After trying the Ezra Zion Tantrum I was eager to do another stick by them. This larger, box pressed, cigar seemed the right evolution. This drink somewhat fell into my hands. It was one that I was already considering because of its perfectly matching flavour profile and when a friend delivered this as a gift the deal was done!
Ezra Zion Eminence
The Ezra Zion Eminence is the company’s first time using non-Nicaraguan tobacco. It features an aged San Andres (Mexican) maduro wrapper, a Cuban seed Nicaraguan binder and with Nicaraguan fillers aged from 5 to 7 years! Ezra Zion describes the flavours as “a dark-leathery brown sugar and molasses, hints of cream and a subtle pepper finish.” I smoked the 52 x 6.25 box pressed Exquisito vitola.
This is a great smelling cigar. Pre-light you it smells like dried black tea and some sweet leather. Definitely tea. The dry draw is still tea but now with fresh ground pepper. After lighting it I still taste this sweet black tea in it! The cigar has an easy draw and tons of smoke. The Mexican wrapper flavours are obvious. What happens when mixed with the drink is just magical. Keep reading!
Mount Gay XO
I really loved aged rums and knowing the consistent quality of Mount Gay I was really excited to pair their XO. This drink is a blend of spirits aged between 8 and 15 years, mainly double pot distillates. It’s described by Mount Gay as the “perfect balance of ripe banana and toast, followed by vanilla, pastry and warm spice.”
On the nose I definitely brown sugar but hard to get other notes they’ve mentioned with the exception of banana which makes its way in. Other reviewers recoded noticing the smell of molasses though perhaps I don’t know what that smells like since both components were supposed to have that smell.
The rum is very smooth to drink but a bit more bitter than I expected compared to Zacapa 23 and Flor de Cana 18. It has a hard to describe but distinct characteristic of Mount Gay rums. It’s a bit thin, yet oily, refreshing and crisp.
It is recommended to server this over one large ice cube. I defiantly drank it neat.
About the pair
From the start, on the nose, pre-light, the two components go together great. They smell very similar and I know that once I begin those notes will play off each other well.
Taking a draw after this drink and my palate feel surprisingly refreshed. Like breathing the cold winter air. I think it’s the combination of black pepper notes in the cigar and the feeling the XO leaves you in the throat.
While aerating the drink in my mouth it suddenly has like a green pepper taste in it. I even begin to notice this same flavour evolving in the cigar. The flavours work harmoniously.
Note: I should mention that one other pairing group member tried this pair and didn’t enjoy it. We’ve considered kicking him out of the group or flogging him but haven’t come to a decision yet.
I thought there was no way this pair could be so perfect. Maybe this cigar is just really versatile and will work with other drinks as well. I headed to my cabinet and tried it with scotches and other rums and they just really didn’t work well. What a great experience! Definitely one to try!