At its core, cigar pairing is an exercise in balance. Cigars may equally pair well with whisky, rum, cognac, wine, coffee or beer, but regardless of the beverage, the flavor intensity of each product needs to be considered.
A highly-peated Scotch whisky will overpower a mild cigar, and likewise a full-flavoured cigar will muddle the notes of a subtle spirit. A light cigar will pair best with a mild, subtle blend, like Suntory’s Hibiki 12 Year, while medium-bodied smokes pair well with milder bourbons, rye whiskeys and many brighter single malts. Typically, Maduro aged cigars offer sweet caramel notes which would work well with many bourbons. The key is to seek out complimentary intensity and flavour elements in both products, in order to create an entirely new flavour sensation.
With that in mind here are some recommended whisky and cigar pairings from our team!
DALMORE CIGAR MALT RESERVE & PARTAGAS SERIE D NO. 4
An obvious choice maybe, but only because one was quite literally made for the other. Back in 1998, Dalmore master blender Richard Paterson created The Cigar malt to pair with one of his favourite cigars, the PSD4. Although the original Cigar Malt was discontinued, this new version exhibits the same bold character that pairs well with the PSD4 and similar full flavoured cigars.
The flavour Cigar Malt Reserve is packed with citrus, plump red fruit, and vanilla-soaked spices and rich toffee. These smooth, sweet notes provide balance and compliment the earthy, chocolate notes of the Partagas Serie D. No. 4.
View our selection of Partagas Cigars
MICHTERS BOURBON & MONTECRISTO DOUBLE EDMUNDO
The Montecristo Double Edmundo is a fantistic smoke with abundant notes coffee, sweet spices, coconut and oak, and a delicious chocolate finish. These notes pair wonderfully with the bourbon’s sweeter notes of rich vanilla, cinnamon and toffee, while the black pepper and oaky finish provides balance.
View our selection of Montecristo Cigars
HIGHLAND PARK 18 & PADRON 1964 ANNIVERSARY
Highland Park’s 18 Year Old is an absolute classic. This peated single malt is aged in American Oak and Sherried casks for rich, complex and supremely delicious profile. Creamy on the palate with notes of jammy fruit, espresso and spice. Honey and citrus also linger on the palate before a smoky herbal finish.
The Padron has similar notes of honey and citrus, with cocoa, earthy and nutty impressions. Both the cigar and whisky are complex, but neither is overpowering, allowing the profiles to compliment each other while shining brightly.
View our selection of Padron Cigars.
Let these pairing suggestions act as a starting point. Being an aficionado is about experimentation, and we’d love to hear your thoughts on your favourite cigar/whisky pairs!