Earlier this year, Tom Lazuka of Asylum Cigars told us about an incredibly interesting project. He would be partner with New Holland Brewing Co. of Holland, Mich. to create a cigar that would be aged in the barrels used to produce the brewery’s Dragon’s Milk.
New Holland Dragon’s Milk is a milk stout aged in bourbon barrels. It comes in at 10-11 percent ABV and is available throughout the year. In the earlier parts of the year, Lazuka informed us that the Asylum Dragon’s Milk cigar would be one of the company’s featured releases at the IPCPR Convention & Trade Show in July, but as it turns out, the barrels didn’t even make it to Nicaragua until last month.
The Asylum Dragon’s Milk cigars were rolled like any other cigar, it’s what happens after the cigars are rolled that is unique. Both Lazuka and his partner in Asylum, Christian Eiroa, told me that the next process—placing the cigars in the barrels—required a learning curve. Eiroa wasn’t sure if the cigars would age for 24 hours, 48 hours or a point in between, but he was quite clear—the barrels were very pungent. In the end the 7 x 52 parejos would age for 48 hours before being banded and shipped to the U.S.
A total of 10 barrels were sent to Nicaragua for the first batch, enough to produce 25,000 total cigars. The Asylum Dragon’s Milk is a regular production release with Lazuka telling me he plans on making a similar-sized batch every quarter unless demand says otherwise. The cigars are packaged in 25-count boxes that resemble milk cartons and are priced at $17 per cigar or $425 per box
- Cigar Reviewed: Asylum Dragon’s Milk
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: n/a
- Wrapper: Nicaragua
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Size: 7 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: Churchill Extra
- MSRP: $17 (Boxes of 25, $425)
- Release Date: Oct. 14, 2014
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3
It’s a fairly big cigar, flanked by bands on both the top and bottom. Once it’s out of the cellophane there’s only one thing you notice. It smells much like I would expect a glass of milk stout after about day of sitting out with artificial cream, the charred barrels, a fair bit of cocoa and surprisingly, a bit of fruit. The pungent aroma much more noticeable from the foot than the wrapper, but it’s present on both. There’s big grainy beer notes on the cold draw, although they are somewhat overshadowed by the charred oak notes. On the tongue, there’s a touch of cocoa, along with a bit of pepper.
Much to my surprise, on all three samples there is almost no signs of beer on the first few puffs of the lit Asylum Dragon’s Milk. Instead, it’s very woodsy with cherry woods being the most prominent. The beer eventually shows itself on the finish of the nose—a flavor that reminds me of what were to happen if the beer went down the wrong hole and alarmed my nose. While that sounds awful, it doesn’t taste as bad and there’s no pain from beer being in your nose; however, it’s not as crisp as I would like it to be. The Dragon’s Milk is more than detectable on the aroma and finish, but the beer is oddly absent when the smoke is still on the palate. Instead, it’s woody, a raw earth and a touch of cranberry. Wait two seconds, and suddenly a deconstructed version of the milk stout’s flavors are present on various parts of the palate. Construction-wise, I have no complaints, a solid inch of even ash, easy draw and copious amounts of smoke.
Nuttiness and meaty flavors add themselves into the mix for the second third. They are both welcome additions, as the core of the flavor in the first third was not terribly complex. As for the beer, it begins to fade midway through, although it’s still present with three inches to go. Outside of those two additions and the fading beer flavor, little has changed. The Asylum Dragon’s Milk is still burning incredibly well, strength is still medium-full or full and the flavor and body are both quite full.
A black pepper becomes stronger at around the two-inch mark of each sample, it’s the first time there’s a new commanding flavor. The sweeter notes from the Dragon’s Milk are completely gone, although I can still find remnants of the charred notes on the finish. With a little more than an inch and a half to go, the burn suddenly becomes an issue and eventually I give up on trying to keep it lit.
- While everyone’s first inclination might be to try to pair the cigar with the beer, I’m not sure why you would do that. It just seems like it would be Dragon’s Milk overkill.
- That being said, the cigar is full enough that it can probably stand up to most.
- The price is high, very high. As pointed out by one of our readers, you can expect that one of the reasons has to do with the fact that there are a lot of people involved with the product.
- I really like the packaging, both the box and bands are very well done.
- As far as milk stouts go, I enjoy Dragon’s Milk. Other favorites include Lakewood Temptress.
- Lazuka told me he expects the cigars to begin arriving in retailers on Monday.
- One of the three cigars I smoked was full in strength, the other two were medium-full.
- I would not recommend storing this in your normal humidor, particularly with the cellophane off.
- This is not the first beer infused cigar, Ted’s has made a variety of products with Samuel Adams including cigars infused with Brewlywed Ale and Utopia.
- Final smoking time was two hours on average.
- Cigars for this review were provided by Asylum Cigars.
There are some infused cigars I enjoy. There’s a time and a place for them, but in this particular case, I would have preferred the beer and cigar separate. Both halves of the cigar are enjoyable, but the second leaves a fair bit to be desired and makes me wonder if this would be better served in a much smaller format. No one is paying $17 to have a beer-infused cigar not really taste like beer. Despite some disappointment here, I love the idea itself and hope we see more collaborations between the alcohol and tobacco both worlds on both sides of the fence.