One of the things I love to do occasionally with my cigars is to infuse them with alcohol – Rum, Single Malt Whisky, Cognac etc. Mind you, this is different from having a flavoured cigar, which is most likely to be flavoured using artificial products. Au contraire, this is a process of letting the cigars do what they do naturally – absorb the quality of the environment they are stored in.
So how do you go about it?
I only use cheap cigars for these experiments. The usual suspects here include Cheap Bastard Coronas, Quorum Torpedos or Coronas, and the like.First, you need some wonderful alcohol. I usually do this with peaty single malts such as Laphroaig, Talisker or Smokehead. My past experiments have also included Remy Martin (Cognac) or Ron Zacapa and Flor de Caña (Rum).
I wouldn’t want to do this with premium cigars, going by the belief that a truly premium cigar is a work of art, hand rolled by a master who knew what blend to use for the kind of flavour profile he or she was going for (Yes, he or she – you will be surprised at how many torcedoras work in the industry). Besides, if I ruin a cheap cigar, it doesn’t hurt that much.
Next, you need about 30ml of the alcohol you are using – Laphoraig Quarter Cask in my case.
Don’t over do the alcohol, 30 ml should be good enough for a batch of upto 10 cigars. Remember, this is infusion, not immersion.
Now add 60 ml of water, place the shot glass and cigars into a Tupperware container, and seal it off. Handle this very carefully, lest you spill the alcohol and water solution onto the cigars, and keep the container away from sunlight or a source of heat. Ideally, keep them there for a good 4 to 6 months, although I have seen acceptable results even at around 2 months.My objective from such infusions is to impart a certain flavour or character to an otherwise ordinary cigar, and in such cases, less is more. I don’t want to taste just peat or rum, I do want to taste the original blend too, no matter how ordinary.
By the way, do not ever try this in your humidor, unless if you want your humidor to forever impart these flavours to the cigars you store in them. The cedar in the humidor will absorb a peaty single malt or cognac and retain it for an exceedingly long time. Plastic jars on the other hand, are disposable. You can always repurpose them, or at worst, recycle them.Like with everything about cigars, you need to have patience here too. It will take its time, but the end result will be worth it.
Similar to alcohol infusion, can also do this with coffee beans or vanilla pods, although that isn’t something I personally would endorse.
Leave your cigars in the tupperware jar with a Boveda Humidifier, some partially crushed coffee beans or vanilla pods, and keep it sealed for 4 to 6 months. And there you have it – home made, alcohol infused cigars!
July Update: I took out the cigars after about 4 months. The shot glass had almost completely evaporated, and the cigars seems like they had just been dipped in a bucket of water.
The smell, however, was divine. Laphroaig with it’s smoky smell really adds to the tobacco. They aren’t ready to be smoked yet, so I will wait a couple of weeks more before I take on of them out and light them up. I have kept them in a separate container still, and I will make sure they are wrapped in cellophane before I put them back into my main humidor. Not because I think they will change the flavour characteristics of other cigars, but because I don’t want my humidor to retain the aroma of an infused cigar.
Repost from April 2, 2014