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2013 Big Smoke Sunday Seminars—Dickel and Davidoff

Andrew Nagy
Posted: November 14, 2013

(continued from page 1)

"The filtration gives our whiskeys a nice, smooth finish and mouthfeel," Kragel said. "The whiskey ends up passing through 13 feet of charcoal that actually has a sheepswool blanket under it to catch any impurities in the liquid. The whole process takes eight days."

The tasting began with George Dickel No. 8, a whiskey Kragel described as "downhome, with a lot of caramel and vanilla." The mashbill, Kragel said, is comprised of 84 percent corn, 8 percent rye and 8 percent barley. Bettridge asked the audience to spark the Davidoff Nicaragua for the first pairing.

The panel and audience continued to smoke the Nicaragua as they worked their way down the flight of Dickel whiskys. Bettridge, Kragel and Stone agreed that the cigar worked well with No. 12. "I get a nice sweetness on the palate with this one," said Stone, and the others nodded in approval.

The Davidoff Nicaragua also worked well with the George Dickel Barrel Select, which Kragel said is a blend of whiskeys that have been aging for 10 to 12 years. Bettridge noted the matching bodies of the whiskey and cigar meant the spirit and smoke could mingle freely, "a sign of a great pairing."

Bettridge then asked all to light up the second cigar, the Davidoff Puro d'Oro. The small break gave Stone the chance to explain the laborious process undertaken to create a cigar like the Puro d'Oro. Stone talked about how the Yamasá region of the Dominican Republic, where the cigar's wrapper is grown, and how the regions geography and climate affect a tobacco plant.

"Every Davidoff cigar has been touched by roughly 300 pairs of hands," said Stone.

With lit Puro d'Oros, the panel again worked through the flight of Dickel. This time, the consensus for the winning pair was the Puro d'Oro and Barrel Select.

"I get this amazing cherry flavor on the back end," said Stone. Bettridge concurred, and went on to say that he felt the smoke was pulling flavors out of the whiskey that he didn't taste before.

As the second pairing flight neared it's end, Mirage servers walked around the room and poured what Kragel called "the mystery whiskey": the 15-year-old, George Dickel single barrel, which was only available via purchase of an entire barrel of whiskey from the distillery. Kragel said the the rare liquid was being served because the the folks at Dickel wanted to do something special for Big Smoke attendees.

So how did it taste?

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