Dave Brown and I got together this weekend to kick off the new cigar project. He had finally received our order of Ecuadorian Connecticut shade tobacco and we had to get it into the barrel short order. Neither one of us wants to wait a day much less the six months we plan on aging the tobacco for these cigars. We started off by draining the liquid in the barrel (water that I had put in to extract any remaining bourbon) and then cut the lid off. The aroma was intense, sweet, and mildly intoxicating. After thoroughly cleaning the inside we prepared the leaves for aging with a quick mist of water. Then we started stacking, leaf by leaf into the barrel.
We did however reserve a few leaves which Dave so skillfully, and quickly I must add, rolled into cigars for sampling. Like any other project or culinary idea, you must taste the beginning to be able to judge the end result. And I must admit that we were at the same time sampling some Woodford Reserve in order to get our palates adjusted. This green tobacco was smooth with a light sweetness in it. Amazingly enough it already has hints of cocoa, coffee (in a cappuccino kind of way), cinnamon, and allspice undertones. I can not wait to see what it picks up from aging in the Woodford Reserve barrel. According the Master Distiller Chris Morris from Woodford Reserve several flavors he looks for from the barrel are of course oak but also marshmallow, mint, leather, and vanilla. All these flavors I can truly see enhancing this tobacco to a point of richness with out being over powering. I guess we will just have to wait, impatiently of course, for the next 30 days to pass for the first round of tastings to begin again.