC developed, there is a bit of Jalapa in the blend, to enhance the sweetness they were looking for to capture the attention of not just smokers who prefer a softer flavor, but female smokers who lean toward more balance to provide a smooth smoke.
Now, the taste. Like you’d figure from a rosado wrapper, there were notes of sweet cotton candy, along with a consistent, light leather and pepper taste. The draw, burn, amazing. Something I enjoy about this cigar is how it stands out among other cigars in the ACC Portfolio. It’s very hard to stack it against regular handmade cigars because it has a very welcoming personality which I’ve only found in the luxury market. You might pair this with a softer, supple California style Zin that’s not too aggressive, or find it paired with a more floral bourbon. I’d personally go with the Zin.
Oh, and because I can, this video shows a roller putting the finishing touches on the first samples.