REVIEW: GURKHA HARTFIELD & CO. BOURBON INFUSED CIGARS FROM DISTILLED LIVING
By Tim Knittel
Yesterday – October 29, 2016 – Hartfield & Co. hosted a “pre-opening” party for their in-house bar, dubbed Prichard & Bail. The event included the launch of the Gurkha Hartfield & Co. Bourbon Infused Cigars.
I had to start with a cocktail from their currently short but very well-put together list:
After enjoying that, I moved on to the cigars:
Now, I don’t know anything about cigars, so I asked Juan Lopez, National Sales Director for Gurkha, to explain this one to me:
Then I needed help getting the thing lit. (Which the Gurhka team was very considerate to help me do.)
Now, as Juan explained, the tobacco is thrice infused with the Hartfield & Co. bourbon – which is a pretty potently flavored libation. Juan even mentioned after the video that the infusing is done in a separate room on separate equipment from the other cigars so as not to contaminate them with the bourbon flavor.
But I got nothin’. A whole bunch of puffs and a half inch into the cigar, all I could taste was tobacco. Good tasting tobacco, to be sure.
So I asked for help again. Juan suggested I try it with the bourbon.
A bourbon neat in hand, I stepped outside to focus on my task. Still no complexity of flavor from the cigar for me.
Now I know bourbon flavors. I teach other people to detect the nuanced flavors in bourbon (that’s my specialty) and to learn to discern grain notes from fermentation flavors from barrel character. But I could not for the life of me find the bourbon in this cigar.
So I asked for help a third time. Fortunately, there were two gentlemen nearby also enjoying the night air and the special cigars. And I asked: do you taste the bourbon in these?
A quick yes – from both. Another quick inquiry confirmed they were also both much more cigar connoisseurs than I.
“It’s subtle, but it’s definitely there,” one explained.
I eventually gave up, letting the cigar burn itself out, and then I returned it to its plastic case to try again another day.
Bottom line for my review? Well … I’ll defer to the more experienced gentlemen: apparently, this is a very good cigar. Especially for the price ($15 regularly, $10 special for the evening). It’s smooth and easy smoking (I figured out that part, too) with nice caramel, vanilla and malt notes from the bourbon.
I’ll keep trying and I’ll report back.
P.S. – If anyone has any tips for me on learning to taste the flavors in cigars, please leave them in the comments!
ADDENDUM: I learned from Andrew that the cigars are available for purchase in the distillery gift shop and in limited quantities at Martin’s Cigar shop and Schwabb’s in Lexington.