Ron Abuelo Centuria (80 proof, $140): This Panamanian solera rum contains rums as old as 30 years. Very smooth on first impression, it opens to licorice, honey, oranges and butter rum. The Abuelo added body and sweetness to the H. Upmann. The Oliva gave the rum depth, while the cigar grew in nuttiness.
Appleton 21 Years (86 proof, $120): Appleton grows 10 kinds of cane on 1,100 acres at its Jamaican estate. A signature orange note leads to licorice and cinnamon as well as banana, pear and honey. The insistent flavors overrun the Upmann a bit. With the Oliva, coffee and leather notes pop on the cigar, while the rum gains subtlety.
Overall, the Highclere Castle cigar was simply exquisite. The balanced complexity of this cigar is a testament to the blending skills of Nick Melillo. It had some especially unique flavor notes including the orange blossom honey that played through the burn. This one that has to smoked to the nub to truly appreciate the complexity as that is where it seems to fire up all taste sensors. There is so much going on in the final third it was like smoking the first 4 inches in just two inches. The burn was pristine from foot to nub. This is for sure a 2017 top 25 candidate in my book. Oh yea, if I was to pair this, it would be an aged Highland Single Malt with a doubt! 041b061a72