Tasting Notes for Cigar Blend Batches #35-40
The latest six batches of Cigar Blend Bourbon, which Magnus Master Blender Nancy Fraley dubs the “Traveler’s Excursion Series/Passport Series,” are comprised of batches #35 – 40, which are part of a larger “coupe mere,” or mother blend of 16 Bourbon barrels ranging in age from 13+ to 20 years old. For enhanced enjoyment of each batch, Master Blender Fraley recommends that you open the bottle, take a small pour off the neck, and allow the bottle to aerate for an hour or more to fully appreciate the intensity and complexity of the dram.
Cigar Blend Bourbon Batch #35: The Nutcracker
Batch #35, aka “The Nutcracker,” is arguably the nuttiest expression in the Cigar Blend series of batches to date, offering notes of the much prized nutty “rancio” from the Armagnac casks, as well as Marzipan, Nutella, light brown baking spice, and baklava with toasted walnuts and orange blossom honey on the nose. The nutty qualities resume on the palate, together with brown butter drizzled on baklava, stewed prunes in syrup, and fig compote, with much roundness on the palate, soft alcohol, and a long finish. Much like nimble dancers in the Russian ballet, batch #35 is delicate, refined, and infinitely delicious!
Cigar Blend Bourbon Batch #36: County Fair
Having rested during a long, cold winter, Cigar Blend batch #36 is reminiscent of aromatic images of attending a local county fair during the hot summer months. The nose conjures images of gooey chocolate Rocky Road ice cream filled with nuts and marshmallows in a cinnamon waffle cone, campfire toasted S’mores with Hershey’s chocolate and graham crackers, shaved and toasted coconut, and homemade blackberry jam. These notes translate to the palate, where Bourbon infused pecan pie with chocolate chips, cherry cobbler with vanilla ice cream, and German chocolate cake batter follow suit.
Cigar Blend Bourbon Batch #37: A Night in Tunisia
Cigar Blend batch #37 takes a somewhat exotic turn, inviting the whiskey connoisseur to probe deep into the fragrant world of the spice vendors in the Souks of coastal North Africa. The nose promises aromas of couscous with raisins and pine nuts, potpourri, Moroccan B’stilla topped with cinnamon and confectioners’ sugar, thick pomegranate syrup, as well as sweet, savory, and fruity tangine dishes. The aromatic fantasy continues with flavors of orange blossom water drizzled over honeyed baklava, floral, heady notes jasmine notes of quince jam, and almond paste. This dram is guaranteed to transport the connoisseur into a mental magical realm of relaxing in a leather club chair on a warm spring evening at a Marrakesh riad!
Cigar Blend Bourbon Batch #38: One Love
Cigar Blend batch #38 travels to a different region of the world and initiates a higher proof version of the Caribbean rum-like qualities of Magnus cult classic batch #25, also known as “The Pirate Cask.” With the aromatic equivalent of the urgency of Bob Marley and the Wailer’s song “Exodus: Power to the People,” the high alcohol strength and intensity of batch #28 delivers lots of power with its seasoning herbs and spices of allspice, ginger, nutmeg, lime blossom, ground black pepper, Scotch bonnet pepper, and dark brown sugar. Much of the same savory herb notes as batch #25 “The Pirate Cask” are found on the palate here, but this time with Jamaican Blue Mountain roasted coffee beans, more bouquet garni (think an herb mixture of thyme, parsley, basil, rosemary, black peppercorn, lemon balm, and tarragon), and with even more high ester rum funk, overripe tropical fruit, and thick molasses notes.
Cigar Blend Bourbon Batch #39: The Tobacconist
As its fanciful name suggests, Cigar Blend batch #39 “The Tobacconist” conjures up a tobacco shop in Victorian era London, with notes of aromatic, pungent pipe tobacco on the nose, Earl Grey black tea leaves with the floral rind of orange bergamot, sugary birthday cake white icing and vanilla cake batter, egg custard lightly sprinkled with Madagascar cinnamon, and sweet dark brown sugar. The palate continues with dark molasses, old saddle leather, black cherry Cola, and a whiff of sweet barrel char smoke. The Bourbon and old vintage Armagnac notes are in complete harmony on this dram. Soft and round on the palate, yet hitting all the right notes. A perfect accompaniment to a cigar or pipe.
Cigar Blend Bourbon Batch #40: Persian Poet
Dialing in on the artistry, brilliance, and iconoclastic nature of Persian poets such as Rumi, Hafez, and Forugh Farrodkazad (poet and avid pipe smoker), Cigar Blend batch #40 is a poetic amalgamation that accentuates aromas of Seville orange marmalade, saffron vanilla pudding, brown spices such as cardamom pod, cinnamon, and allspice, buttercream icing, salt water taffy, dates in syrup, rosewater, toasted coconut shavings, and butterscotch pudding. All of these intense aromatic notes continue to the palate, with the addition of sea-salted, roasted pistachios, spear mint, brown butter with cinnamon, and black Persian tea with a sugar cube. This dram is meant to inspire the creativity of poets, artists, and musicians world-wide!
Cigar Blend Bourbon Batches #42 – 47
Jos. Magnus Cigar Blend Batches #42 – 47 all hail from six particular Armagnac barrels that were transferred from the distillery in Washington, D.C., to Holland, MI in the fall of 2020. The journey of these 6 barrels from D.C. to Holland, MI, inspired Magnus Master Blender Nancy Fraley to dub this batch “The Rock & Roll Series” to commemorate the intense interaction between the spirit and oak, when the whiskey inside the Armagnac casks was churned and swirled during the journey on the truck, thereby penetrating deeply into the wood and pulling out more matured oak tannins, sweet caramelized wood sugars and richly aromatic and fruity Armagnac spirit notes than is typically found in the Cigar Blend Bourbon batches. This series of 6 batches, all from the same “coupe mere,” or mother blend, have loads of personality, individuality, raw energy and excitement, just like musical form!
Cigar Blend Bourbon Batch #42: Brown Sugar
Batch #42 is the sweetest and lowest proof batch in the Rock-n-Roll Cigar Blend Series, with soft alcohol, creamy coconut pie with lemon meringue, Spanish Turron and almond paste, light brown sugar glazed over baked sweet potatoes, butterscotch pudding, salted caramel-pecan milk shake, authentic cherry Coke, a hint of tobacco leaves, and fig compote. These aromas follow through to the palate, together with notes of crème brulee and orange marmalade. The finish is extremely long, with undulating waves of caramel, pecan, and French toast smothered in butter and maple syrup.
Cigar Blend Bourbon Batch #43: Boogie Woogie
Much like its lower proof sister Batch #42, the Bourbon in Batch #43, drove deeply into the oak of the Armagnac cask with a whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on during the autumn journey in the shipping truck. In this batch we find spicier notes of spearmint, black licorice, pipe tobacco, sweet molasses, and Bourbon pecan pie filling with dark chocolate chips. The palate is chocked full of flavors such as plum pudding, raspberry jam, dark and sticky walnut liqueur (Nocino), hot buttered croissant with blackberry jam, brown baking spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice, and soda fountain Root Beer float with vanilla bean ice cream. The finish is quite long, with crests of sweet and spice and plenty of soul!
Cigar Blend Bourbon Batch #44: Luke the Drifter
Much like the mysterious alter-ego of pre- Rock-n-Roll era artist Hank Williams Sr., Cigar Blend Batch #44 most definitely dwells on the dark side of life, aromatically that is. This batch flaunts notes of mint chocolate chip ice cream, old saddle leather, aromatic pipe tobacco, eggnog with shaved nutmeg, and prunes in syrup (“Pruneau d’Agen) that it gained on the long, over the road journey northwest in Armagnac barrel #13. The palate rambles on with ripe Medjool dates, Bourbon-soaked Alabama Lane cake with dried peaches, pecans, toasted coconut flakes, homemade Southern banana pudding with ‘Nilla Wafers, dark honey, and a whiff of barrel char smoke. As the second highest proof Cigar Blend Bourbon released to date, Batch #44 is sure to soothe the aromatic dark side of any Bourbon fan!
Cigar Blend Bourbon Batch #45: Shake, Rattle, & Roll
Cigar Blend Batch #45, like its brethren barrels, spent several weeks shaking and rattling in Armagnac cask #14 during the long, ranging journey. The results of the intense ingress and egress of spirit into the oak left deep imprints on the Bourbon of oatmeal cookie dough with black raisins, buttery toffee, hot fudge Sunday with Hershey’s chocolate syrup draped over vanilla bean ice cream, and Jamaican allspice. The palate has a good mix of sweetness, spice, and savory notes, with buttered croissant and Seville orange marmalade, honeyed hay, candied orange peel, and chipotle. With its sweet creaminess and brown baking spice notes, Batch #44 really rocks!
Cigar Blend Bourbon Batch #46: Psychedelic Summer
Batch #46, aka “Psychedelic Summer,” is a touch sweeter than its 127+ brothers and sisters, although it shares their love of spice and savory flavors too. This batch has a host of 1960’s technicolor aromas on the nose such as ochre dried apricot, burgundy cherry pie, magenta green mint, and cream-colored ginger snap cookie dough with powdered cinnamon. The palate reveals notes of deep purple blackberry jam, Rice Crispy treats with marshmallows and melted butter, crème de menthe, old fashioned Tutti Frutti ice cream with pineapple, raisins, cherries, black currants, and grilled nuts. Like all of the batches in this series, the finish is quite long, with a kaleidoscope of flavors lingering on the tongue for minutes. One of our grooviest releases to date.
Cigar Blend Bourbon Batch #47: Beatnik Breakfast
Cigar Blend Batch #47 is to date the “darkest of the dark” and also the highest proof batch to date. Prepare for an existential crisis and break out your best black beret and turtleneck sweater to fully experience this batch, as the nose takes in notes of Baker’s bittersweet dark chocolate, black licorice, high proof Russian Imperial Stout, cracked old saddle leather, aromatic pipe tobacco, and spicy Armagnac barrel tannins. The palate conjures up flavors of charred barrel smoke, Italian espresso roast coffee beans, Douglas fir tree, pot de crème, sweet barley malt, Werther’s Original caramel popcorn, Devil’s Food cake batter, pine forest campfire smoke, chocolate covered cherries, and Tiramisu dessert soaked in dark rum. Batch #47 aka “Beatnik Breakfast” will make you howl for more!