Barrel-aging cigars involves a long, tedious process of rotating tobacco in and out of casks that once held a fine pour such as rum, cognac, sherry, bourbon whiskey, or even Scotch whisky. It's important to note the ardous work involved, because you can imagine the effect if the tobacco was left untouched for six months at a time - not only would the leaves be imbalanced according to their position inside the barrel, but the fermentation process from the heat would create its own disparity.
We've included a sampler at the bottom for anyone that wants to try each of these barrel-aged cigars and possibly find a new favorite!
Most of the cigars on this list feature only a small portion of the tobacco aged in rum, bourbon, sherry, or scotch casks. The Barrel Aged by Karl Malone and La Aurora ages the entirety of the three-country filler and binder tobaccos for a total of 12 months in barrels – six months in E. Leon Jimenez 110th Anniversary rum casks, six years using conventional methods, and another six months finishing in rum casks. While I haven't had the opportunity to sample the Barrel Aged by Karl Malone yet, this cigar definitely caught my attention and was the impetus for this write up.
Barrel Influence: E. Leon Jimenez 110th Anniversary Rum Casks
Tobacco Influenced: Ecuadorian Binder, Peruvian/Dominican/Nicaraguan Filler
General Cigar's Cohiba also gave special consideration to their barrel-aged blend, with each leaf of tobacco being aged from four to six years, including a year-long tour inside rum casks for the wrapper, binder, and filler tobaccos. That’s right, every component of this cigar was aged for a year in rum casks to accentuate the barrel-aged experience. Fans of the limited edition Cohiba Comador will appreciate the similar use of rum casks in the Macassar.
Barrel Influence: Rum Casks
Tobacco Influenced: Connecticut Havano Wrapper, Broadleaf Binder, Dominican/Nicaraguan Filler
As far as barrel-aged cigars go, Whiskey Row is among only two in this list that detail the heritage of the casks. The Brazilian binder was aged in casks that once were home to Pedro Ximènez’s Sherry, the same casks that Rabbit Hole would normally go on to finish their Straight Bourbon Whiskey in before bottling. And this barrel-aged binder wasn’t the only tobacco to be given preferential treatment, with each leaf in the blend being aged between five to eight years before production.
Cask Influence: Pedro Ximènez’s Sherry Casks
Tobacco Influenced: Brazilian Binder
Camacho’s American Barrel-Aged has been out longer than any other cigar on this list and had stood the test of time. Their famed Corojo underwent five months of aging in bourbon barrels to create what’s often considered the standard for barrel-aged cigars. Interestingly enough, they amplify the barrel-aged filler with a Broadleaf wrapper and binder, playing on the sweet and oaky notes of the Bourbon influence with Broadleaf’s natural earthiness, sweet, and spicy character.
Barrel Influence: Bourbon Casks
Tobacco Influenced: Honduran Corojo Filler
Davidoff takes things to another level, aging some of their filler from Condega, Nicaragua in American white oak barrels that once held single malt, Speyside Scotch whisky. The Speyside influence is noticeable, but not overly so; it’s apparent only upon consideration, and an excellent addition to Davidoff portfolio. Couple this barrel-aged tobacco with additional Nicaraguan and Dominican fillers, a dark Mexican San Andres binder, and an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper to perfect a complex cigar that aptly named after Churchill himself.
Barrel Influence: Scotch Casks
Tobacco Influenced: Nicaraguan Filler