I have officially orchestrated over fifty cigar and rum pairings for this glorious publication, which has been delivering important rum news and information for many years now. I had to mark this milestone with an equally impressive cigar and, after much deliberation, I selected the Magnum 50 from H. Upmann.
As you can imagine after 50 cigar and rum pairings, it is hard not to repeat some themes, but if I do repeat them it is not due to a lack of imagination, but rather because I want to re-live treasured moments once again. This pairing, for example, is a great opportunity for me to share with you a cigar that is dear to me.The Magnum 50 from H. Upmann (50 ring x 161mm) comes from a limited edition from 2005. Three years after its production it became a part of the classic H. Upmann lineup of cigars. What makes this cigar even more special is that I have aged it an additional three years in my humidor, maintaining it in excellent shape (I take care of my cigars with the same love I take care of my pet!). This cigar has a medium body, the first few puffs offer spicy notes of cinnamon and clove, but in a very subtle way. We need to keep this in mind while looking for a good rum to pair it with.This turned out to be a very easy task.
I didn’t want a sipping rum, instead I wanted a rum fora cocktail, something I’ve been doing for the past few years. I found it very hard not to think about the great pairings I’ve made with a Rum Manhattan, because it works perfectly with the body of a rum, providing a canvas for the Vermouth Rosso to add ripe fruit notes. This is especially true if the Vermouth is a home-made maceration made with cherries and their liqueur, which makes it even fresher and which makes the addition of a cherry garnish totally unnecessary.
The rum I selected for the cocktail was Don Pancho 8 year old, because I like the rums made by Don Pancho and because the rum is very versatile. I think this rum is among my top 5 rums for this type of cocktail.
Here are the proportions for the Rum Manhattan:
2 oz Don Pancho 8
1 oz Vermouth Rosso with Cherry
Making a Manhattan is very simple and straight forward, as long as you follow a few basic recommendations, such as chilling the glass first and using a jigger or measuring device in order to accurately follow the recipe.
It is autumn over here and you can tell by the weather. A good Rum Manhattan can really make your day and if you add a cigar pairing I am sure it will be a pairing worth doing even in the rain!
Once you light up the Magnum 50 cigar you will notice the excellent draw you get from it, thanks to its ring size and length, immortalized by the beloved Robusto. The first two thirds also feature a range of aromas and flavors. At the very beginning of the pairing, the cocktail will dominate, showcasing the spicy notes but without leaving our palate dry, since the sweet cherry flavors from the Vermouth balance out the flavor.
Even though in many cases we experience an increase in intensity and flavors when we move from the first third to the second third of the cigar, this was not the case with the Magnum 50. Instead, I even feel that the cigar became more mellow and rounded. You can easily enjoy two cocktails while you smoke this cigar, which is exactly what I did, because it was very good and because of how it allowed me to enjoy the cool evening.
Now that Cuban cigars are becoming available in the USA, I expect many of our readers there can find this exact cigar so they can replicate the pairing.
Philip Ili Barake
-Article written by Philip Ili Barake-
My name is Philip Ili Barake, Sommelier by trade. As a result of working with selected restaurants and wine producers in Chile, I started developing a passion for distilled spirits and cigars. As part of my most recent job, I had the opportunity to visit many Central American countries, as well as, rum distilleries and tobacco growers.
Philip Ili Barake Photo
But my passion for spirits and cigars did not end there; in 2010 I had the honor of representing Chile at the International Cigar Sommelier Competition, where I won first place, becoming the first South American to ever achieve that feat.
Now I face the challenge of impressing the readers of “Got Rum?” with what is perhaps the toughest task for a Sommelier : discussing pairings while being well aware that there are as many individual preferences as there are rums and cigars in the world.
I believe a pairing is an experience that should not be limited to only two products; it is something that can be incorporated into our lives. I hope to help our readers discover and appreciate the pleasure of trying new things (or experiencing known things in new ways).