So this was interesting. This rum dropped off my favorites list some time back, but I found a bottle at 20% discount so I thought I would try it again and see why. I also chose, more or less randomly from my collection, this Blanco 9 lancero to smoke. I reviewed the cigar some time ago. Let me quickly describe the rum and then I’ll get to the pairing.
Santa Teresa 1796 is a Venezuelan rum and was the third rum I began to drink after my local retailer ran out of Mocambo 20 and Pampero Anniversario R.E. Upon first trying it, I loved it and drank it almost exclusively for most of a year until I began to try and buy a greater variety of rums. Soon it became too expensive at my retailer. I had a few bottles so I still returned to it frequently, but as my experience with other rums grew I found I favored it less and less. This really became apparent to me when my retailer restocked Mocambo and Pampero and I found those to be every bit as interesting as they were before I ever tried Santa Teresa.
A medium yellow amber in the glass with medium legs and light on the nose. There is little alcohol, some bright apricot and perhaps banana along with a darker prune background and a little brown sugar and caramel. Tasting the rum first it is smooth, only moderately sweet (sugar tests show at most 7g/liter which isn’t much). It is a little creamy, and one gets a sense of mixed bright and dark fruit along with brown sugar, caramel, and warm baking spices. But the whole profile is flat, sort of combined together into one flavor with no layering. The rum is very smooth with a nice creaminess and no young alcohol or varnish notes, just a little warming going down. The finish is short though not at all bitter with quickly vanishing fruit-flavored caramel notes. The rum certainly isn’t bad, just not as complex, rich, and layered as I’ve come to enjoy in many other rums I’m drinking these days.
But you just never know what a drink’s flavor profile will do to a particular cigar until you try them together. Now as you can see from my review of the Blanco 9 sometime back, I thought the cigar was good but not great. So it took me by great surprise when, having smoked a half inch or so of the cigar I took a nice swallow of the rum and then turned immediately to the cigar. Wow! Brown sugar sweetness, the aroma of balsa wood (very sweet smelling wood when fresh), and something like cinnamon popped out of the cigar. I got a similar effect each time I sipped the rum at least through the first half of the cigar. After that the effect faded, but perhaps my own palate was becoming a little desensitized. Hard to say with these subjective experiences, but throughout I noticed that when I took a good pull on the cigar and then tried the rum, the rum seemed even flatter that I first thought.
In any case, another example of a pretty good pairing, at least how the rum enhances flavors in the cigar even when neither the drink nor the cigar are top-of-the-line items.