Padron Anniversary 1964 - Monarca Maduro
Beer: Stone Brewery 'Ruination IPA'
With a fresh paycheck cashed; I decided to roll top-shelf for an overdue cigar sit-down. With top-shelf on my mind, I grabbed a 24 oz. Stone Ruination IPA on my walk to the cigar shop. At $5.99 for a 24oz, it isn't cheap, but it is good. Stone has two other IPA selections, but the Ruination is a little higher in alcohol content and hop factor, at 7.7% and 100 + IBU.
Proudly rocking my Ruination IPA, I entered my shop and strolled to the Padron Anniversary box. You can't go wrong with a Padron Anniv., so I reached for one with some length so I could really sit back and enjoy my beer and stogie. With that in mind, I chose the 1964 Monarca Maduro. At 6 1/2" with a 46 ring gauge, I knew I was in for a good hour and a half of full flavored quality.
The 1964 Monarca is a Nicaraguan Puro. Padron ages all the tobacco for at least four years, resulting in some nicely fermented, sweet tobacco. The filler bunch is hand-picked for quality; the binder leaf, a Nicaraguan Habano - just like the wrapper. The wrapper leaf is gorgeous and smells of sweet tobacco and cocoa notes.
The Ruination IPA is an extremely hoppy beer. The beer is a golden-orangish amber with a short head on it. The head leaves some lacing trails on the glass, even though its no wheat beer, the Ruination is slightly opaque. The beer has a lot of floral and fruit notes without being flowery like a Hoegarden.
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As I mentioned, the wrapper leaf is flawless and a tad rustic in appearance. Basically, it is a picture of wrapper perfection. It has a seamless look, but natural leaf texture. Some cigar wrappers look seamless, but they often have a very unnatural look The Padron 64 Monarca's wrapper leaf is a true beauty. I can imagine a master blender handpicking each of these wrapper leaves. Only the finest for the Anniversary series.
Smoke and Drink:
The cigar is amazing. I won't go into too much detail as I've reviewed some other vitolas in the 64' series, but the taste and flavor profile is complex and full. A natural sweetness floats from the resting cigar and each puff is a blast of excellence.
The hoppiness of the beer plays well with the strength of the cigar and each serves to make the other better. Truly complimentary of one another. The beer starts off a little too bitter, but much like a cigar, your palette adjusts and the you can appreciate the nuances and flavors.
The Monarca burns nicely and never needs attention. Surprisingly, there was a time or two the burn wasn't perfect, but my lighter never left my pocket. The ash held on tightly and I needed to roll the ash against the ashtray to force it off. The ash burned to a speckled gray, with a little browning on the surface.
This was the first time I had drank the Ruination and it won't be the last. I've had Stone's other IPA selection and really enjoyed it, but this brew takes the cake. I love IPAs, and the Ruination is one of those IPA brews that steps it up a notch in alcohol and hops. This seems to be a trend in IPAs these days and all I can say is 'push it to the extreme'. Lets see how much alcohol and bitterness you can pack into an IPA before its not a good beer.
But I give the Ruination a 46/50 rating. The appearance is appetizing, the aroma succulent, the taste and flavor profile fulfilling and complex. Hells yeah.
I won't waste your time.
At $13.25, its not so expensive that it takes you broke, but its not an everyday smoke. Unfortunately I'm not on that level. I have to stay around the $8 mark for my daily smokes. But Padron's 1000 series are always there for a more affordable experience with quality. Cigars International offers a cigar that is meant to offer the flavor the Padron Anniversary series without the price. That brand is Nica Libre