This story was first published on our sister site, the cigar blog, halfwheel.com.
Last month, 10 barrels left New Holland Brewing Co. in Holland, Mich. destined for Nicaragua. For the barrels, it was their third life: first used to age bourbon in Kentucky, then used to help create New Holland’s Dragon’s Milk—a bourbon barrel-aged milk stout—and now used to age cigars from Asylum.
The process involves taking already-rolled cigars and placing them in the barrels for 48 hours. Moisture trapped in the wood, residue in the barrel and a bit of excess liquid on the bottom provides the potent aroma from the Dragon’s Milk beer, which is easily recognizable once the cigar is taken out of its cellophane.
“I met Brett VanderKamp, who owns New Holland Brewery in Holland, Michigan,” Tom Lazuka of Asylum Cigars told halfwheel in February. “We got to talk about making a cigar together, something co-branded. The cigars have got that charred oak taste, some of the stout, dark beer taste and obviously the tobacco taste.”
Lazuka told halfwheel that they were able to process 25,000 cigars through the 10 barrels. As of now, the cigar will be a regular production release with the aim to do around 25,000 cigars per quarter.
The cigar itself is made up entirely of Nicaraguan tobacco. Only a single 7 x 52 size is being offered. priced at $17 per cigar and is packaged in boxes of 25 which retail for $425. The boxes are modeled after milk cartons. While Asylum Dragon’s Milk is already off to stores, a formal launch event will be hosted on Dec. 5 at BLEND Bar Cigar in Indianapolis, Ind. with Lazuka and VanderKamp in attendance.
This is not the first time the Dragon’s Milk barrels have been used to create another product, a few years ago the New Holland created Beer Barrel Bourbon, which saw whiskey go back into the barrels after they had been used to create Dragon’s Milk.
Asylum is distributed by CLE Cigar Co. The cigars are produced at an undisclosed factory in Nicaragua.