Tonight’s Tasting — Don Pepin Garcia Tobacos Baez, Monarcas and Bruegel Amber Ale

I actually had to fire up the heater for tonight’s tasting. We’re into November, and tonight was the first time it got a little nippy out on the Lido Deck. God I love Southern California.

Don Pepin Garcia Tobacos Baez, Monarcas (6.5″ x 52)

This is a recent release by Garcia, and is named for a certain night he spent smoking with Joan Baez; the same night that had inspired her to name her album Diamonds and Rust in the Bullring. Okay, I made all that up, but let’s see if it starts an urban legend.

Baez is a small town in Cuba and the birthplace of Pepin. Tobacos Baez is crafted from an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper with a Nicaraguan binder and filler and is made in Nicaragua.

The cigar is well constructed, but the draw is a little loose for my preference. The burn was even, but I did have to relight once. The smoke was more brown than grey, and my initial impression of the taste was not favorable. It wasn’t harsh by any measure, it was just nondescript.

But this is truly a cigar that builds complexity as you smoke. In short order, this medium-bodied cigar took on a spicy taste with a hint of coffee and nuts. Once past the initial blandness, this turned into a throughly enjoyable smoke. If you hand one of these to a friend at a poker game, be sure to tell them to stick with it, lest you later find six of the six and a half inches sitting in the ashtray. A solid 8.6 on the Morris Scale.

Bruegel Amber Ale

I came across a Belgian beer sampler which included this amber ale.

Nice looking dark golden color with a minimal head. Nose was minimal as well, with only a hint of malt. Great medium, creamy mouthfeel, with a taste of sweet malt. Too many good Belgians around to make a habit of this one, but I wouldn’t turn one down.

I enjoyed this beer, but not enough to go out of my way to have another.

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