January 17, 2014

Pairing Bolivar Royal Corona + Grand Marnier Cuvée du Centenaire

If you want to feel “Royal”, or want to impress the elite, I’d say pick up this pair.  Pairing cigars and Grand Marnier should be classic in our books.

The idea behind this pair was to hone in on royalty and try to get the longest history pair that our group has done to date. I did some research on old Cuban brands, that are still available and accessible today, with some vintage liqueurs and came up with the Bolivar Royal Corona and the Grand Marnier 100 year anniversary.

About Bolivar

Bolivar was established in 1901 by José F. Rocha,  possibly in Great Britain, though the brand was not registered in Havana until 1921, under the ownership of Rocha’s firm, J.F. Rocha y Cia. The line was created to honour Simon Bolivar (1783-­1830), a celebrated Venezuelan warrior who liberated all or part of what is today Venezuela, Columbia, Peru and Bolivia.

The Bolívar brand once produced the world’s smallest cigar, the Delgado, measuring a mere 1⅞ inches with a 20 ring gauge, and even had the honour of having a miniature box of its cigars featured in the royal nursery’s dollhouse at Windsor Castle. That cigar is pre-nubbed, so bring a pin!

The line went on a hiatus from 1964 to 1976 because of the Cuban Revolution but after that Havana released a version with a gold foil in 1985 to bring the line back with a vengeance – too bad they were ridiculed for its horrible taste.

This handmade cuban cigar is awesome, smooth, and has a rich taste.  Woody with moments of sweetness. Known to be built with lots of ligero so this thing burns slowly and evenly.

I’ve had many of these cigars and have never been disappointed. The only thing all of us noticed was that it got a little dry with hints of bitterness towards the end.  This may have been influenced a bit by the drink though.

About Grand Marnier Cuvée du Centenaire

Grand Marnier Cuvée du Centenaire (Centennial Edition) was created in 1927 by Louis­ Alexandre Marnier-­Lapostolle to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the company’s foundation. Grand Marnier wasn’t just a well thought out drink – the whole process including how it was distilled, what orange rinds to actually use right down to the shape of the instruments used were all a completely new way to create liqueurs.

Louis-Alexandre Marnier-­Lapostolle had something to do with that.  He was an inventor and fought long and hard to create a drink for the rich and elite. Grand Marnier was first served at a reception held at the Villa des Cèdres, in the former home of King Leopold II.  It was served on the Titanic and César Ritz (founder of The Ritz Hotel and close friend to Louis ­Alexandre) was influential in renaming the drink from “Marnier Lapostolle” to “Grand Marnier” to properly explain it’s quality and greatness! Now, if that’s not a drink for the elite, I don’t know what is.

What was really interesting to hear about was that this drink was a higher percentage of cognac than most liqueurs I’ve had or heard about – an incredible 82%! I expected the drink to be much sweeter than it was, so the nice punch of cognac was a treat. I was also a bit nervous about the rich taste of orange like other cheaper liqueurs I have had, but it was anything but that.  I’m not a huge fan of orange flavoured stuff but this was again was an orange liqueur like no other. So please, don’t use that as a factor to not try it!

Cuvée du Centenaire is matured in large oak casks  which gives it that harmonious structure and finesse.  It is rich amber in colour, pouring smoothly out of the long neck of this copper toned bottle. The aroma was like Thanksgiving and Christmas all wrapped up in one. The sweet smell of oranges and gingerbread with hints of spice fills the room. The taste or dried fruit, ginger and nutmeg followed by a long finish of rich orange left in your mouth.

About the pair

The pair of this cigar and drink didn’t have a lot of notes from the group. Basically the room was quieter than normal and we all just kept saying the pair worked nicely together over and over. This isn’t a pair for you and your pals to have while sitting on the back porch in the afternoon, not a pair for a group of people or at a party to be unappreciated. This is a pair to have after dinner, after a great meal and with a comfortable bed near by.

We tried the liqueur both at room temperature and warmed.  We recommend this pair with the drink warmed.

Trust me when I say this…you won’t be disappointed with this pair.

And if you do grab this cigar or liqueur please tell us how you like it…and do try it with other combinations to create a new experience we’d all love to hear about.

Pairing Cigars and Grand Marnier

Drink pairing for Bolivar Royal Corona CigarPouring Grand Marnier liqueuer

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