Best Scotch and Cigar Pairings
The art of pairing a cigar can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. It could be as easy as smoking a cigar you like with a drink you like and calling it a day.
It also could be an in-depth experience in which you carefully match up the flavor profiles and overall characteristics of the cigar with the drink in great detail. There are no losers in the pairing game, as long as you are enjoying yourself.
However, for the connoisseur looking to truly optimize their experience, examining the details of each item can take your pairing to the next level. This is what our pairing articles are written for, to help heighten the experience.
For this particular pairing, we are looking at one of the most distinguished and beloved pairing partners for a cigar — scotch whiskey. And of course, we have put together a great sampler for you to purchase below.
Scotch and Cigar Pairings Explained
For centuries, scotch has been the drink of the connoisseur. Its history, pedigree, and prestige have made it not only the beverage of choice for high society but also a natural partner for a fine cigar.
Scotch is among the most popular pairing whiskeys for a cigar. This is due to the similarities in their flavors, characteristics, and overall style.
Today, we are going to look at a wide variety of top-notch cigar and scotch pairings, so stay with us and find our most recommended cigar and scotch pairings.
Famous Black Grouse and the Dunbarton Sobremesa
This is what I like to call the connoisseur’s choice. Famous Black Grouse may not have the name notoriety of other scotch whiskeys, but true scotch drinks know it well. It is actually among the most ordered scotches in its homeland, Scotland.
The Famous Grouse is a blended tipple that is a mixture of single malt scotch from The Highland Park and The McCallan. It is perfectly balanced and combines the slight peat flavor of the Highland Park with the fruity and sweet taste of the McCallan.
For this, I went with the original Sobremesa from Steve Saka and his team at Dunbarton Tobacco and Trust. This is another connoisseur’s choice, a favorite among experienced cigar smokers. It is a solid medium-full bodied smoke with rich flavors and a smooth aroma. The Scotch drinker’s scotch deserves the cigar smoker’s cigar.
Oban 14 and Henry Clay War Hawk
Like cigars, Scotch tastes and characteristics vary depending on the region and manufacturer. Take Oban, for instance. Oban is one of the premier Scotches to come out of the Highland region of Scotland.
Distillers from the Highlands tend to be rich, sweet and incredibly flavorful. That is exactly what you get with the Oban 14. It is medium in body and is rich and sweet, with a slight smoky undertone.
In this pairing, I went for something with similar flavor notes, but slightly less strong, so as not to overpower the whiskey. The 93 rated Henry Clay War Hawk proved a perfect match. Its broadleaf binder combined with a smooth Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper makes for a rich, slightly sweet, and smooth cigar.
Glenlivet 18 and an Ashton Maduro
Glenlivet is the gold standard for premium, single malt scotch. It hails from the Speyside region of Scotland, which is renowned for the quality and abundance of its natural water.
The Glenlivet 18, one of the most acclaimed single malts in the world, is in my mind one of the best scotches you will ever try. It is light and smooth in body but rich and sweet in flavor with a hint of chocolate, nuts, and leather.
For a pairing, I wanted something that emulated the smooth characteristics, as well as that natural sweetness. I went with one of my first loves, the Ashton Aged Maduro.
This is the perfect example of a dark cigar that is mellow in body. Rich notes of coffee and chocolate combine with a creamy and smooth aroma to create a well-balanced and delicious pairing.
High West Campfire and Oliva Serie V Melanio
The keyword for this pairing is simply complexity. I have paired two of the most unique, flavorful, and complex products to offer you a roller coaster of an experience. Starting with the whiskey, we have the Campfire from High West.
This unique whiskey is actually a triple blend of straight rye, straight bourbon, and blended malt Scotch whisky. It may be one of the first drinks of its kind. It is amazingly complex that starts off sweet, peaks with a spice, and then ends smooth and smoky.
When I think of complexity and flavor changers, I immediately think of the Oliva Serie V Melanio. The spice from the Ecuador Habano starts off intense but is eventually supplanted by a distinct leather and sweet note from the Jalapa tobaccos.
Each puff offers something different, as does each sip of the High West. Buckle up for this one, folks.
Yamazaki and Arturo Fuente Don Carlos
For the past decade or so, the Japanese malt whiskey industry has been a thorn in Scotland’s side.
While it cannot technically be called scotch, because it needs to be made in Scotland, distillers like Yamazaki has won best Malt Whiskey awards for several years and beating Scotland at a game it invented.
Now, while I will always have a love and affection for the original, I have to say the Yamazaki is absolutely delicious. It is smooth but with rich characteristics such as wood, leather, and earth with a slightly nutty undertone.
While sipping the whiskey, there was one tobacco that I knew would pair perfectly… Cameroon. So, I went the high end and legendary Arturo Fuente Don Carlos.
Its aged Dominican tobaccos give it a smooth yet nutty center, while its toothy Cameroon wrapper adds in touches of leather, a slight spice, and oak.