Cigar Lifestyle

The Cigar Advisor Playlist: Volume 2


Didn’t catch the first The Cigar Advisor Playlist Volume 1? No worries! It’s time for another spin of the 45! Each month, we pair four cigars with four songs for your smoking and audio pleasure. Accounting for our eclectic tastes in both, our aim is to help you add sound as the final link to your complete cigar sensory experience. Just like with food and drink, the pairings can be complementary, contrasting, or even simultaneously both. If you’ve ever wondered which songs play best with your cigar of choice, this is might be the guide to follow.

As for cigars and music, or combinations of any kind for that matter, our tastes, both sonically and in preference of music genre, are always subjective. If you have your own perfect combination in mind, submit it in the comments below and maybe we’ll feature you in a future volume of The Cigar Advisor Playlist!

With each volume, the Playlist grows, and we implore you to follow along. There are two ways to listen.

That being said…sit back, relax, and turn your speakers up. Listen, smoke, and enjoy.

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Jared’s Pick:

“Street Spirit (Fade Out)” – Radiohead

Album: The Bends
Release Year: 1995
Genre: Alternative Rock

Cigar Smoked While Listening:

Southern Draw Rose of Sharon

Size: Toro (6″ x 52)
Strength: Medium (listed Mellow)
Wrapper: Ecuador Connecticut Shade
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua

About The Cigar:

Southern Draw Rose of Sharon is undoubtedly a Connecticut cigar, but the wrapper choice is where the similarities end. With flavors that are much more pronounced than you’d find on a standard Connecticut stick, Rose of Sharon isn’t relegated merely as a breakfast or coffee smoke. Its flavor comes in pointed waves, and at times, it even straddles the line between medium bodied and bold, especially in its spicy retrohale. You can expect to indulge in buttery notes of nuts, graham cracker, caramel, and cedar. Robert Holt‘s blending expertise really shines in this masterpiece; but we should probably thank his wife Sharon even more, as she was his muse. If you thought you knew Connecticut, let this cigar help you redefine the genre.

Why They Pair Well:

Street Spirit builds on a foundation of haunting lyrics that are dark, existential, and hopeless. In this respect, it’s a complete departure from Rose of Sharon. After all, Robert Holt’s tagline for the cigar is, “She don’t know she’s beautiful.” Where the two come together is in the execution of the track itself. The valleys and peaks of Thom Yorke’s vocal performance is in step with the wavy complexity of Rose of Sharon, and the duality of an equally contrasting and harmonious pairing gives an added layer to both the song and the cigar. Their final similarity and why I think the song is such a great pairing is Thom’s personal take on it.

“It represents a tragic emotion that is so hurtful, that the sound of that melody is its only definition. Our fans are braver than I to let that song penetrate them, or maybe they don’t realize what they’re listening to.”

Emotionally charged music is inherently beautiful because it allows us to relate to the artist at times when we feel like no one else knows what we’re going through. It seems that, in step with Robert’s compliment to his wife, Thom doesn’t know that Street Spirit is beautiful, too.

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John’s Pick:

“The Core” – Eric Clapton

Album: Slowhand
Release Year: 1977
Genre: Classic Rock

Cigar Smoked While Listening:

La Gloria Cubana Serie R

Size: No. 7 (7″ x 58 Churchill)
Strength: Full
Wrapper: Ecuador Sumatra
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaraguan Ligero & Dominican Olor

About The Cigar:

When it debuted in 1999, La Gloria Cubana Serie R cigars broke new ground on two fronts: power, as it was one of the strongest cigars now on the market, and size – never mind the Inch, this was where Ernesto Perez-Carrillo made his big ring gauge bones. In the hands of the quiet master, the Sumatra wrapper (which Carrillo likes to use a lot) combines with Nicaraguan and Dominican tobaccos to put down a bold groove that has a backbone of spice and cedar, with some added notes of coffee bean and sweet earth for flair.

Twenty years later, the Serie R is now considered a modern-day La Gloria classic; it’s still plenty spicy and powerful, but by comparison to other full-bodied cigars, the R just feels more…refined. What’s helped is that it’s been a very consistent smoke along the way.

Why They Pair Well:

Most know this Clapton album for “Lay Down Sally” and “Cocaine,” along with the perennial (and eye-rollingly tedious) prom staple “Wonderful Tonight.” I’ll happily hit the skip button on all of these to get to “The Core,” a tune that Rolling Stone has proclaimed as one of the top 10 Eric Clapton songs of all time (as of 2013, anyway).

Funny thing is, “The Core” didn’t get a whole lot of love when the record came out in ’77…but this Clapton deep cut – like the La Gloria – has aged incredibly well. Yes, it’s a love song; but being more of a riff guy than a lyrics guy, I’m more tuned into the stirring, mid-tempo jam that comes together at the end (it’s a blend of ripping sax solo, keys, and silky guitar chops), where it shows that Clapton’s guitar can be happy being humble, as opposed to needing to hog the spotlight.

And that’s why I’m pairing the two masters – EPC and EC – together on my playlist: refinement, humility, and a beautifully blended experience. Five stars for both.

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Gary’s Pick:

“In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” – The Allman Brothers

Album: At Fillmore East
Release Year: 1971
Genre: Rock

Cigar Smoked While Listening:

Joya de Nicaragua Cuatro Cinco Reserva Especial

Size: Double Robusto (5″ x 56)
Strength: Full
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Jalapa Criollo
Binder: Dominican Volado
Filler: Nicaraguan, including ligero aged 5-years in oak rum barrels.

About the Cigar

Made in celebration of Joya de Nicaragua Cigars’ 45th anniversary, the Cuatro Cinco Reserva Especial selection has become a modern classic. (I was even fortunate to have my first “45” handed to me by its creator, Dr. Alejandro Martinez Cuenca, himself.) Box-pressed around a core of prime Nicaraguan long-fillers, plus 5-year barrel-aged ligero framed by a mid-priming Dominican binder, the oily Jalapa Criollo wrapper shimmers with nearly jet-black nobility. Oozing with flavors of cocoa, leather, oak, almonds, and sweet spices, the Reserva Especial Doble Robusto is that sinful candy bar you surrender to in spite of your diet. The chewy smoke is full-bodied, uber-creamy, and complex throughout. Add in its commanding sweetness, and like a great song, I look forward to enjoying it again and again, right down to its final savory note.

Why They Pair Well

In the At Fillmore East version of “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed,” this Allman Brothers instrumental begins nice and easy, almost jazzy, with Greg Allman’s B3 organ underscoring the rhythm track. Duane Allman and Dicky Betts’s guitars provide the melody, which rises and falls with added tension in parts, not unlike a great symphony. Covering 13 minutes and 10 seconds, “Elizabeth Reed” also has more than its fair share of guitar solos, dispatching some of the best rock guitar leads ever recorded. Like the song, my Joya Reserva Especial Doble Robusto, is deliciously complex and never loses its footing. Moreover, the flavors are structured in tight harmonies like Duane and Dicky’s dueling Les Pauls. Its 56 ring also provides a long, luxurious experience that, with every replay, reveals new discoveries.

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Tommy’s Pick:

“I’m in Love with My Car” – Queen

Album: A Night at the Opera
Release Year: 1975
Genre: Rock/Hard Rock

Cigar Smoked While Listening:

CAO Flathead

Size: V554 Camshaft (5 1/2″ x 54 Robusto)
Strength: Full
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Nicaragua & Dominican Republic
Filler: Connecticut Habano

About The Cigar:

Might just be my favorite stick from the CAO line up. It’s a spicy, tangy, full-bodied smoke that’s loaded with complex flavors of black cherry, dark roast coffee, a hint of cinnamon, and even a touch of floral notes. The inside features a menu of ramped up premium tobaccos, but it’s that ultra-dark, oily and shimmering Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper leaf that brings a luscious sweetness to the table. A fantastic cigar.

Why They Pair Well:

Well, this one’s a natural as the CAO Flathead line is based on Rick Rodriguez’s insatiable love for fast automobiles with big block engines. Drummer Roger Taylor wrote and sung the tune that was the B-side of the “Bohemian Rhapsody” single, which got it a lot of play. Taylor loved the song so much that he locked himself in a cupboard until Freddie Mercury agreed to make it the flip side of the epic Queen anthem. Roger had an Alfa Romeo that he raced about in, as well as a Ferrari 308 GTB. The full-flavored Camshaft has bold flavors that race across your palate, revving up your taste buds for wanting more. “Told my girl I’ll have to forget her, rather buy me a new carburetor…so she made tracks saying this is the end, now, cars don’t talk back they’re just four wheeled friends now.”

How did you feel about our choices? Let us know in the comments below and tune in for the next volume of the Cigar Advisor Playlist!