As many of the JR fans know, I am a huge bourbon drinker. While I am not on the level of the bourbon connoisseurs you’ll find at your local millennial bar, I have a decent palate and have found some great gems at my local liquor store. I’ve decided to bring my two passions together and offer up a top-notch pairing list for you guys. Let’s take a look at my top 5 favorite Bourbon and Cigar pairings.
Eagle Rare 10 Year Old Bourbon & Laranja Reserva
Eagle Rare is a member of the first family of whiskey. They are crafted by Buffalo trace, who, along with its name brands, is also responsible for the legendary Pappy Van Winkle. It has a heritage and tradition of fine American bourbons. It is soft and slightly sweet with an orange zest aroma that continues into your first sips. Being the dominant orange themed cigar, Laranja is an easy matchup for this. I’d recommend this pairing on a nice spring day.
Michters US 1 American & Sobremesa Brulee
Michters American might be my favorite whiskey of all time. Although it’s not technically a bourbon, for an actual technical reason, it is incredibly smooth, has great vanilla and nutty sweetness and has a great price. I buy a bottle every time I see it, as it’s pretty hard to find at a liquor store. What was tough in this pairing was I knew it had to be a top-notch Connecticut, which I usually don’t smoke. However, the new Sobremesa Brulee from Dunbarton Tobacco was just perfect. It is smooth, creamy, flavorful with near-perfect construction. Its Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper gives it that mellow creamy touch while the Mexican binder adds in some rich nutty flavor. This is a great pairing anytime.
Blantons Original Single Barrel & Montecristo Cincuenta
Every time I go to my local water hole, I ask if they have Blantons. Some days I get a yes, more often I get a know. But on those yes days, I am more excited than a kid on Christmas. It is an exquisite bourbon, made it limited batches making it harder to find. It was originally created only to be given to foreign ambassadors and dignities, and when you taste it you will see why. It is incredibly well balanced with notes of caramel, roasted nuts, and an underlying sweetness. This whiskey required a cigar that is both distinguished and flavorful, so I picked the brand new Montecristo Cincuenta. Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Altadis factory, this limited edition uses a complex blend of tobaccos from the DR, Nicaragua an Ecuador for a smooth yet flavorful smoke. Honestly, this is the best Montecristo I’ve ever smoked.
Basil Haydens Kentucky Straight Bourbon & Crowned Heads CHC Reserve XVII
Basil Hayden has become a more recent favorite of mine. A bottle was gifted to me during the holidays by a dear friend. He used to be an acquaintance, but after gifting me the luscious notes of Basil for the first time, he is now in my wedding party. It is an almost perfect whiskey for the fan of a little more body. It has a great spice to it but it is not overbearing. It is well balanced with a dry finish and notes of spice and leather. The Crowned Heads CHC Reserve was a no brainer for this pairing. It is well balanced with a dash of pepper, sweet spice and a subtle almond and leather note as well. I think this is the best cigar that E.P. Carrillo has made for the Crowned heads team and it deserves one of the best bourbons on the market.
Colonel E. H. Taylor Barrel Proof Bourbon & Southern Draw Jacobs Ladder
This was a tough pairing to figure out. I knew I had to find a bourbon for Jacob’s Ladder, but its strength and smoky notes make it better for a scotch… that was until I was handed a bottle of Colonel E.H. Taylor. The Barrel Proof is strong, flavorful and complex. It has rich notes of coffee and spice and a slow burn that makes you feel alive again. Now light up a Jacobs Ladder with its double Ligero and Pennsylvania broadleaf wrapper and you have an intense pairing that’ll put some hair on your chest. Side note, make sure you eat before you enjoy these items or at least sit down.