If you have been part of the whiskey and cigar world for a long time, you know the satisfaction of finding that perfect pairing. Whiskey and cigars go hand in hand for a reason – together, they are the epitome of sophisticated tasting pleasure. If you’re relatively new to the practice of cigar-whiskey pairing, you might be a little unsure of how to get an exceptional match. Fortunately, though it takes years to become a master in this arena, the concepts are relatively simple. Don’t let one taste dominate the other, but find flavours that bring out the best in each other. A helpful tip is to match the body of the whiskey to the body of the cigar. Don’t go for a full-bodied drink and a light-bodied smoke, as this will achieve the overpowering of one flavour. Here are 5 cigars and whiskeys that go hand in hand:
1. Romeo and Julieta Short Churchill with Bruichladdich Islay Barley
Let’s start with something we can all agree on: Cuban cigars. This smoke doesn’t only have its country of origin going for it – Winston Churchill reportedly claimed it as his favourite, hence the name. Romeo and Julieta’s are smooth, creamy and easy to smoke, and they make a sublime match with the malty and buttery Bruichladdich Islay Barley. Together, this light pairing makes for an elegant tasting experience.
2. Camacho American Barrel Aged Robusto and Knappogue Castle 12-Year-Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey
This delicious pair is not only an excellent match, but a surprisingly affordable price for the quality. The Knappogue has been aged for 12 years in bourbon casks, giving it a malty sweetness that complements the toasty bourbon taste of the American Barrel Aged. As its name suggests, this whiskey has also been aged in bourbon barrels for a year after six previous years of aging. The similar process undergone by both the cigar and the whiskey means that these flavours round each other out and make for an exceptional complementary pair.
3. Padron 1964 Anniversary Series and Glengoyne 18
Nicaragua is another solid location to find a quality cigar, and the Padron 1964 is a prime example. Delicate, smooth, classy and with an incredible finish, this cigar contrasts with the fruitiness of the Glengoyne 18 – a whiskey that has been aged mostly in sherry casks. Though this match might seem a little contradictory, they manage to highlight each other’s differences without stifling the deep complexity of both the cigar and the whiskey.
4. Black Belt Buckle Corona Gorda and Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7
If you’re looking for a bold pairing, give this duo a try. Black Belt Buckle’s charred woody notes and earthy sweetness come out powerfully in this cigar. Therefore, to avoid overpowering the drink, it needs a strong whiskey to fight back. Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 is just that, with a flavour that features a slight sweetness and a woody trait – the common denominators that make these two a perfectly bold match.
5. Davidoff Escurio Gran Toro With Balvenie Single Barrel 15 Year Old
Complexity is the key to this wonderfully unique pairing. Davidoff Escurio is somehow creamy, sweet, leathery and spicy, all in one glorious cigar. It goes well, then, with this Scottish whiskey featuring a delicate fruity sweetness followed by a noticeable spice. The dramatic shifts in flavours that both the whiskey and cigar display flow together beautifully.
Becoming an expert on whiskeys or a cigar master will not happen overnight, but match any of these cigar-whiskey duos and you will not be disappointed. In the end, what matters most in cigar-whiskey pairings is that you enjoy the taste that results.