Pairing Cigars with Whisky – The Ultimate Guide

Whisky and cigar pairing

If you want to know more about whisky and cigar pairing, you came to the right place. Through the years, we’ve taste-tested many whiskies and smoked our fair share of cigars.

When you find the key to pairing both full-bodied or light-bodied whisky with your favorite brand of cigars, you’ll realize just how good life truly is!

We’ve all heard how Winston Churchill was famously known for his whisky and cigar pairing in the early hours, but knowing which taste compliments the other is key to satisfaction.

Below we will dive deep into whisky and cigar pairing, revealing which flavours work well together and how you can find the perfect match every time you pour a glass.

Gentleman seated at a table with a glass of whisky and a cigar

 

The Ultimate Guide To Whisky And Cigar Pairing

Some people relish the discussion of whether you should focus more on your whisky versus the taste of your cigar, but in all honesty, people have favorites when it comes to both.

In fact, the prices of some cigars could certainly warrant that they should be the leader in the discussion. But, we shouldn’t rule out that many fine whiskies also can come with a high price tag. This is why whisky and cigar pairing is such an ongoing discussion; many experts on both sides don’t agree with each other when it comes to this debate.

However, one thing we can all agree on is the importance of knowing how whisky and cigar pairing works. If you love a bold and spicy whisky, then choosing an earthier cigar or one that is on the sweeter side will always complement each other.

The opposite works for spicier cigars, which pairs nicely with a whisky that has heavy notes of caramel. Now, this may not work for all taste palates since personal preferences will always play a part. But you can safely serve the above without hesitation.

 

Experience Matters

If you haven’t tasted the whisky before that you are looking to pair with a cigar that you’ve never smoked before; it’s always better to get a little taste before making a decision.

If you can’t taste it first, such as the case in a bar or restaurant, then do a little research before making a selection. It’s always best to choose the type of whisky you want prior to selecting a cigar.

You can easily do an online search for the tasting notes of any whisky and cigar pairing that you are considering. There are plenty of reviews out there that can help you get a better understanding of the taste.

This can also help you avoid making the wrong combination and missing out on the enjoyment factor. A glass of whisky is meant to invoke pleasure, as does smoking the perfect Habano.

pairing whisky and cigar

 

Choosing Whisky

When it comes to whisky and cigar pairing, you need to have a few different choices on hand, unless you have a distinct preference in taste. If not, then choose some flavor profiles that vary from bold to mild.

The sweeter the whisky, the easier it will be on your palate. If you like a rich and full-bodied classic flavor, you could always start with Jim Bean Black. Sure, it’s a more common brand, but it did win the gold medal at the NY International Spirits Competition in 2017.

You don’t want to dive straight into your collection of OBAN or Lagavulin if this is your first rodeo with pairing your cigars with your whisky. Take your time and experiment with the various flavors of a few different brands.

 

Choosing Cigars

If you don’t have a favorite cigar or haven’t tried various types, now is an excellent time to visit your local cigar shop and talk with a tobacconist. They will be able to match your personal preferences with the perfect flavors.

Experimenting with different cigars can go one of two ways:

  1. You learn a hard lesson and ask a tobacconist next time for insights, or…
  2. You get lucky and find the perfect cigar for your taste.

Either way, it’s always wise to know upfront the cigar’s taste before pairing it with any whiskies. When you first cut a cigar, you won’t know the real taste until it has a chance to settle.

You should consider keeping notes on the different types of cigars you try; this will help you pair your cigars better with whisky in the future.

Simply jot down the name (brand), line, and the shape (size) of each cigar. Add a few notes about the taste and what you noticed about it, such as sweet, spicy, smokey, creamy, etc.

Cigar next to a glass and bottle of whisky

 

How To Find The Right Whisky and Cigar Pairing

The best way to find the right pairing for your liking is to stick with one kind of whisky and then try a few different types of cigars. This will eliminate variables to come into play with all the different notes that whiskies can offer.

Once you have established a whisky and cigar pairing that suits you, you can easily try the same cigar with a similar whisky that shares the same types of notes.

For example, if you find a hot and spicy whisky that pairs well with your favorite cigar, then other bottles in the same family should also complement that particular cigar.

It’s imperative to keep notes while testing the different cigars and whiskies. This way you can compare your findings to new bottles of whisky or cigars.

Once you find the perfect combination, you can easily stick within that format and keep the taste similar within your choices. It will also help you when you’re at a lounge or restaurant and you want to enjoy a Habano with a glass of whisky.

 

Note: Search your local area for whisky tastings that you can attend for a nominal fee. This is one of the best ways to sample whisky you normally wouldn’t purchase. It’s also a great way to learn more about different whiskies and their origins.  

You can also sign up to our Whisky Subscription and get different samples every month!

 

Top Suggestions

The possibilities are endless when it comes to choosing the perfect combination of whisky and cigars. It’s something that can take a long time before you find the right taste.

If you have no idea where to begin, then below we have our top suggestions for pairing some of the best combinations.

  • Woodford Reserve » La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor
  • Eagle Rare » San Cristobal Revelation
  • Jim Beam » Punch
  • Booker’s » My Father Le Bijou 1922
  • Basil Hayden’s » Montecristo
  • Bulleit » Oliva Melanio Maduro
  • Wild Turkey 101 » Rocky Patel The Edge
  • Maker’s Mark » Cohiba
  • Knob Creek » Padron 1964 Anniversary
  • Buffalo Trace » Romeo y Julieta 1875
  • Angel’s Envy Cask Strength » Arturo Fuente Anejo
  • Blanton » Ashton VSG

Last, by not least, the Cuban Cohiba pairs nicely with any Single Malt Whiskey, Bourbon, or Rum. You could smoke this favorite with a nice glass of port as well.

We suggest trying as many pairings as possible to get the full experience of how a good cigar can complement a nice glass of whiskey.

 

Conclusion 

Finding the perfect whisky and cigar pairing can be a fun experiment for people who love to spend an evening tasting a variety of flavors. However, once you find the right combination, you’ll probably always go back to it. 

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