Cigar Extra: Padron 1926 Maduro #35 & J.W. Kelly Bourbon

  • Padron_JWKVitola: No 35
  • 4” x 48 ring gauge 
  • ~$11.70
  • Purchased from Cigar and Pipes

Background

Hopefully you noticed a few weeks ago when we added Cigar and Pipes as a new sponsor on Leaf Enthusiast. I used part of that sponsorship to purchase some cigars from one of my favorite blends of all time, Padron’s 1926 Serie Maduros. Specifically, I opted to get some No. 35s, a size I had never seen before. I’m always on the lookout for amazing small cigars and this seemed like it would fall into that category with its 4” by 48 ring gauge size.

Another “old and new” item I’ve been exposed to lately is a new whiskey from a very old name. J.W. Kelly moved from New York to Chattanooga in 1862 with the intention of producing some amazing whiskey. From 1865 to 1915, he did so until Prohibition shut him down. A group of gentlemen, some of which I am acquainted with, have now taken the name and the mission to create a “World-Class spirit with a Chattanooga Soul.”

The first offering is Old Milford Straight Bourbon Whiskey, a sourced whiskey made with hand-select barrels that are 5, 6 and 8 years old, blend it and bottle it at 94 proof. The mash bill is 75% corn, 20% malted rye and 5% barley. It runs about $35 to $40 a bottle in the Chattanooga area, and has availability—albeit limited—nationwide.

Notes

The Padron 1926 Serie is one of the finest expressions of Nicaraguan tobaccos ever produced, in my opinion. The Maduro version is a study in contrasts: sweet and spicy, smooth and strong, refined and rustic. Taken in a small ring gauge vitola, especially, this is a potent blend…a #48 Maduro made me a little light-headed a week or so ago. This diminutive #35, though, seems to be just the right size. It fits in my schedule almost anytime and while the price is steep for a cigar this size, it’s the least expensive 1926 offering I’ve ever seen.

The J.W. Kelly Old Milford Bourbon is one of the darkest whiskies I’ve ever had the pleasure of laying my eyes on. It’s a deep reddish amber color and has a nose that is massive on the vanilla and oak aromas. The extra time spent in barrels gives the dram its extra color; the fact that it’s 47% alcohol by volume explains the punch. When I held a sip in the front of my mouth, it was smooth and sweet, with touches of corn, toasted caramel, and vanilla. When I let it go and wash across my palate, I got spicy almost-cinnamon-like heat and oak notes.

This full-bodied cigar and full-bodied whiskey went well together. The J.W. Kelly quelled some of the spice of the Padron, before adding some of its own on the back end. The sweetness of each was individual enough that they didn’t quash the other. An excellent pairing and a great way to end a very productive day.

David Jones

David has been smoking premium cigars since 2001. He is co-founder and editor-in-chief of Leaf Enthusiast. He is a full-time retail tobacconist, working for Burns Tobacconist in Chattanooga, where he has also organized the Chattanooga Tweet-Up for the last four years. He is also an independent graphic designer and typesetter. Twitter: @dmjones1009

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