Welcome back to another installment of my beer and cigar reviews, where I bring you reviews of some great (and some not-so-great) beers and cigars. Today we’ve got a fairly big line-up for you so let’s just dive right into it.
For our beer reviews today, I’m featuring two variations of Lakewood Temptress (the review of the original Temptress can be found here), an Imperial Cream Stout brewed by Lakewood Brewing Company in Garland, TX (just north/east of Dallas).
Brandy Barrel Temptress
Brandy Barrel Temptress is literally that, it’s Temptress beer aged in Brandy barrels. It weighs in at 11% ABV, so heavier than regular Temptress and has a very unique character all its own.
Pours jet black with a tan head as the original. Very tart aroma on the nose from the brandy aging, supported by a blanket of vanilla, some woody tones, roasted malt and of course, alcohol astringency. The brandy hits hard on the palate, supported by the beautiful complex flavors of the original temptress (which take a back seat – the brandy really is the star of the show). Very warming down the throat, with a thick mouthfeel and moderate carbonation. Definitely a sipping beer; you can’t take big gulps of it.
I have to admit I was really impressed with this variation on the temptress with its mix of bold, complex flavors. You do have to love brandy to like this though – the influence is definitely there. Overall a pleasing beer and one I would drink again. Rating: 4.5/5.
Again, as the name suggests, this is Temptress brewed with raspberries. This one comes in at the same ABV as the original at 9.1% and the raspberries again totally give this beer new character.
Same pour as noted with the previous two versions of temptress. Raspberries hit the nose immediately up front, but not enough to totally mask the beauty beneath. The raspberries immediately greet the palate, but not totally dominating and merely adding a dimension to the beautiful flavors of the original Temptress. Tart finish, little alcohol burn. Again, a thick mouthfeel with moderate carbonation but this one is easier to gulp than the previous.
I’m usually not much of one for fruit beers but this one wasn’t bad. Do I prefer regular Temptress over this? Oh yes, but I wouldn’t turn this away either. In fact, I’d absolutely love to have a scoop of vanilla ice cream in this and make a beer float with it. It would also be great as a breakfast/brunch beer with a stack of pancakes. Rating: 4/5.
And now for the cigar picks for this week:
Padron 1926 #1 Natural
(Sorry, no photo of this one)
I absolutely loved this cigar in maduro (review here) so when I found it in Natural at a nearby shop I just had to try it. Some Padrons I like better in one wrapper or another so I always like to try both to see which I like better. Unfortunately, this one was a total disappointment and I don’t have much to say about this one.
First light revealed the typical open Padron draw producing plentiful smoke, but that’s about where the similarities with the maduro end. Flavors were mild/medium consisting of a boring straight tobacco, maybe a touch of cream and a very plain retrohale. This remained consistent until the 2nd third when a very faint and fleeting touch of the characteristic Padron cocoa and coffee joined the mix. The final third drops everything and returns to nothing but plain tobacco so I put it down there, not even finishing it.
If I can say anything positive about it it is that, like most Padrons, it does have fantastic construction (with the exception of their stupid-ass single caps) with even burn. At least I can say something good about it right?
Man, I hate to be so negative about a super premium cigar but there just wasn’t much good to say about it. If it was a cheap stick I could understand but this is anything but. This is priced at the same high price point as the maduro. I don’t even know how they put their name on this cigar when they’ve got so many better cigars (including their regular x000 series!!!). Just bleh. Rating: 1.5/5.
Rocky Patel Royale
This is the cigar that Rocky Patel regards as his masterpiece, and coming in at #5 on Cigar Aficionado’s Top 25 of 2016 it’s definitely no slouch. This 6.5″ x 54RG box-pressed Toro sized stick features an Ecuadorian Sumatran wrapper, Connecticut broadleaf and shade-grown Connecticut wrappers and Nicaraguan and Honduran long filler.
The first light reveals a slightly loose draw which puts off a ton of thick, creamy-textured smoke. Wonderful medium/full bodied flavors of light earth, milk chocolate and a hint of caramel greet the palate on the draw followed by a balanced pepper and spice on the retrohale. Getting into the first third the draw flavors remain largely the same while the spiciness of the retrohale morphs more toward a black licorice. This holds consistent until the final third where the draw flavors transition more to a creamy coffee and nuts type taste and the licorice really ramps up, coming more into the draw. This cigar ended at 1 hour and 30 minutes before the smoke got too warm for me, so a great burn time out of this thing as well. Only a mild/medium nicotine strength, which is fine by me; I’m not one for much nicotine personally.
Construction was impeccable with a near razor-sharp burn all the way down not needing any touchups or corrections. Ash holds on solidly for a third of a cigar at a time. As with most Rocky Patel cigars, you don’t have to pay it any attention; run inside for a few minutes, come back outside and a couple of puffs you’re going again.
This might very well be my favorite RP cigar so far. Rich, complex flavors, long burn time and very reasonably priced! I can see why Rocky Patel regards it as his masterpiece (though Nish disagrees – he prefers the Sun-Grown Maduro which is a close 2nd for my favorite RP). Concerning pairings, pair this cigar with a nice coffee, German Dopplebock or Scotch Ale and/or a nice Jamaican Rum. Rating: 4.75/5.