...where distraction is the main attraction.

Friday, August 11, 2023

Bourbon and Rye Day Friday: Joseph Magnus Cigar Blend Bourbon, batch 58 "Darth Vader"

I tried one of these Joseph Magnus Cigar Blend batches earlier this year; though I don't remember the batch, it was finished in armagnac, cognac, and sherry casks. Spicy as hell and very sweet, it was reminiscent of a Barrell production, nearly its own unique spirit. Whether it was good or not, I couldn't tell you, but it certainly was A LOT.

Today's bourbon is my second-ever JMCB batch, apparently a well-known one since it sold at auction for $1250 last year. Thankfully, I got in on a bottle split of the stuff for a much lower (prorated) amount. Part of a parcel of Kentucky and Indiana bourbons ranging from 14 to 20 years, allegedly, batch 58 does not appear to have had any alternate cask finishes. The blenders named it, Darth Vader. Will that be the Vader from the end of Revenge of the Sith? Or the Vader from the end of Rogue One?

Brand: Joseph Magnus
Range: Cigar Blend
Source Location: Kentucky and Indiana
Type: Bourbon
Mashbill: ???
Maturation: American white oak
Age: possibly 14 years old
Batch: 58, "Darth Vader"
Alcohol by Volume66.17%
(from a bottle split)


Who knew Darth Vader had such a big schnozz under the mask? Waves of maple syrup, Rolos candies, cinnamon sticks, and black raisins fill the nose. Vanilla bean, cut lumber, and Endust spray emerge from behind the sweets after a while. It's a palate cooker at full strength. Once the heat lifts, one may find strata of wood spices, with brown sugar, tart cherries, and Demerara-based rum far beneath. It finishes with bitter chocolate, tart cherries, and barrel char.

DILUTED to ~57%abv, or 1 tsp of water per 30mL whiskey

A bit more focus to the nose here. Maple syrup, vanilla bean, and dried cherries up front, toffee in the back. Much more approachable, the palate offers maple syrup, wood smoke, and brown sugar. Quieter notes of pipe tobacco and black raisins arrive after some time. It finishes up with wood smoke, brown sugar, raisins, and a mild unlit cigar.

DILUTED to ~50%abv, or 2 tsp of water per 30mL full strength whiskey

Almost a different whiskey here. Desserts comprise the nose, like vanilla things, caramel candies, and lemon cream pies. The palate is a mix of wood spices, cassia, tart lemons, and brown sugar. It finishes sweet and tart, with more brown sugar than before.


This ain't no Emo Vader, though the high ABV causes most of the violence. Once diluted, it's a great, straightforward, dessert pour, with 57%abv being the money spot for my palate. There are no overwhelming bitter oak notes nor tastebud-stripping tannins present, which is a pleasant surprise for a 14+ year old bourbon. If your cigar smoking days are far behind you (like mine are for me), no worries, you will still enjoy this brawling bourbon. But don't go into it looking for complexity. Much like the Skywalker Saga, it's best consumed mindlessly.

Availability -
All gone

Pricing - ???
Rating - 86