Late in 2020, General Cigar Company announced a special limited edition release for the Diesel brand know as the Diesel Whiskey Row Sherry Cask Holiday Edition. For the most part, it was an offshoot of 2019’s Diesel Whiskey Row Sherry Cask but would incorporate a barber-pole style wrapper. In addition, the Holiday Edition would feature the cigars presented in a keepsake wooden whiskey barrel that holds ten cigars and includes a lid that doubles as an ashtray. Today we take a closer look at the Diesel Whiskey Row Sherry Cask Holiday Edition.
The Diesel Whiskey Row series is a project that is done between General Cigar’s Justin Andrews, AJ Fernandez, and Rabbit Hole Distillery. The original Diesel Whiskey Row released in 2018 is a cigar that featured a San Andres Mexican binder aged in a bourbon barrel from Rabbit Hole Distillery covered by an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. In 2019, the Diesel Whiskey Row Sherry Cask was released. For the Sherry Cask, this time a binder leaf from Central Brazil’s Alagoas region was then aged in Rabbit Hole’s Ximénez Sherry barrel. Fernandez then incorporated the Alagoas leaf into a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapped maduro blend. The Holiday Edition utilizes the blend of the Sherry Cask but drapes a Connecticut Shade stripe over the cigar.
The Holiday Edition is the second gift set released by Diesel. In 2019, Diesel released a special 4 1/2 x 50 Rothschild size sold as a five-count gift set featuring a branded silver whiskey-barrel-shaped lighter.
Without further ado, let’s break down the Diesel Whiskey Row Sherry Cask Holiday Edition and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
As mentioned above, the barber-pole of the Diesel Whiskey Row Sherry Cask Holiday Edition utilizes both Connecticut Broadleaf and Connecticut Shade tobaccos. The “secret sauce” is the Arapiraca binder aged in the Rabbit Hole Sherry barrel. The fillers are 100% Nicaraguan Habano tobaccos. The cigars are produced at Tabacalera AJ Fernandez de Nicaragua in Nicaragua.
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf/Connecticut Shade
Binder: Brazilian Arapiraca (Alagoas)
Filler: Nicaraguan Habano
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: Tabacalera AJ Fernandez de Nicaragua SA
The Diesel Whiskey Row Sherry Cask Holiday Edition is available in one size – a 5 x 56 Gordo. The cigars are presented in a keepsake wooden whiskey barrel that holds ten cigars and includes a lid that doubles as an ashtray.
The Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper is the primary tobacco that covers the cigar. It has a rich roasted coffee bean color one often sees with Broadleaf wrapper. The Connecticut Shade wrapper is draped over the Broadleaf. The light color of the Connecticut Shade provides a nice contrasting effect on the barber-pole. The Broadleaf wrapper had some oil on it and there were some visible veins on the surface of the cigar.
There are two bands on the Diesel Whiskey Row Sherry Cask Holiday Edition. These are the same bands found on the original Sherry Cask release. The primary band has an irregular shape with a Burgundy, beige-brown, and gold color scheme. The top and bottom of the band have a thick Burgundy trim. The upper part of the band features a small brown circular field with gold trim. On the center of the band is a classic style “D” in beige font. A beige-colored stripe sits second from the top with the “diesel” logo text in brown font. Third from the top is a brown stripe with gold trim. On that stripe is the text “WHISKEY ROW” in gold font. Finally on the lower Burgundy stripe is a silhouette of a rabbit.
A secondary band covers the circumference around the footer. This is a large band with a beige-colored background. On that band is the “Rabbit Hole” logo text surrounded by the text “DIESEL WHISKEY ROW BARREL AGED” arranged in a circular gold font. To the left of the band is the text “RABBIT HOLE” in a large gold stencil font with the text “PK SHERRY CASK” in a dark font arranged in landscape mode.
Before commencing with the cigar experience, the large band around the footer removed. Prior to lighting up the Diesel Whiskey Row Sherry Cask Holiday Edition, a straight cut was used to remove the cap. Once the cap was removed, it was on to the pre-light draw experience. The cold draw delivered notes of leather as well as subtle notes of coffee and citrus. This wasn’t the most exciting pre-light draw, but since the pre-light draw is not factored into the merit score or value rating, there was no loss of points here. At this point, it was time to light up the Diesel Whiskey Row Sherry Cask Holiday Edition to see what the smoking phase would have in store.
The Diesel Whiskey Row Sherry Cask Holiday Edition started out with notes of cream, coffee, fruit, and mineral notes. Early on the coffee and cream notes moved into the forefront. The fruit and mineral notes receded into the background and were joined by oak notes, and toward the end of the first third by black pepper. Meanwhile, the retro-hale delivered a mix of black pepper with a layer of sweetness.
During the second third of the Holiday Edition, the coffee notes morphed into classic earth notes. The earth notes remained in the forefront. The cream notes diminished joining the mineral, fruit, pepper, and oak notes. By the second half, the cream note dissipates. Meanwhile, there was a slight increase in the pepper. The pepper remained on the retro-hale, but the sweetness that was more present earlier had dissipated.
The final third saw the earth notes remain grounded in the forefront. The pepper notes had another spike early in the final third. To some extent, there still were notes of mineral and oak with touches of fruit in the more distant background. As the Diesel Whiskey Row Sherry Cask Holiday Edition came to a close, the cigar finished with a firm, cool nub.
The Diesel Whiskey Row Sherry Cask Holiday Edition needed several touch-ups to maintain a straight burn line and straight burn path. While the touch-ups did the trick, the Holiday Edition required more touch-ups than I prefer. The resulting ash had a medium gray color to it. The ash itself was on the firm side. As for the burn rate and burn temperature, both performed at ideal levels.
The draw to the Diesel Whiskey Row Sherry Cask Holiday Edition had a touch of resistance to it – which is something that I like. At the same time, the Holiday Edition was a low-maintenance cigar to derive flavor from.
Strength and Body
The Diesel Whiskey Row Sherry Cask Holiday Edition is a cigar that was both medium in strength and medium in body. There wasn’t much in the way of variance in the intensity levels of both the strength and body. At the same time, both attributes balanced each other nicely with neither attribute overshadowing the other.
When I smoked the original Diesel Whiskey Row Sherry Cask, I noted the influence of the tobacco aged in the sherry barrels had an impact on the blend. With the Holiday Edition, I didn’t quite get the same influence of the sherry barrels. On one hand, this allowed some of the other flavors of the blend to be detected. On the other hand, I really did like the influence from the sherry barrels. In the end, Diesel Whiskey Row Sherry Cask Holiday Edition cigar is one that I would recommend to any cigar enthusiast – and it’s one I would smoke again. However, because this is sold as a ten-cigar gift set, it’s my recommendation that you try a sample first and see if this is a cigar for you.
Key Flavors: Coffee, Earth, Fruit, Mineral, Oak, Pepper
Burn: Very Good
Complexity: Medium Plus
Finish: Very Good
Value: Buy One
News: Diesel Whiskey Row Sherry Cask Holiday Edition Announced
Price: $124.99 (10 cigar set)
Source: General Cigar Company
Brand Reference: Diesel
Photo Credit: Cigar Coop, except where noted