June 24, 2018

Diesel Whiskey Row Robusto (5 1/2 x 52)

Video review HERE.

Diesel presents Whiskey Row, a collection blended by AJ Fernandez and developed in partnership with Rabbit Hole Bourbon, a maverick new distillery making its mark on the bourbon category. Whiskey Row features binder leaves aged in bourbon barrels, in a proprietary process developed by AJ to enhance the profile of the cigar.

Diesel Senior Brand Manager Justin Andrews said, “The partnership between Diesel and Rabbit Hole speaks of going against the grain in traditional industries. Rabbit Hole doesn’t claim to use 12 year old juice or have a 6th generation master distiller, much like Diesel doesn’t claim to be an old Cuban brand or have tobaccos that have been aged for 20 years. Both Rabbit Hole and Diesel are young, energetic brands with a unique go-to-market strategy. We knew the first time both companies sat down, there was a tremendous amount of synergy.”

Kaveh Zamanian, founder and whiskey maker of Rabbit Hole Bourbon said, “Together, cigars and great whiskey have created uncountable moments of quiet joy. Aging fine tobacco in bourbon barrels which were used to age Rabbit Hole Bourbon modernizes that great tradition. We’re excited that our partnership with Diesel gives us a hand in adding depth to what is already a profoundly enjoyable experience.”

The synergy between both brands was brought to life in 2016 when Rabbit Hole Bourbon barrels arrived at Tabalacera AJ Fernandez in Esteli, Nicaragua. AJ placed the Mexican San Andres binder in the bourbon barrels in a special configuration. The tobacco was left to rest inside the barrels, and the amount of air inside was controlled at regular intervals to ensure the bourbon flavors were imparted evenly.

AJ Fernandez says, “A lot of passion went into this process and I am very pleased with the results. Aging the binder leaf in the bourbon barrels added an unexpected layer of flavor and aroma right beneath the wrapper. When you smoke Whiskey Row, you get a unique and complex experience that engages the senses unlike any other cigar I’ve smoked.”

Diesel Whiskey Row features a three-region blend of Nicaraguan tobaccos from Ometepe, Condega and Jalapa, each aged 5 to 8 years, and enveloped in the bourbon-barrel-aged Mexican binder. The entire blend is wrapped in Ecuadoran Habano which is aged for five years.

Robusto 5.5 x 52 – SRP per cigar is $7.49 REVIEWED TODAY
Toro 6 x 54 – SRP per cigar is $7.99
Churchill 7 x 49 – SRP per cigar is $8.49
Gigante 6 x 60 – SRP per cigar is $8.99

Beginning in July, Diesel Whiskey Row events featuring pairings with Rabbit Hole Bourbon will be held at select cigar shops across the U.S. For more information, visit www.dieselcigar.com.

The cigar has an average feel in the hand. Here is a shot of the foot.

The test draw after cutting the cap was firm. I worked around the cap to loosen the draw and it seemed to help. The initial flavors at light up, which took several minutes to develop, were sweet cedar, brown sugar, roasted pecan,  black coffee, and a mild black pepper rated at a 6 1/2. 

The first third (26 minutes) had an almost perfect burn line. The flavors really started to come out around the 1 inch point. They are now a very sweet, tangy cedar, quite a bit of brown sugar and cinnamon, subtle roasted pecan notes, and a black coffee base. The cigar is medium bodied at this point. The finish is quite short and one of cedar and a small amount of lingering black pepper. With the developing sweeter flavors I am rating the first third at a 91.

I reached the midpoint at 47 minutes. It was at this point I noticed dark chocolate notes at the end of the sweeter flavors. I also noticed nutmeg notes. 

At the 2/3 point (57 minutes) the cigar is developing more and more. There are more sweet, tangy cedar and brown sugar notes with nice cinnamon. There are nutmeg and unsweetened dark chocolate notes along with black coffee. The roasted pecans have a slight buttery flavor to them. The front end flavors are more intense and improving. The finish is still cedar and now there are some nutmeg and some roasted pecans. The pepper is much better on the finish at this point. The cigar is medium to full bodied. The Whiskey Row robusto has really improved since the beginning. The second third point is rated at a 92.

The cigar lasted 1 hour 19 minutes. In the final third the cedar lost most of it's tangy notes. The cinnamon is still there but the brown sugar is struggling due to the elevated dark chocolate notes. The nutmeg and black coffee also are somewhat elevated. The roasted pecans with the slight buttery flavor are still in play. The cigar is now full bodied. The finish is pretty much unchanged. The cigar took a little downturn with the elevated dark chocolate, nutmeg, and black coffee and decrease of the sweet, tangy cedar notes. For this reason I am scoring the final third at a 90. 

The ash was tight. It dropped only once before the final third.

To try the Diesel Whiskey Row go HERE.

Overall Score: 91

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