Don Diego on Steroids

Don Diego was the first of the non-Havana “Cuban-sounding” cigars created to fill the gap left by the 1962 embargo. Initially it was made in the Canary Islands and was extremely mild. In recent times it has been made in the Dominican Republic, and while popular, it has always remained a mild cigar—until now.

The Don Diego Fuerte —which means “strong” in Spanish—is being made with an entirely different blend by a different cigar maker and in a different country. Consequently, other than its name, this new cigar has nothing in common with the Don Diego your grandfather may have smoked. Even the band is bolder than before.

Hand rolled in Condega, Nicaragua, by Omar Ortez, the Don Diego Fuerte sports a dark and luxuriously oily Ecuadoran Cubano wrapper, with a Nicaraguan binder, and a filler blended with Dominican and Nicaraguan leaf. Aged a minimum of 13 weeks, the aroma is heady and the flavor is like coffee-soaked leather. But like a high-performance engine, it takes a few minutes for the full throttle of this cigar to kick in. In addition to a  5½ x 44 corona, four others are offered: Churchill, belicoso, toro, and robusto—all of which are 54 ring gauge, which enhances their full flavor. This is indeed a cigar that would go well with a glass of Baker’s small-batch bourbon. ($5–$6.50) (www.altadisusa.com)

This young-drinking Perbacco shows Barolo’s softer side…
Proceeds from the sampling of five rare Japanese whiskeys will go to relief efforts in Nepal…
Photo by Mark French
Hanyu Ichiro’s Card Series is a full deck of single malts from a famous but shuttered distillery…
Photo by Randall Cordero
This delectable pinot from Central California has a touch of sweetness and an acidic finish…
The world’s longest-serving malt master has masterfully combined some of the Balvenie’s top stocks…
A blend of 26-year-old Scotch whisky from two bygone distilleries keeps their legacy alive…
Photo by Randall Cordero
Fifth-generation winemaker Joseph Wagner crafts a Burgundian beauty from three California counties…
Fight through the bourbon shortage with these overproof whiskeys…
Even though the spirit contains tequilas up to 49 months old, it is completely translucent…
The whiskey was aged for 17 years in three different environments…