Padron 1964 #4 Maduro & Uinta Cockeyed Cooper Pairing
This week I decided to mix things up a little bit, I wanted to up the ante with both my cigar and my beer. As we enter Autumn, and eventually Winter, I really like a smoke and drink that offer some of the warmer elements: spice, pepper, smooth, thick. The Padron 1964 #4 Maduro paired with a Uinta Cockeyed Cooper fit the bill perfectly.
I decided to break out two of my prized possessions: a Padron 1964 #4 Maduro, 6×60 box press, and Unita’s Cockeyed Cooper, a hearty barleywine from their Crooked series. Both the cigar and the beer belong to a special line from the creator. The Padron 1964 was a celebration cigar created first in 1994 to celebrate 30 years for Padron. Each stick is individually numbered to prevent counterfeiting (that’s how great this little guy is), mine is 052162. The Crooked series celebrates the creativity small breweries are able to enjoy by veering slightly from tradition techniques and ingredients, they call it “brewing outside the lines”.
The Padron is constructed of a Nicaraguan binder and filler with a Maduro wrapper. Cockeyed Cooper is an evenly hopped and malted American Barleywine that is aged in bourbon barrels.
I was so excited to smoke the Padron 1964 #4 Maduro, as it is truly a gorgeous cigar. Beautiful dark, chocolate brown with smells of tobacco, chocolate, coffee, and wood. Upon inspection, there are barely visible veins, and they’re not palpable, with a light oil on the wrapper. The tobacco is dense but not overpacked, with excellent cap construction.
During the initial light I get incredible spice flavors right out of the gate. Bold, in-your-face flavors, actually like a swift roundhouse to your mouth. There is nothing understated or withdrawn about these flavors. The light itself was easy, smooth and enjoyable, with plumes of white/grey smoke pouring out. The initial spice flavors linger for a few minutes after each draw.
After my initial lighting, I let the stick sit for a few minutes to work itself in. This gave me ample time to pour my barleywine. It’s very important to only pour your beer when you’re ready to enjoy it. You need to experience the pour, the head and aroma, and colors. Also, make sure you’re using an appropriate glass (small tulip or snifter), and make sure it’s clean.
The pour of this beauty gave me a gorgeous cascade. Little molecules of creamy amber goodness dancing all over one another. The head was a milky toffee color and was jam-packed with nosefulls of vanilla and cream scents. With my first sip, I am not even reminded that this packs a punch with 11.1%ABV. Instead I’m cradled with soft notes of vanilla, creamy texture, medium body and a sweet malty aftertaste. You can pick up the hops, but they are not so bold as to ruin the cigar.
As the cigar begins to mature through the first third, you begin to understand why this is regarded as one of the top cigars in the world. It is slightly spicy, slightly earthy, with a beautiful coffee finish. The draw is flawless and there is nothing but absolutely amazing flavors in every puff of smoke. The only thing I am noticing that I don’t care for is the wrapper sticking to my lip, but I am fully ready to take that on as a poor cut.
The second third becomes a little more bold in the flavors, but it builds very nicely. The draw remains consistent, with a slightly loose, but enjoyable pull. The ash is a wonderful white and black crumbly crust that holds on almost infinitely. Smooth flavors, not a bit harsh. Spice, hints of pepper, more chocolate aftertaste. I was really enjoying this stick, it was truly a luxury. The rustic flavors with each draw brilliantly compliment the warm notes with each sip of the barleywine, and the warmth of the cigar does a nice job of warming my palate to prepare me for the changing beer. As the barlewine begins to warm, it sparkles with the hops that were once covered under all that malt and creaminess. It’s not unwelcome, but it’s definitely noticeable. This is actually when I typically prefer my bolder beers, since the true flavors tend to emerge. When pairing it with a generally spicy stogie, however, it makes the spice and pepper flavors more pronounced.
Unlike other reviews I have read regarding this stick, I was not experiencing a lot of resting smoke. This cigar sat and waited for me after every draw. What I found myself doing was taking 2-3 moderately sized draws, and then taking a nice sip from my beer. This allowed the spice of the cigar to fuse with the cream of the barleywine and make for a truly remarkable pairing.
The finish of this great cigar can only be described as a meatier version of the aforementioned flavors. I began to experience the flavors that were present in the very beginning again. The strong spice, bold pepper, less chocolate. I felt like that strength of the cigar also picked up. By this time I have finished my brew and chose to enjoy the cigar as a sort of desert, with its new flavors becoming pronounced.
I’m sure you can tell by now, but I was really blown away by this cigar. Then, coupled with this absolutely amazing brew, my night was heavenly. The only downside to this combo is price. The Padron 1964 #4 Maduro sells (if you can find it) for around $18-20, and the brew is at about $12. The thing to keep in mind is matching like flavors or flavor profiles. If you keep darker beer with darker cigars, the flavors will not conflict as much as they will when you mix styles and flavor profiles. This, of course, is a guideline, not a rule. In this case, the earthy tones mixed unbelievably well with the toffee, creaminess and bourbon flavors of the barleywine. If you have a chance, I would highly recommend you try one or both of this pair, you won’t be sorry.