Joseph Magnus Cigar Blend was a bourbon that eluded me for a long time and then in a matter of a few months I ended up with 3 bottles ranging from a dusty find in Granbury Texas to a retail hookup from my local spot to a friend finding one in Chicago. Batch 12 clearly stood out among the even in a blind tasting.
Joseph Magnus is a somewhat controversial label out of Washington DC that primarily sources MGP bourbon and finishes it sherry and Cognac casks either enhancing the flavor or ruining it depending on who you ask. I tend to be a fan of finished bourbon and to enjoy their products. The Cigar Blend varies from batch to batch but uses the same basic approach. It is a blend of regular Joseph Magnus finished bourbon and older MGP that is then finished in vintage Armagnac casks. For this specific batch is approximately 20% regular Magnus, mostly a 13 year old MGP bourbon and ‘some’ 20 year old MGP as well.
Age: NAS on the label but this batch is a blend of 12, 13 and 20 year old MGP
Abv: 104.2 proof
Nose: Rich and complex with dark fruit, brown sugar, tobacco, leather and baking spice notes
Taste: More brown sugar and dark fruit alongside rich oak and more pronounced spice notes than the nose. The mouthfeel is nice and viscous.
Finish: This finish goes on forever with rich oak, tobacco, sweet dark fruit notes and just enough spice to make you want the next sip.
Damn that was good. It had everything I like from well aged MGP and more including one of my favorite finishes of all time. I’ve also had this bourbon with cigars several times and the bold flavors, sweet start to the taste and the very long finish make it an excellent pairing. I don’t smoke all that regularly though (1-2 a month) so I mostly just drink this neat.
For long time readers I previously reviewed an old Smooth Ambler Old Scout SiB from MGP and gave it a 9/10 citing the slightly unpleasant cinnamon heat on the finish as the only thing holding it back from a perfect 10 and this bourbon has everything I liked from that with more complexity and an amazing finish.
To be clear the 10/10 rating is for specifically batch 12 of Cigar Blend. I’ve had other batches and they’ve all been in the 8-9 range other than this one. The 8/10 ones feel a little bad at this price point so don’t go splurge on a batch 8! I did end up getting a second bottle of the batch 12(pictured) after killing the first one I got way too fast.
TL;DR: Amazing bourbon, legendary finish, great with or without a cigar
10 - an all time favorite, must buy/hunt
Fair - Worth the money, happy with my purchase