A while back Anthony at CigarsCity.com reached out to gauge my interest in writing a whiskey and cigar pairing article. I’m not really a cigar smoker, as I’ve only had a handful of them over the years. Cigars and whiskey pair together really well, as they share a lot of similar tasting notes. They seem to have been made for each other. Anthony offered to send over a few cigars. In the spirit of research, I thought, “Why not? Let’s do it.”
From the start, I decided to stick to American whiskies for these pairings. I either picked a whiskey that shared one or more of the tasting notes with the cigar, or a whiskey that would compliment the cigar.
Rocky Patel Fusion
This medium-full bodied cigar had cocoa, pepper and earthy notes, and uses an Ecuadorian Sun Grown wrapper. I tend to get a cocoa note from some older whiskies. Here, I paired this cigar with Elijah Craig 18-year. It’s sweet woodiness and long finish fit nicely with the slightly spicy Rocky Patel Fusion.
My Father Connecticut
A milder stick that uses Connecticut Shade as its wrapper, My Father Connecticut was described to me as earthy and nutty, with a white pepper note. With that description I went straight for Basil Hayden. The bourbon, produced by Jim Beam, has a high percentage of rye in it’s mashbill. It’s also bottled at a low 80 proof. It paired with My Father Connecticut beautifully. Neither overpowered the other.
Camacho Ditka Signature
Anthony threw this cigar in the mix because Mike Ditka once coached the New Orleans Saints. God, I still can’t erase that image of Ditka and Ricky Williams in a wedding dress. Anyway, this stick features Honduran Criollo as a wrapper and is medium to full bodied. Tasting notes here are black pepper, cream and fruit sweetness. I had to find something that can stand up to those big flavors, and went with Pikesville Rye. This 110 proof offering from Heaven Hill has a beautiful sweet and spicy combination of flavors, and is strong enough to handle the Ditka Signature.
Crowned Heads Jericho Hill
In terms of strength, Crowned Heads Jericho Hill sits right in the middle of the pack as a medium-bodied cigar. It uses Mexican San Andres as its wrapper, and carries cocoa, buttery notes with earth and honey. I paired this stick with Blanton’s. The whisky is nicely rounded – not too sweet, spicy or woody. Again, attributes that didn’t compete with the cigar, but rather complimented them.
Full-bodied, Montecristo Platinum features strong wood notes and some sweetness. A cigar with a personality this big deserves a giant bourbon, and there’s no stronger bourbon readily available than Booker’s. It’s vanilla and barrel char notes compliment the cigar’s flavors without overpowering. My favorite pairing of the bunch.
Thanks to Anthony at CigarsCity.com for the cigars!