Bourbon Barrel-Aged Ten Fidy.
Without a question, it was one of the most anticipated beer releases of 2016. Oskar Blues Brewery of Longmont, Colo. took its popular Ten Fidy stout and aged it in a variety of bourbon barrels for 8-12 months. When the beer was released in 2015, it was almost exclusively sold at Oskar Blues’ own locations. Last year, the 12.9 percent ABV stout headed to shelves around the country, albeit, in limited fashion.
As is often the case after a barrel-aged beer release, that meant Oskar Blues had some bourbon barrels that it no longer could use and so Cigar Dojo, a cigar social app and blog, contacted the brewery to see if it could acquire some. It did, getting spent barrels that were originally used by Heaven Hill Distilleries, which makes a plethora of whiskey–notably Evan Williams–but also high-end labels like Elijah Craig and Parker’s Heritage, along with the venerable Old Fitzgerald.
Once acquired, the barrels were shipped to the Camacho factory in Honduras, where workers then placed the company’s signature tobacco, Honduran original corojo, inside. That tobacco was aged for a minimum of six months.
It ultimately ended up in a cigar called Imperial Stout Barrel-Aged, which uses a Mexican San Andrés wrapper, Honduran original corojo binder and fillers including the barrel-aged Honduran corojo and Brazilian and Dominican tobaccos.
Imperial Stout Barrel-Aged is a single 6 x 50 size that was sold exclusively through Smoke Inn. Only 400 bundles were produced, each containing 10 cigars and priced at $9.95.
- Cigar Reviewed: Camacho Imperial Stout Barrel-Aged
- Country of Origin: Honduras
- Factory: Diadema Cigars de Honduras S.A.
- Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
- Binder: Honduran Corojo
- Filler: Brazil, Dominican Republic & Honduras
- Length: 6 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 50
- Vitola: Toro
- MSRP: $9.95 (Bundles of 10, $99.50)
- Release Date: June 30, 2017
- Number of Cigars Released: 400 Bundles of 10 Cigars (4,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
After preemptively removing the useless foot band–more on that below–I’m greeted with a decent-looking cigar. I’m not sure where along the lines this took place, but two of the three samples aren’t particularly straight. Aroma off the wrapper has some flavors that remind me of a barrel-aged chocolate stout, leather and not much else. It’s substantially more prevalent on the foot, which smells like a glass of stout that’s been left out for a few days. What’s surprising is that both the wrapper and foot are barely medium in intensity, despite being stored in cellophane. The cold draw is quite different. While the stout notes are still there, they fade pretty quickly before a white pepper takes over, first starting on the bottom of the tongue and then expanding outwards. In somewhat of an odd fashion, by the fifth or sixth cold draw, the white pepper is no longer there.
Upon lighting, the Camacho Imperial Stout Barrel-Aged puts off plenty of beer notes. It’s a mixture of grains, chocolate and some woody flavors, but then it’s gone. After three or so seconds, those first flavors are overtaken by a more generic oak and some cedar. There’s some white pepper and paprika on the sides and bottom of my tongue which last well into the finish. Flavor is medium, which is a bit odd given the profile itself. After an inch, it’s developed into an oak-dominant base with black pepper and orange sweetness. Further behind that is some grains and creaminess, but I don’t really get any barrel notes. Flavor picks up slightly to medium-plus, while body and strength are medium-full.
It’s a pretty sharp turn in the second third for the Camacho with red woods, cola syrup and white pepper becoming the dominant note up until the halfway mark. After that point, earthiness and minerals pick up and take over leaving a muddied profile that at times just tastes like a woody and earthy mixture. The finish is perhaps the best part with a sharp red pepper over some pistachio. While construction was great for the first third and smoke production remains copious in the second third, I touch-up the cigar because the burn is showing signs of giving out. Strength remains medium-plus and isn’t really showing any signs of going anywhere.
In many ways, the final third is much the same as the second. Upfront is a woodsy mixture with cedar over some creaminess and grains. It’s certainly not how the second third ended exactly, but I’m not sure if I was reviewing the cigar I would have noticed the change. The flavors are a bit flat and a bit too close together for my liking. What’s notably different is that the flavors are stronger, now coming in at full on my scale, and there’s some sharp green pepper, blood orange, hay, and cinnamon through the nose, the first time the retrohale has come alive in a notable fashion. The finish has creaminess and oak along with a familiar sharp white pepper. Strength actually dips a bit to medium-full, while the body remains full to the end.
- halfwheel’s sister site, Tenemu, reviewed the rare 2015 release of Oskar Blues Barrel-Aged Ten Fidy. It received an Editor’s Choice distinction and a 91-point rating.
- Oskar Blues released all sorts of variants of Ten Fidy, including a coffee version that has gone by a variety of different names. Tenemu called it BourBean Java Ten Fidy and while it was only sold at Oskar Blues’ Tasty Weasel, there were no purchase limits. A few individuals were known to leave with stacks of crowlers, a 32-ounce can priced at $25.
- Speaking of cans, Oskar Blues has a weird can size. There known as stovepipe cans, tall 19.2-ounce cans.
- Also somewhat of an oddity is that there wasn’t just one type of barrel used for Barrel-Aged Ten Fidy. The brewery said it primarily used barrels from Buffalo Trace, Heaven Hill and Makers Mark, but acknowledged that it sourced barrels from smaller distilleries.
- I really was expecting more flavor, but the cigar was medium-plus pretty much until the final third. I’m not sure if aging will help with the flavors getting stronger, but I do think it will allow some of the flavors to breathe a bit more, which should solve the larger issue of the cigar not offering a particularly complex profile.
- Cigar Dojo has collaborated with a variety of brands over the years. I think the best release of the bunch is the Whiskey Rebellion from RoMa Craft Tobac, and by a pretty wide margin.
- I’ve used a lot of words and space to describe what I think are oftentimes ridiculous wastes of paper in the form of foot bands, and this certainly qualifies. Why you need a footband on a cigar that comes in craft paper is beyond me.
- That being said, I like the uniqueness of the main band.
- Both Davidoff of Geneva USA and Smoke Inn advertise on halfwheel.
- Final smoking time is an extremely lengthy three hours.
- Smoke Inn was the only place to get the Camacho Imperial Stout Barrel-Aged, but it appears they are sold out.
The Camacho Imperial Stout Barrel-Aged is a decent cigar, but it’s more a boring cigar than a good cigar. Even halfway through the cigar, I’d had more than enough. The overly woody flavor profile dominates the complexities and the cigar is lacking the vibrance to go along with the complexities. I love the concept, particularly as we see more manufacturers, notably Oettinger Davidoff AG, play around with different barrels, but it didn’t translate. For better or worse, if I didn’t know this was a barrel-aged cigar and didn’t smell the foot—something I imagine the majority of consumers don’t do—I never would have been able to tell this was in fact barrel-aged.