Cigars and alcohol. Two luxury products that go hand in hand, and sometimes even meet on business level. Aging tobacco in whisky, rum, or cognac barrels is a practice several brands do to achieve extra flavour to the wrapper for certain lines. The famous bourbon brand Maker’s Mark has their own cigar, sold in tubes with the signature wax coating. Drew Estate works with Pappy van Winkle and used to make Kahlua cigars. Mombacho used to have the Diplomatico series. General Cigars works with Sazerac, which resulted in Fireball cigars, Weller by Cohiba and collaborations with Buffalo Trace. And there is the Diesel Whisky Row, a collaboration with Rabbit Hole Distilleries. Fratello Cigars also sells craft beer. Most famous are probably the Cuban collaboration between Martell Cognac and Cohiba. Dominique London, the European retailer with more than 20 shops in the UK, Belgium, Switzerland and the Canary Islands takes it one step further. They bought a distillery in Wales and produce whisky, gin, rum, vodka and liquors.
Gouden Carolus Blaasveld Broek
Gouden Carolus is a famous Belgian craft brewery, known for their specialty beers. But from the mash of the Gouden Carolus Triple, a whisky is made every year. It started about a decade ago and the whisky is in high demand since with several different offspring. One of these is the Blaasveld Broek. This whisky and the name is an ode to the nature reserve Broek in Blaasveld, where the distillery De Molenberg is located. The nature reserve provided locals with peat to heat their houses in ancient history and that peat is now used to smoke some of the mash to make this whisky. The result is a slightly peated spirit of 46% ABV, aged on first fill Bourbon casks and then on casks made to the specifications of Gouden Carolus.
As always, I try the whisky in a Glencairn glass first. I can smell barley, peat and lime. The peat is subtle, which is a good thing for me as I’m not a fan of peated whisky. Something I found out during my exploration of spirits and cocktails for cigarinspector. The spirit is light coloured and oily. This is a younger whisky, and it shows. The peat is not too strong, the whisky has a warming feeling with honey sweetness and a fruity, apple flavour. I would pair this with a medium bodied cigar, maybe a Rocky Patel Vintage 2001 Cameroon or a Artista Midnight.
In a rocks glass, the nose is sweeter and a little smokier. In this glass, the whisky has a bit more character, a little more bite. Normally I prefer the Glencairn, but for this whisky I suggest using a rocks glass. The spirit itself tastes a little less sweet. That’s why a creamy cigar with a little sweetness would pair very well with this whisky.
Usually an Old Fashioned gives only orange on the nose, but in this case it’s orange and smoke. The sugar makes this cocktail extra sweet, without overpowering the smokiness. The apple flavour is still there as well, as well as the warming feeling of the whisky. This is a milder cocktail though, not strong and not with a lot of character. This will go well with many cigars, such as a Cuban Sancho Panza, Diplomatico or Juan Lopez, or with just about any medium bodied New World cigar.
And now for the Old-Fashioned recipe:
1 sugar cube
3 dashes of bitters
2 oz or 60 ml of Gouden Carolus Blaasveld Broek
Put the sugar cube in a highball glass, add the dashes of bitters and a splash of water. Muddle the sugar cube. Add ice and the whisky. Stir for 10 seconds, then add an orange peel.
The drink is truly in a category of its own with its unusual combination of ingredients. Scotch whisky and grapefruit juice aren’t often found together in a cocktail, especially in a fizz. Bitters are never unwelcome in cocktails, but as a rule, Collins drinks don’t call for them. However you choose to categorize this drink, its uncommon mix of elements adds up to one creatively tasty cocktail according to the renowned website liquor.com
The nose is dominated by the grapefruit oil as the foam does not have a smell at all. The drink itself is perfectly balanced, the bitterness of the grapefruit, the tart from the lemon, the smokiness of the Gouden Carolus Blaasveld Broek all bound together by the sweetness of the simple syrup and the texture created by the egg white. This is a nice, refreshing cocktail but not very outspoken. And thus it will go well with many cigars such as the Joya Red Robusto, La Galera Habano, or almost any Cuban.
And now for the Grapefruit Collins recipe:
2 ounces or 60ml of Gouden Carolus Blaasveld Broek
1½ ounce or 45ml of Grapefruit Juice, freshly squeezed
½ ounce or 15ml of Lemon Juice, freshly squeezed
½ ounce or 15ml of simple syrup
3 dashes of Peychaud bitters
1 egg white
Club soda, chilled
garnish: Grapefruit twist
Add all ingredients minus the soda water and the grapefruit twist in a shaker and vigorously dry-shake. Add ice and shake again until well-chilled. Strain into a Collins glass over fresh ice and top with soda water until the foam rises above the rim of the glass. Express the oils from the grapefruit twist over the top of the drink and then discard.