Master Blender Nancy Fraley is very happy to be “back in the saddle again” and writing tasting notes for Jos. A. Magnus Cigar Blend Bourbon after experiencing some health challenges the past year. She connected with the bourbon community on Instagram and YouTube for inspiration regarding this latest batch, and below is a collection of outstanding responses. The “With a Little Help from My Friends” series is a blend of 9-year-old 36% MGP rye bourbon, 16-year-old Kentucky rye bourbon, and 20-year-old MGP 36% rye bourbon.

For enhanced enjoyment of each batch, Nancy recommends opening the bottle and taking a small pour off the neck in order to allow the bottle to aerate for an hour or more to fully appreciate the intensity and complexity of the dram.

    119 PROOF
    Batch #183, aka “Back in the Saddle Again,” is a bit tight on the initial neck pour, but after a few minutes of aeration it opens up into a beautiful, summery bouquet of blueberry cobbler with French vanilla ice cream, ripe blackberries, apple-flavored pipe tobacco, dried rose potpourri, and Mission figs stuffed with creamy blue cheese. The palate offers further dark berry notes of blackberry crumb cake, salted caramel pudding, chocolate eclairs, and Mexican hot chocolate with cinnamon and chipotle pepper filling. A complex, delicious dram to be savored during the waning days of summer.
    118.62 PROOF
    Batch #184 takes its inspiration from one of our Master Blender’s Instagram friends who was pleased to receive information from Nancy on the current specs of Cigar Blend “straight from the horse’s mouth.” This batch is an amalgamation of varying aromas, ranging from peaches with muddled mint, ripe mango, Boston crème donuts, canned fruit cocktail, and raisin cream pie. The palate promises all of this and more, with a very minty Mint Julep cocktail, almond-covered Bear Claws, home-made honey buns dripping with sugary vanilla syrup, apple pie baking spices sauteed in brown butter, and Hershey’s milk chocolate syrup. Master Blender Nancy Fraley loves the intense fruitiness and creaminess of this batch, and you heard it straight from the horse’s mouth!
    120.06 PROOF
    Batch #185 is named after a very cool fellow and Instagram influencer known as “Barrel Proof Nerd.” This batch offers up a plethora of notes such as a summery English trifle pudding with ripe blueberries and raspberries, crème brûlée with fresh Madagascar vanilla beans drizzled with caramel sauce, thick black currant liqueur (aka ‘Cassis’), and blackberry preserves. The palate offers those same fruity notes, together with the sweeter, caramel-influenced aromas of butterscotch pudding and sticky toffee pudding. Further strong scents of Kirschwasser cherry brandy distilled from bittersweet morello cherries, moist almond-y marzipan cake, and Turkish delights with fragrant rose water fill the nasal cavity and palate. Lingering aromatic memories of Indian chai tea, freshly cracked black peppercorn, and honey spice cake predominate. This is a dram that’s fit for the nerdiest of bourbon-lover nerds!
    120.4 PROOF
    Batch #186 is a special tribute to one of Master Blender Nancy Fraley’s all-time favorite guitarists, Gary Rossington from Lynyrd Skynyrd, who passed away on March 5, 2023. This batch is just as soulful and laid back as Mr. Rossington’s tasteful guitar playing, with heady notes of Pruneau d’Agen coming from the Armagnac cask, pineapple upside down cake with dark brown sugar frosting, sticky toffee pudding, and rich, almondy Spanish Turrone candy. The palate offers much of the same notes as the nose, with additional flavors of caramel salt water taffy, Southern banana pudding with ‘Nilla Wafers and lemon meringue topping, citrusy Florida key lime pie with condensed milk, and buttery cinnamon rolls with orange icing. Although the flavors are complex, this dram is meant to simply be savored and is a fitting tribute for the brilliant, bluesy guitarist whose epitaph appropriately reads the “The Simple Man.”
    119.48 PROOF
    Cigar Blend Batch #187, “Bourbon Turn Table,” is a tribute to the YouTube whiskey channel of the same name and to the passion for vinyl records and whiskey which the hosts Kevin and Drew share with Master Blender Nancy Fraley. This rockin’ batch features intense notes of honey spice cake, salted caramel pudding and cinnamon-coated challah French toast drizzled with maple syrup. This batch offers more brown baking spices than most of the other batches from the same “coupe mere” (mother blend), with a fair amount of cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, black pepper, and dried chipotle coming from the Armagnac cask that was used for finishing it. In addition to the spices, the palate also features flavors of granola bars with raisins and dark chocolate chips, aromatic pipe tobacco, fig chutney with ginger and carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. For those who like their Cigar Blend on their spicier side, this batch turns the tables!

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Owner/President at The Bourbon Flight, LLC | + posts