Perfect Whiskies to Pair With Your favourite Cigars
Whisky and cigars go together like peanut butter and jam; they’re made for each other. It’s a classic pairing because of the similar flavour notes and aromas they share; such flavour notes include leather, nuts, rye, and spices. Whisky itself is rich and complex, and when it’s paired with a cigar – those flavours are enhanced too. Most cigars have an earthy, spicy, and nutty flavour and the sweetness of some whiskies can actually balance the bitterness of certain cigars. It’s a match made in heaven! If you’re curious to learn more about whisky and cigars, how to pair them and more, you’ll benefit from reading this article. It’s always interesting to learn why whisky and cigars are a famous pair, both on screen and in real life. Let’s get into it.
Understanding the flavours of whiskies and cigars
There are many different types of whisky, some of which are single malt and blended. A single malt whisky is one made from 100% malt barley and produced in one distillery. Blended whisky is a combination of different types of rye, barley, corn, and wheat. Some of the most common types of whisky and their flavour profiles can be found below.
1. Scotch whisky is produced in Scotland and known for its smoky, peaty, and earthy flavours. It can also have tasting notes of dried fruit, oak, and spice.
2. Bourbon whiskey is a type of American whiskey made primarily from corn and aged in charred oak barrels. It is known for its sweet and spicy flavours, with notes of caramel, vanilla, and oak.
3. Rye whiskey is made from at least 51% rye and is known for its spicy, peppery, and dry flavours. It can also have notes of fruit, nuts, and oak. There are of course, other types of whiskies, Scotch, Bourbon and Rye are some of the most popular ones. If you smoke cigars, odds are you already know what you like and how to go about identifying its flavour. But if you’re someone still learning, we know it can be pretty confusing; that’s why we’re here to help guide you. Here are some easy steps to establishing a cigar’s unique flavour profile:
1. Give the cigar a smell, are you able to identify any aromas? You should across some earthy, spicy, or nutty notes.
2. Light it and take a small puff; allow the smoke to linger in your mouth before exhaling.
3. When exhaling the smoke, try blow it out through your nose. This can also help you pick up on the flavour.
4. Pay special attention to what aftertaste of the cigar. What do you taste in your mouth?
5. The darker the wrapper, the richer and fuller the flavour. The wrapper can also give you an indication of its flavours. Whisky and cigars can be enjoyed together because both flavours can complement and enhance one another simultaneously. The flavours in whisky, such as smokiness, sweetness, and spiciness, can be heightened or contrasted by the flavours in a cigar. On the other hand, the flavours in a cigar can also be complemented by the whisky. It can also provide a contrasting note to the flavours in a cigar, helping to balance and harmonize the overall experience.
Pairing the right whisky with the right cigar
For a harmonious blend of flavours, pairing the right whisky with the right cigar is crucial. If you’re not sure where to start, try out some of our tips below. 1. Match the intensity of the cigar and whisky. The intensity of the whisky and the cigar should complement each other. If the cigar is quite strong, a lighter whisky can help to balance out the intensity. Similarly, if the whisky is particularly bold, a milder cigar can help to balance it out. 2. Pair light-bodied cigars with light-bodied whiskies. Pairing light-bodied cigars with light-bodied whiskies balances out the flavours, without compromising on one or the other. 3. Pair full-bodied cigars with full-bodied whiskies. Full-bodied cigars should be paired with full-bodied whiskies. This is simply to avoid one from overpowering the other. 4. Experiment and enjoy. There are set-in-stone rules when it comes to pairing whisky and cigars. Experiment with different combinations to find what works best for your own taste preferences. Pairing different types of cigars with whiskies is not an easy skill to come by. It takes learning what you like and trial and error to really figure it out. We do however, have some recommendations that can lend a helping hand on your journey.
• Try pairing Lagavulin with a full-bodied, earthy cigar, such as a Cuban Cohibin.
• A sweet Speyside whisky, such as Glenlivet, can be paired with a milder cigar, such as a Montecristo.
• Bulleit should be paired with a medium-bodied cigar, such as a Romeo y Julieta.
Top whiskies to pair with cigars
Looking for some of the best whiskies to pair with cigars? We’ve got you. Here are some of Norman Goodfellows’ top choice of whiskies and their significant cigar pairings.
• Scotch whiskies and their recommended cigar pairings The Lagavulin 16-year-old Scotch whisky with a full-bodied, earthy cigar such as Partagas or Cohiba. Another great pairing includes a Glenlivet 18-year-old Scotch whisky with medium-bodied, creamy cigar such as a Montecristo or Ashton.
• Irish whiskies and their recommended cigar pairings A medium-bodied, sweet cigar such as a Macanudo or Arturo Fuente Hemingway pairs beautifully with a classic Jameson Irish whisky. For fruity and spicy, try pairing a Redbreast Irish whisky with a medium-bodied, aromatic cigar such as Romeo y Julieta.
• American whiskies and their recommended cigar pairings Jack Daniels is a popular sweet American whisky and should ideally be paired with a medium-bodied cigar such as Macanudo. Bulleit Rye is a spicy bourbon and pairs with a spicy cigar such as La Gloria Cubana.
• Japanese whiskies and their recommended cigar pairings Yamazaki is a smooth and elegant Japanese whisky and should be paired with a sweet cigar such as Macanudo. Alternatively, Hibiki Harmony is a blended whisky that you can try with an aromatic cigar such as Romeo y Julieta.
How to enjoy your whisky and cigar pairing
The real fun begins where you finally get to sip and taste the two worlds of whisky and cigars combine. Here are some more tips to get you started. • Use the right glassware.
• Pair cigars and whisky based on intensity and flavour.
• Serve whisky at room temperature.
• Cut and store cigars carefully.
• Toast the foot of the cigar. Take your time sipping on the whisky. It should be analysed from beginning to end to enjoy the full experience. When puffing on cigars, take a small puff and allow the smoke to linger in your mouth for a second and exhale through your news. Rotate both sipping and puffing to enhance the flavour of both. In conclusion, satisfying pairings of whisky and cigars are based off many different factors such as flavour and intensity. It’s perfectly normal if you don’t get the hang of it first time around, but we encourage you to keep trying responsibly and explore new flavours with friends and family. Find what works for you and don’t be afraid to try it all! You’ll find you perfect combo. To shop our comprehensive range of delicious whiskies, click here.