There ain’t much in this life that’s more perfect than enjoying a delicious hand rolled stogie and a glass of your favorite whiskey or whisky, depending on your preferences. However, even for the most sophisticated cigar guru, with so many choices of cigars and whiskey (or whisky) it can be a little trying from time to time to know what to pair with what.
So, pour yourself a glass, light up a stogie and learn why cigars and whiskey pair so well together–and get some suggestions on our favorite combinations.
Why cigars and whiskey (or whisky) pair well together
We normally characterize cigars according to their body or tasting notes. Think things like medium to full, or woody, earthy, spicy, and sweet. Now, whiskey or whisky has very similar characterizations. These are normally segmented into notes like floral, woody, peaty, fruity, and more.
The key to matching your perfect cigar with your perfect whiskey or whisky is pinpointing your optimum balance of strength, complexity and flavor profile with the spirit and the tobacco.
For example, if you were to pair an overly full-bodied cigar with a whiskey that’s very smooth, you may not get the natural flavors of the whiskey due to the strength and complexity of the tobacco. On the flipside, if the cigar is too mild compared to a strong or peaty whiskey, you may lose the balance between the two due to the dominance of the whiskey.
Keep in mind, like any cigar and beverage pairing, it’s subjective. Everyone has different taste preferences. But, normally, we’d suggest pairing your whiskey and cigars like so.
- Pair a mild cigar with a milder whiskey or whisky
- Pair a medium to full-bodied cigar with a medium whiskey or whisky
- Pair a full-bodied cigar with a full-bodied whiskey or whisky
How to pair cigars and different types of whiskey or whisky
Blended whiskeys are, well, blended from different types of whiskeys. Due to that, many blended spirits contain a medium body while still allowing the flavors to shine through. We’d suggest pairing a blended whiskey with a full bodied cigar that boasts some earthy notes.
If you weren’t already aware, for bourbon to be considered bourbon, the liquid needs to be made from over 50% corn, and aged in an oak barrel. Due to that oaky, even smokey presence, we’d suggest pairing the spirit with a medium-bodied cigar that boasts notes of wood and spice.
When we think of Canadian whisky, smooth is the first word that comes to mind. However, some Canadian whiskys with a higher rye content can attain a touch of spice with every sip. Think about pairing a Canadian whisky with a cigar that has a Connecticut Shade wrapper. You should find a nice balance between the subtle spice from the spirit and how that mingles with the cigar.
Much like Canadian whisky, Irish whiskeys are normally quite smooth and could attain some fruity tasting notes. Because of this, we’d normally suggest pairing yours with a cigar that’s fairly mild to medium-bodied and has some tasting notes like toast, espresso, even nuts.
In a similar way to Scotch whisky, Japanese whiskys carry over mirrored distilling tactics. Typically, they’re a touch lighter in body than scotch, therefore, we’d normally suggest pairing this spirit with a mellow cigar that adorns some tasting notes of wood and earth.
Much like bourbon is made with over 50% corn, rye whiskey is produced with at least 51% rye. While it possesses similar distilling qualities when compared with bourbon, rye may have a spicier sip to it, so we’d suggest pairing with a medium-bodied cigar with some spice.
Seeing that Scotch whisky or scotch is normally made with either malt or grain and aged in oak barrels, we’d suggest pairing the spirit with a medium to full-bodied cigar that also attains some essence of that woody tasting note characteristic.
Find your perfect whiskey or whisky and cigar pairing
Not certain of what cigar and whiskey will suit your tastes? Check out our Find Your Perfect Cigar feature below.
What’s your favorite whiskey or whisky to pair with cigars?
We hope you enjoyed the read, and if you have any perfect cigar and whiskey or whisky pairings, let us know in the comments below!