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Cigar Pairings

Best Cognac & Cigar Pairings

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

Cognac and cigars trace a wealth of parallels for those who define indulgence through taste. History, provenance, patience, aroma, seduction, flavor, and exhilaration converge in an expression that elevates the moment for both lovers of premium cigars and vintage spirits. Fine cigars and cognac adhere to uncompromising protocols, achieved only over the passage of much time and under the caring, meticulous guidance of a master. This common heritage could not better welcome a marriage of traditions that mirror one another so gracefully.

Cognac is a type of brandy, as well as the region in France where it is produced. For some, sipping a cognac with a cigar is a simple means to relax in the middle of the week, however, for many a more serious occasion is at play. We’ve compiled a tidy list of the best cognac and cigar pairings for your next celebration.

#1 - Remy Martin Louis XIII & Fuente Fuente Opus X BBMF

If you’ve got a money-is-no-object budget or a black Amex burning a hole in your money clip, Remy Martin Louis XIII and Fuente Fuente Opus X BBMF spell out extravagance in a manner that’s tough to top. Access to select purveyors of cigars and spirits is requisite for this mission. The typical corner shop or watering hole isn’t likely to stock these bastions of lavishness in the cabinet. But rest assured, they do exist and you can get your hands on them at top-shelf establishments. Tighten up your cummerbund.

Louis XIII Cellar Master Baptiste Loiseau channels the prowess of four previous generations of Cellar Masters in guiding the brand’s immense and precise tradition today. Over 1,200 grapes and thousands of eaux-de-vie are meticulously matured for many decades to create a breathtaking profile of jasmine, ripened plums, vanilla, wood and honeysuckle. Its complexity is simply immeasurable. A patient swirl in the glass reveals flamboyant golden legs that are firm and oily as they trace the curve back into a marvelous and reflective pool of mahogany and copper hues. Its viscosity is purely unrushed. Nutmeg, cinnamon, plum, honey, and dried roses inhabit a long, lingering first taste. Notes of vanilla and oak sustain a delicate tapestry that does not shy. Because so much is at stake in bringing the opulent taste of Louis XIII to life, it’s worthwhile to consider the best way to drink cognac before you dive in.    

In my Fuente Fuente Opus X BBMF staff review, you can explore a detailed portrait of this unicorn and find out why it fits in so great with vintage cognac. Legendary cigar-maker Carlito Fuente permits only the oldest leaves from his prized Chateau de la Fuente estates to form the generous dimensions of this bulbous Figurado. The patience is tasted in an ultra-rare expression articulated by select master cigar rollers who are senior in their craft. The succulent and glistening Rosado wrapper is neatly dressed with a Maduro leaf at the foot and the head, which erupts with a few wild locks of loose tobacco. A faintly glazed quality lends the wrapper leaf its lustrous mahogany sheen.

The cold unlit aroma smells of leather and old library with a raisin-like sweetness. Its essence mesmerizes as you spin the cigar over to marvel at its ornate double bands and the iconic red, gold, orange, and black Opus X emblem. Once lit, a bouquet of spice, cinnamon, cedar, and raisins seduces the palate in cool, creamy draws. Because BBMF is a densely wound shape, its initial draws arrive with a measured cadence.

Chewy notes of spice and wood in Opus X cut through and join the floral-and-candied-fruit character of Louis XIII in a harmonious display. Jasmine, cedar, honey and almonds captivate effortlessly. Simply pushing the smoke out through your nose amplifies terrific spices. With so much refinement at play, indulge gradually. Restraint is key as Opus X promises a potent crescendo with its intense Ligero-laden interior. Notes of fresh-cut pears and barrel oak arrive in a grand fashion as Louis XIII mingles in a cohesive exchange with the smoky old-world legacy of Opus X.

You won’t want to travel far with gentle sips of Louis XIII resonating as you draw your Opus X BBMF toward its close. We’re confident you’ll be sitting pretty right where you are for some time.

#2 - Hennessy Paradis & Ashton Symmetry Sublime

Multiple dimensions come together wonderfully with Hennessy Paradis and Ashton Symmetry Sublime. Another pair of top-shelf classics deliver an exquisite reciprocation of sweet and spicy notes with marvelous balance.

Ashton Symmetry is drafted from a superior recipe of the finest premium aged tobaccos grown by world-renowned cigar-maker Carlito Fuente. A glistening Cuban-seed Rosado wrapper leaf, chosen from select harvests in Ecuador, embraces a distinctive marriage of rare Dominican and Nicaraguan tobaccos. Red, blue, white, and gold comprise a vibrant, Renaissance-styled brand logo on the band while a bouquet of cedar, figs, coffee beans, and dried fruit blossoms from the unlit Toro-sized cigar.

Hennessy Paradis arrives with an appropriate pedigree cultivated from the finest, rarest, and oldest eaux-de-vie in Hennessy cellars. A dark amber hue displays patient golden-glassy legs. Aromas of caramels, rum-soaked raisins, plums, prunes, molasses, and cinnamon blossom. Paradis is reminiscent of a vintage sherried scotch with soft, velvety texture in lieu of gustiness. Floral and fruity notes include plum, apricot, and jasmine in the initial sips with hints of walnuts and spices on the backend.

Full-bodied and refined, Ashton Symmetry boasts divine spices, fresh-cut cedar, and leather with a touch of dried fruit. Notes of raisins, coffee beans, and figs emerge with edges of cayenne and black pepper that match up charmingly with the tastes of caramel and toasted truffles Paradis reveals. A fragrant succession inhabits every corner of the palate with an undeniable softness. The cognac ushers darker fruit notes of plum and grape in the midst of Symmetry’s chewy, hearth-like spices and abundant texture. If you’re not completely absorbed in the moment by the conclusion of Ashton Symmetry and Hennessy Paradis, it may be worthwhile considering a different past time.

#3 - Courvoisier XO & Oliva Serie V Melanio Figurado

Courvoisier XO is an elegant partner for the recently anointed classic, Oliva Serie V Melanio Figurado. In the cognac world, XO refers to “Extra Old” and the designation is given only to cognacs created from eaux-de-vie aged for a minimum of 6 years. In the case of Courvoisier XO, however, its precious eaux-de-vie have been matured from 11 to 25 years to achieve an impeccable richness. An exotic profile of crème brûlée, vanilla, and candied oranges distinguishes Courvoisier with a delightful, rounded finesse.

Oliva Serie V Melanio Figurado is well-known among connoisseurs as Cigar Aficionado’s 96-rated “#1 Cigar of the Year” from 2014. The cigar’s acclaim continues thanks to this box-pressed Figurado’s formal attire with a caramel-hued Cuban-seed wrapper grown in Ecuador and an all-Nicaraguan interior of woody, aged tobaccos. Sharply pressed corners concentrate rich approachable spices in a profile of fresh ground coffee, cedar, chestnuts, and almonds.  

Courvoisier XO reveals an enticing aroma of violets and lavender with rich notes of citrus. A candied zest blankets the palate and absorbs the senses seamlessly. Anticipate a marvel of soft textures from Courvoisier’s glowing copper and burnished brown hues. Oliva Serie V Melanio develops with a seductive, dry and smoky contrast to the cognac’s more floral notes of hard candies. Serie V Melanio unfolds in an array of cocoa, coffee with cream, and baking spices that intensify carefully without swaying. Traces of minerals, leather, and earth stimulate and blend in with Courvoisier’s refined sweetness.

A long and lingering finish resonates with notes of orange peel, caramel, and Melanio’s smoldering dusty textures. There’s no need to await a recommendation from the maître d’ when Oliva Serie V Melanio and Courvoisier XO are on the menu.

#4 - Drouet XO Ulysse & La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor Belicoso

La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor Belicoso is blended by award-winning cigar-maker Jose ‘Pepin’ Garcia to an intricate standard which earned a 95-point rating and Cigar Aficionado’s “#2 Cigar of the Year” honors following its debut. Its versatile profile attracts a number of cigar lovers with precise but varying preferences. Mi Amor is drawn from a glistening San Andrés wrapper and carefully chosen binder and filler tobaccos harvested from select Garcia family estates in Nicaragua.

Drouet XO Ulysse is an entirely fitting companion with eaux-de-vie aged for an average of 20 years in vintage French oak barrels that impart a magnificent background of wood and tobacco notes. An intoxicating aroma of ripened plums, cinnamon, and citrus emerge from the dark, coppery and mahogany hues Drouet displays in the glass. Its gentle intensity releases notes of leather, dried fruit, and spices with incredible softness.

La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor delivers a wealth of transitions that match up. A profile of cracked black pepper, almonds, espresso beans, and cocoa marks a balanced and tasteful journey. Rarely does a cigar emanate with such surprising and wonderful dimension. The soft box-pressed Belicoso format delicately concentrates a myriad of flavors that inhabit a wide spectrum of sweetness and spice. The complexity found in Drouet XO mirrors Mi Amor with graceful traces of hazelnuts, vanilla and an earthy, sweet aplomb.

Dazzle your senses with the distinctive and undulating hallmarks La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor and Drouet XO Ulysse deliver.

#5 - Martell Cordon Bleu & Rocky Patel Vintage 1990 Toro

Rocky Patel Vintage 1990 Toro is a cornerstone in Rocky Patel’s vast cigar portfolio. A toothy Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper marries a medium-bodied amalgam of distinct tobaccos from the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. Notes of dark chocolate, pine nuts, almonds, and espresso beans traverse this Toro’s cool, even-burning draws.

Martell Cordon Bleu explodes with candied apple, plum, and mocha notes in a silky, disarming profile. It’s considered a staple for all lovers of cognac and is distinct with a touch of tannins on the finish and knock-out flavors that are shy of overbearing. Oily, floral, and fragrant, Martell Cordon Bleu elevates the earthy intensity of Vintage 1990 with soft traces of blueberry, gingerbread, and roasted honey. Its brilliant topaz shade shows off striking legs that carefully recede into the glass.

A buttery potpourri of jasmine, apricot, and dried rose petals in Martell melds with Rocky Patel’s signature of woody, lingering spices. Aromas of campfire embers and sugar toast meet in a mouthwatering conclusion.

Martell Cellar Mater Christophe Valtaud and veteran cigar-maker Rocky Patel cross paths in a pairing that reflects consistency, tradition, and an inimitable adherence to brand legacy.

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