Show Your Green and Smoke These St. Patrick’s Day Cigars!
By Jonathan Detore
Ah, another holiday I use as an excuse to take a day off from my weekly pant-like-a-rhinoceros-on-a-treadmill-so-no-girl-will-ever-sleep-with-me gym session. After all, even the most hardcore gym rats claim a cheat day here and there to slam a Ben & Jerry’s Vermonster into their face in the name of “carbo-loading.” I’m on to you, meathead. You just want a day where you can pig out like half the guests on Jerry Springer who have a firm attachment to too-tight halter tops and apparently buy their mirrors at the Fun House Mirror Emporium.
But I do love St. Patrick’s Day just like everyone else who celebrates and claims their blood runs with even the slightest green hue for a day. I choose to celebrate my questionable Irish heritage (and birthday) with craft beer and good Old Catholic whiskey from Northern Ireland. It’s the only rule I follow because it’s good to have beliefs, even if they boarder on the absurd. But the one thing I always make sure I have plenty of during this magical day is cigars.
It’s a tradition of mine to venture to NYC for the parade and smoke up the streets like a subway vent. And what are St. Patrick’s Day cigars without a little green in the label? Here are my must-have stogies to celebrate our apparent shared Irish heritage on this most blessed of days, complete with suggested beer style pairings to complete your smoking experience.
Hitting the market just a few years ago, the CAO OSA sports a modern design for the modern smoker. It’s a far cry from anything CAO had tried previously, but it paid off with great dividends, even though the name is the equivalent of a spilled bag a Scrabble letters. But the real winner in this stogie is the Olancho San Agustin wrapper from a 2008 proprietary crop which gains a more than generous portion of the limelight due to its mild Connecticut shade binder. The result is an oily masterpiece Bob Ross would be envious of, with robust flavor from said ultra rare wrapper, pairing nicely with any brown ale.
Oliva Master Blends 3
If you’ve never tried this Oliva cigar, I highly recommend it. Maybe it’s the incredible flavor or maybe it’s the interesting oval box-pressed shape that offers a comfortable mouth feel. But I’m banking on it being a combo of both. All I know is this cigar has a shamrock shaking blend of aged tobaccos to create an ultra complex, extra rich, luxuriously smooth smoke that will have you doing some sick river dance moves with delight which we highly encourage you record and post in the comments below. For added appeal, break out a Marzen style beer. Or in other words, almost anything from Munich, because who the hell needs variety anyway?
Ripe for even the dumbest of financial puns and word play that’ll have your eyes rolling so hard you can see the back of your head, the H.Upmann Banker puts out some pretty unbelievable flavor despite its mild appearance. Topped off with an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper that’ll have you shaking if you aren’t careful, you’ll be experiencing nothing but pure traditional flavor. It’s what I deem a “sipping cigar.” In other words, it’s a stogie you really want to take your time with to enjoy all the complex minute nuances you’ll experience throughout. This medium bodied stick pairs extremely well with a Pale Ale like Sierra Nevada, which also sports a green label. Happy coincidence? Methinks so.
Rocky Patel Nicaraguan
These are some big bad muthas. No Rocky Patel Nicaraguan dwindles below 6 inches long, and none come smaller than a 52 ring gauge. That means you get more smoke time so you can save some green rather than light up two cigars in the same time frame. And talk about quality! Each is rolled with a longfiller blend of Nicaraguan goodness, the modern day Mecca of tobacco, all topped with a Habano wrapper for a full-bodied experience that is truly enticing. Grab yourself a creamier stout while smoking this to help balance out some of the spice and complement the creaminess of the smoke.
Macanudo Hyde Park
Macanudo Cigars, as I have screamed from the mountaintops before, are the best selling cigars the world has ever seen. Newbies start with them and old timers have all but started a church to sing their praises. This mellow cigar offers a creamy palate pleasing flavor from twice aged Dominican longfillers with an aroma that will draw all the snakes St. Patrick drove out back to the Emerald Isle. It’s a true classic cigar that should never be overlooked. I’ve always found a light lager like Yuengling goes extremely well with this legendary cigar.
San Lotano The Bull
I can’t even lie about this cigar if I wanted to. It’s a bit of a powerhouse. I mean, come on; it has a longhorn bull on the cedar band that comes with it. If that doesn’t spell out intensity for you, I really don’t know what will. Blended by A.J. Fernandez, a guru in this industry, this stogie is meant to put out extreme flavor that dips and drops, loops and swoops, to simply entrance your palate. It’s astounding how strongly it demands your attention with anticipation as to what will come next. But I feel it’s the only cigar on this list, and perhaps the only cigar ever, that truly pairs well with a milder IPA like Founders All Day IPA.
Now I realize the Alec Bradley Filthy Hooligan is perhaps the most obvious choice for St. Patrick’s Day, but do you want a list of “A-DUHHHH” cigars or do you want originality? But no matter if you pick a stogie from my list, the obvious Filthy Hooligan, or any of your favorites, nothing screams St. Patrick’s Day quite like a cigar and your favorite beer. It’s a pairing that goes together better than toasted Irish Soda Bread with a big heap of butter all melted on top. High cholesterol be damned. The important part is that you simply enjoy your time celebrating.