When I was at the My Father factory in Esteli, Nicaragua back in February, I was able to sit down with Pete Johnson of Tatuaje for a few minutes to discuss what he has coming out this hear. He zeroed right in on his new vintage cigar, which is made in the manner of wine – from the same field every year, yielding whatever the earth and climate decide to yield. A few months later, Davidoff’s Henke Kelner came out with a new cigar for wine and spirits importer Eric Hanson, specifically to be paired with fine wines.
Doubtless, there’s always been a connection between the two. Whether it’s a 40-year-old Taylor port or a good, heavy Cakebread cabernet, there are plenty of ways to pair a wine with a cigar … not to mention with an occasion. I’ve always enjoyed sitting on my stoop with a glass of cab and a stick in hand, kicking back and watching the neighborhood go by. Nonetheless, the relationship has deepened this year.
In the case of Tatuaje, cigar manufacturing is aping that of wine. All the tobacco will come from the same fields every year. Rather than try to make this year’s cigar taste like its predecessor – long the goal of manufacturers – Johnson is putting provenance over consistency. Just as a fine wine has good years and bad, this Tatuaje line will put itself at the mercy of nature.
Though Kelner’s Second Growth isn’t the result of Johnson’s approach, it again shows the growing commitment of cigar manufacturers to the wine relationship. He created a cigar for a wine importer that is intended to be smoked with one hand while you hold a glass of wine in the other.
Is this the beginning of a trend? Well, trends are always difficult to spot early on, but this is definitely worth watching. Next year, perhaps, we’ll see a spike in wine-and-cigar pairing events.