Jos. A. Magnus & Co. is the namesake of a pre-prohibition businessman and whiskey wholesaler originally based in Cincinnati, Ohio. Magnus was known for his intelligent and honorable business methods and prided himself on selling quality whiskey “as a means of promoting good conversation, close fellowship, and ‘the interchange of kindly deeds and pleasant thoughts.’ ” Magnus eventually opened his own distillery and began producing his flagship whiskey, the Murray Hill Club Whiskey, which he described as “a particular brand for particular people.” Murray Hill Club was known for it’s prominent advertisements in local newspapers and quickly received acclaim as a top quality whiskey. However, in the early 1900s, with prohibition looming, Magnus was forced to cease his whiskey production and his well-known whiskey brands were ultimately lost with time.
You can read the company’s complete story, and see many of the original advertisements for Murray Hill Club, at their website here.
Nearly a century after Magnus was forced to shut the doors to his whiskey empire, an accidental discovery by Magnus’ great-grandsons led to the revival of his once-famous whiskey. Using carefully preserved, 122-year old bottles of whiskey from the original distillery and a team of carefully selected whiskey experts, Magnus’ whiskey was born anew. The Company now operates out of Washington D.C. and is quickly becoming recognized as a producer of exceptional quality whiskey. For their flagship product, Joseph Magnus Straight Bourbon, Master Blender Nancy Fraley finishes 12-year-old sourced bourbon in a triple cask finishing process using Oloroso Sherry, Pedro Ximénez, and Cognac casks.
The Magnus Cigar Blend Bourbon is a blend designed to be enjoyed with a fine cigar. It is comprised of 11 and 18-year-old sourced bourbon that is then finished in Armagnac, Sherry, and Cognac casks. It is bottled at 124 proof (62% abv) and retails for around $150. This bottle is from Batch 22, which was released in April 2020.
Appearance – Orange amber. Slow thick legs formed in the glass.
Nose – The nose is absolutely the best part of this pour and that is saying a lot! The nose is decadently dark and rich, revealing a blend of brûléed sugar, dark stewed fruit, spice, plenty of tobacco leaf, and just a touch of shaved coconut and orange peel.
Palate – The mouthfeel of this bourbon is rich and buttery, quickly coating the entire mouth. It presents with plenty of those rich dark fruit notes and sweet tobacco, but a sharp spice quickly develops mid-tongue and ushers in some oak char, vanilla, cinnamon, and notes of cigar box. The profile on this whiskey is exceptionally complex and only gets better with more time in the glass.
Finish – The finish is long and pleasantly sweet. The rye spice really lingers mid-tongue but the sweet notes take center stage. There is plenty of burnt caramel, dark berries, and plum, along with more tobacco leaf, a touch of oak char, and some light baking spice. A sweet pear note finishes out the pour.
Overall – Chances are, most of us will never have the opportunity to taste any of the whiskey from Joseph Magnus’ original distillery. However, I have no doubt that the fine folks at Jos. A. Magnus & Co. have given us the next best thing with this Cigar Blend Bourbon. They start with an exquisite blend of quality-aged whiskey and somehow finish it in three separate and distinct casks to create an exceptionally rich and complex blended whiskey. Notes of tobacco and fruit blend throughout the pour, along with plenty of traditional bourbon notes, to create a very unique and flavorful pour that is perfect for a pairing with a fine cigar.
The Cigar Blend is not something you will see on the shelf often, but it is definitely a bottle that deserves a spot in your whiskey cabinet. Find yourself a good smoke and prepare for a truly decadent experience. Cheers y’all!