This pair was stirred up with the intent to really train our palates learning to pick out specific flavours in common with the cigar and the drink. Wanting to do something special I chose the Ramon Allones Peitit Unicos which is a regional release to Canada. The drink was chosen as something unique that we hadn’t paired yet, being a straight brandy, and because of the flavour profile that it had in common with the cigar. Specifically, the flavours we looked for were walnut and pecan, as well as apricot in the drink. We had this pair with samples of walnut, pecans and dried apricot.
About Torres 20 Hors d’Age Brandy
The Torres brand begun in 1870 in Vilafranca, Spain. It’s history is marked with events such as visits from His Majesty King Alfonso XIII in 1905. Shortly thereafter the co-founder Jaime Torres Vendrell passed away and, with no heirs to pass the company to, split his business among brothers and nephews, with the exception of his wine company, which was left to his brother, Miguel. After passing through a few generations, Torres began distilling brandy in 1928. The company ran into some trouble when it was partially bombed during the Spanish civil war in 1939. They now own vineyards in Chile and California and have won several awards in different categories. Finally in 1997 the Torres 20 was awarded “Best Brandy in the world” by the International Wine & Spirit Competition.
Double distillation in copper pot stills, followed by the careful selection of the finest and most aromatic fractions, and ageing in Limousin oak barrels, are some of its secrets. It’s described as “Brilliant medium amber in the glass. Deep, rich aromas of pecan pie, caramel, fig, dried apricot, walnut oil and woodsmoke.”
Ramon Allones Exclusivo Canada
The brand was created by brothers Ramón and Antonio Allones in 1845 and, like a few other manufacturers, they claim to have been the first cigar brand to utilize colorful lithographs for box art, the first to utilize bands on cigars, and the first to package cigars in the “8-9-8” style. Manufacturing was moved to the Partagas factory where it remains today. They thrived through the Cuban Revolution being controlled by Habanos SA until they were purchased by Altadis who discontinued many of its vitolas in order to streamline production.
The Ramon Allones Petit Unicos Edicion Regionales, 5×50, 2009, were produced as the result of a consumer survey in Canada. This size and the Ramon Allones brand were voted the most desired cigar to make for a regional edition this year.
The sticks are described as having a unique aroma similar to walnuts and pecans, full bodied with Ramon Allones scent on the foot, rich and full of cedar and earthy tones.
Some reviews have complained about inconsistencies in construction.
About the pair
With the goal of training our pallets to specific flavours, we started off by sampling some walnuts, pecans and dried apricots before lighting or tasting the drink. Next we poured, sniffed and tasted the brandy to see if we could pick out the intended flavours. There was clearly apricot and pecan in this drink along with the smell of walnut but not much of the taste of walnut. We then lit the cigar and at first noticed spice, particularly around the lips, and then the richness of the earthy Cuban flavours. Some members found the draw to be a bit too tight while others didn’t. Towards the second third the notes of pecan became much more present for myself. We didn’t find this an overly-complex cigar having consistent flavours throughout, plenty of smoke and an excellent even burn.
We used the “chewing” technique when tasting the brandy, fully enveloping our mouths with the drink before swallowing. This controlled the burn you’d typically get after swallowing this drink but introduced more intensity around the end of the tongue. It was a great method for examining the flavors.
We found this to be overall a great pair that was relaxing, elegant, bold and enjoyable. We encourage you to try it and let us know how it goes!