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Cigar and wisky

“My rule of life prescribed as an absolutely sacred rite – smoking cigars and also the drinking of alcohol before, after, and if need be during all meals and in the intervals between them.”

  • Winston Churchill

Churchill got it right – enjoying a hand-rolled stogie with a glass of whiskey is one of the best things about life. However, even the most experienced cigar guru can find it difficult to choose what whiskey and cigar pair well together. 

So, sit back, pour a glass of your favorite whiskey, light up a cigar, and discover why cigars and whiskey are a perfect flavor combination. 

Why cigars and whiskey go well together

Cigars are usually characterized according to their body and tasting notes. You can think of cigars as medium to full, earthy, woody, spicy, and sweet. Whiskey has similar characteristics, broken down into woody, floral, peaty and fruity notes. 

Matching the perfect cigar to the perfect whiskey is as easy as finding the ideal balance of strength, complexity, and flavor profile with the spirit and the tobacco.

If you are trying to pair a full-bodied cigar with a smooth whiskey, the whiskey may lose its natural flavor due to the complexity and strength of the tobacco. However, if your cigar is too mild compared to a peaty whisky, it may lose balance due to the intense flavors of the whiskey.

Remember that it is subjective; like any other cigar and spirit pairing, taste is subjective – everyone has different preferences. We recommend following these pairing guidelines:

  • Pair a mild cigar and a mild whiskey
  • Pair a medium-bodied cigar and a medium-bodied whiskey
  • Pair full-bodied tobacco with a full-bodied whiskey

How to pair cigars with different types of whiskey

Blended whiskey (i.e., Jack Daniel’s)

As the name implies, blended whiskey is made from different whiskeys blended together. Many blended spirits have a medium body, allowing the flavors to shine through. Pair a blended whiskey with a rich, full-bodied cigar with earthy notes.

Bourbon whiskey (i.e., Maker’s Mark, Bulleit)

To be considered bourbon whiskey, the spirit must contain a minimum of 50% corn and be aged in oak barrels. Due to its oaky and sometimes smokey notes, pair this whiskey with a medium-bodied cigar with woody and spice notes.

Canadian whisky (i.e., Crown Royal)

Smooth is the first word that comes to our minds when thinking about Canadian whisky. However, some Canadian whiskies have higher rye levels, adding a hint of spice in every sip. Try pairing with a Connecticut Shade-wrapped cigar to balance the subtle spice of the spirit.

Irish whiskey (i.e., Jameson, Powers)

Like Canadian whiskey, Irish whiskeys can be smooth with fruity notes. Consider pairing it with a mild- to medium-bodied cigar with tasting notes of toast, coffee, and nuts.

Scotch whisky (i.e., Dewar’s)

Scotch whisky, or scotch, is usually made with malt or grain and aged in oak barrels. Pair this spirit with a medium-to-full-bodied cigar that has some of the woody taste.

Popular pairings

  • Bulleit Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey & Oliva Melanio Maduro 
  • Maker’s Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon & Cohiba
  • Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey & Black Belt Buckle Corona Gorda
  • Jim Beam Kentucky Straight Bourbon & Punch 

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