|Asylum Dragon’s Milk|
The Asylum Dragon’s Milk is a collaboration between Asylum Cigars and New Holland Brewery. The name Dragon’s Milk refers to a beer made by New Holland Brewery in which the beer is aged in bourbon barrels. The Asylum Dragon’s Milk is a limited production cigar that is aged in those same barrels in which the beer had been aging. The end result is a cigar that absorbs flavors from those same bourbon barrels. While barrel aging is not something new to tobacco, the connection between cigar to beer to bourbon makes this a unique cigar. Recently I have had an opportunity to smoke the Asylum Dragon’s Milk. While this is a cigar that has infused qualities, it is also a cigar that some traditional qualities. Overall I found this to be a cigar that proved to deliver an outstanding and unique smoking experience.
Dragon’s Milk is one of several barrel aged beers offered by New Holland Brewery. As mentioned, Dragon’s Milk is a stout that is aged in the same barrels that have been used to age bourbon – giving the beer a unique flavor. Once the beer is aged in those barrels, the wood not only has absorbed the bourbon qualities, but has now absorbed the beer qualities. These same barrels are sent to Nicaragua where Asylum takes cigars they have already been rolled and now does further aging in the barrel. This results in the flavors of the barrel to infuse into the cigar.
The collaboration between Asylum and New Holland has ties to the State of Michigan. While New Holland Brewery is located in Michigan, it also is the state from which Asylum co-founder Tom Lazuka hails from.
Without further ado, let’s break down the Asylum Dragon’s Milk cigar and see what it brings to the table.
In terms of the tobaccos used in the Asylum Dragon’s Milk, the cigar is a Nicaraguan puro.
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
The Asylum Dragon’s Milk comes in one size – a 7 x 52 Double Corona. The cigars are packaged in what essentially is a milk carton which holds 25 cigars.
|Packaging for Asylum Dragon’s Milk
(Photo credit – Asylum Cigars Facebook page)
The Asylum Dragon’s Milk cigar has a smooth milk chocolate colored wrapper. There was some oil on the surface of the wrapper. There are some visible wrapper seams as well as some visible veins. On the footer and on the wrapper, there is a subtle bourbon aroma that can be detected.
There are two bands on the Asylum Dragon’s Milk. The primary band features a brown colored Asylum logo sitting on what is almost a beach wood colored background. The beach wood colored background has a gradient effect to the left and right and transitions to a darker color. On the left and right side of the Asylum logo is the Asylum Dragon’s Milk logo in white.
There is also a footer band. This also has a beach wood background with the New Holland Brewery logo in brown.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
Prior to lighting up the Asylum Dragon’s Milk, I went with a straight cut to remove the cap. After the cap of the Dragon’s Milk cigar was removed I moved on to the pre-light draw. The pre-light draw definitely had some of the infused flavors from the bourbon barrels. Overall I definitely picked up notes of whiskey, oak, and natural tobacco. There was also a slight pepper note on the tongue. While I was definitely picking up the whiskey flavor, I did not pick up the beer flavors at this time. Still, I found the pre-light draw to be excellent – especially since there was some natural tobacco in there. At this point I removed the footer band, lit up the Asylum Dragon’s Milk and awaited what the smoking experience would have in store.
The start to the Asylum Dragon’s Milk continued to deliver the whiskey, charred and oak notes that I detected on the pre-light. The whiskey notes added a sweetness to the flavor profile. There also an interesting pepper flavor that I couldn’t put my finger on. The charred and pepper notes were also present on the retro-hale and to a lesser extent I also picked up some whiskey notes through the nasal passages.
Around the five percent point, the whiskey, oak, and charred notes were primary. On the draw, I found the pepper to be a background flavor, but on the after-draw it was definitely more prominent. I also picked up a slight cream note in the background. As the Dragon’s Milk progressed further the cream note transitioned to more of a chocolate stout note – so I finally was started to get some of the beer flavor.
Toward the end of the first third, the whiskey notes diminished with the oak and charred notes became primary. The whiskey notes were now secondary with the pepper notes now more present on the full draw. I found the whiskey and pepper combination to complement the oak and charred notes nicely. The diminishing of the whiskey notes also allowed for more natural tobacco flavors in the forefront. Meanwhile, the chocolate stout notes were still in the background.
In the second half, I saw most of the same flavors. There was a definite increase in the chocolate stout notes and these would eclipse the whiskey notes. The chocolate stout fused nicely with the natural tobacco, oak, and charred notes in the forefront. While the whiskey and pepper notes were still in the background, they still provided some contribution to the overall flavor profile. This is the way the cigar experience came to an end. The resulting nub was outstanding. This cigar was a true finger-burner and was firm to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
Construction-wise I found the Asylum Dragon’s Milk to be a very well-made cigar. This was reflected nicely on both the burn and draw. Overall while there was a slight curvature to the burn line, I found this to be a burn to remain relatively straight – requiring occasional touch-ups. The resulting ash was mostly white with some dark spots. The ash was firm and came off the cigar in nice clean chunks. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.
|Burn of the Asylum Dragon’s Milk|
I found there to be a slight resistance on the draw – which is something I like. This made Asylum Dragon’s Milk an enjoyable cigar to smoke.
Strength and Body
In terms of both strength and body, both attributes balanced each other nicely throughout the cigar experience. The strength and body started on in the medium range. There was a gradual increase in both attributes and by the last third, both attributes had crossed into medium to full territory. I was a little concerned that with an infused cigar the flavors could be “too much” and not allow the strength to shine. While there is no doubt the infusion of the whiskey and beer notes is prominent, the weight of these flavors on the palate was not “too much”. This made for an enjoyable smoke.
Christian Eiroa’s CLE portfolio has really seen the emergence of three brands. The core CLE line represents the more traditional cigars. CLE’s Edgar Hoill Cigar line focuses on artesian vitolas and artesian packaging. As for Asylum, it is the CLE brand that focuses on innovation. Projects such as the 80 ring gauges and Ogre candela barber pole are great examples of this. Now the New Holland Brewery project scores some more points for Asylum in this area.
In terms of the cigar. If you are a cigar enthusiast who does not like any kind of infusion in your cigar, the Asylum Dragon’s Milk is not going to be for you. There is no doubt this cigar has “infused qualities” as the effect of the barrels this cigar is aged in is quite obvious. There were two big surprises I did get with the Dragon’s Milk. The first is that I found there were plenty of non-infused qualities to this cigar. While the infused notes of whiskey and chocolate stout are there, but I got natural tobacco, oak, pepper, and even some cream. The second is the whiskey and chocolate stout did not smother the blend and it allowed for more in the way of complexity and transitions than I expected.
Overall this is an excellent cigar. I’d recommend this to a novice or experienced cigar enthusiast who is open to trying something infused. The one negative is the $17.00 price point and 25 count boxes. While price isn’t factored into our numerical score, it does play a role in buying power. It’s hard to recommend a “box purchase” of over $400.00, so I can’t recommend more than a fiver. However price aside, this score scores a solid 91. However, this is still an excellent cigar and it’s one I would smoke again.
Strength: Medium (1st 2/3), Medium to Full (Last Third)
Body: Medium (1st 2/3), Medium to Full (Last Third)
Assessment: 3.0 – The Fiver
News: Asylum Dragon’s Milk to be a Project with New Holland Brewery
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