The Flavors of Abbina

Abbina Craft Sipping Soda has four unique and delicious flavors, designed to pair with a variety of cigars. Here are some thoughts on each one:


I started the idea for Candlewood selfishly. I love the flavor of imitation cherry. Cherry candy is the best. I knew I wanted to make a soda with imitation cherry, but had to come up with a way to make it make sense for cigars. The red color associated with cherries made me think about beets, which, to me, always taste like dirt, but in a good way.

Of the four flavors, this was the one I got closest to making on my own, before hiring a professional flavorist to help. I was able to achieve the cherry flavor I wanted by using almond extract. A little chemistry: the main component of bitter almond is a compound called benzaldehyde. We used a hefty dose of this in the final formula. I like this ingredient because it is diffusive, meaning that it subsides a bit as the soda sits open to the air, providing a fun shift in flavor as you enjoy your cigar.

In addition to imitation beet flavors, we used a natural oakmoss absolute to add to the earthiness. If you notice a warm, caramel, molasses earthiness in Candlewood, it’s probably the oakmoss. Oakmoss is a key component in classic perfumery. Candlewood is rounded out by vanilla, spices like nutmeg, and some citrus flavors.

I conceived of Candlewood as best pairing with Honduran cigars that have a cleaner, citrusy quality. I think it also goes great with medium body Dominican, Costa Rican, and Ecuadorian cigars.

Tower 44

One of my favorite flavor notes in cigars is leather. I knew, thinking about the pairing concept of “enhancement,” that I wanted to make some kind of leathery soda concept. From my perfumery experience, I thought saffron would be the way to achieve this. I find that a strong dose of saffron tastes and smells like the most luxurious soft suede.

Adding to the natural saffron, we also used a patchouli essential oil. Indonesian patchouli has always struck me as being close to a rough, dirty leather. It adds enormous complexity and spiciness to the blend. The leather flavors from the saffron and patchouli are softened in Tower 44 with the addition of a beautiful, bright grapefruit flavor and some rose/geranium flavor.

I think Tower 44 is the most versatile of the four. It’s lighter than the others, and could be considered “refreshing.” But it’s also very complex. I recommend pairing it with any cigar that you find has a leathery quality. I enjoy it most with bolder San Andres wrapped cigars, though it also goes great with classic medium cigars from the Dominican Republic or Nicaragua made in Cuban style.


Strong meaty flavors are the ones I crave the most in cigars. So in an effort to develop a soda that would play with the “creation” pairing concept, I thought that jerk flavors would be great to combine with meaty cigars to create new, magical flavors.

Vinnie starts with a strong kick of allspice. There are a bunch of other spices, along with flavors of molasses and light smoke. We added a little heat to this formula that you’ll feel in the back of your throat as you drink. I find this to be a satisfying way to swap out alcohol. The soda is softened a bit by natural mango and pineapple flavors that help give it a tropical feel.

While I designed Vinnie to be paired with meaty, bold Nicaraguan cigars, the more I tested the formula, the more I came to love it as a pairing with lighter bodied and Connecticut wrapped cigars. I think this is because lighter cigars often leave me wanting more, and Vinnie helps to punch them up.


The collection wouldn’t be complete without coffee and chocolate. Royale uses a delicious coffee extract that mimics the flavor of freshly ground coffee beans. It’s rounded out with some vanilla and nutty flavors.

I like Royale at certain times of the day, rather than focusing on a particular type of cigar. First thing in the morning, or right before bedtime, Royale helps me ease into or out of the day. It pairs very well with Connecticuts, as well as any cigar that has either coffee or chocolate flavor notes. I strongly recommend using with some vanilla ice cream to make an ice cream float!

I can’t wait to hear what cigars you think pair best with our flavors!

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