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Maker’s Mark & Cigar Pairings

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

Bourbon and cigars are as American as baseball. And few bourbons are better known than Maker’s Mark. The brand’s iconic red wax bottle neck can be found on a shelf in nearly every bar from Maine to California. Brand founder Bill Samuels Sr. substituted red winter wheat for rye in an original recipe the company has followed since 1953. The classic profile is bottled at the historic Maker’s distillery in Loretto, Kentucky, where Bill Samuel Sr.’s grandson, Rob Samuels, oversees a whisky-making legacy that goes back several generations. The soft signature of Maker’s Mark bourbon gladdens the palate with a sweet and thrilling bite that fits perfectly beside the taste of a premium cigar. Here are five great Maker’s Mark and cigar pairings to consider when you’re ready to crack a new bottle open.


1.  Maker’s Mark & La Aroma de Cuba

A well-established profile of caramel, vanilla, and wood with a hint of fruit characterizes the original Maker’s Mark. A sweet nose of brown sugar, vanilla, and oak evens out the bourbon’s 90-proof intensity when it’s first poured. A polished finish resonates with roasted nuts, toffee, and cinnamon. The company’s use of iron-free water from its limestone-filtered spring-fed lake and its insistence on barrel rotation during the aging process contribute to the consistent and natural taste of Maker’s Mark.

La Aroma de Cuba delivers a blend of sweetness and spices in an excellent cigar to smoke with Maker’s Mark. A toothy Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper embraces a select interior of premium Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos blended by Jose ‘Pepin’ Garcia. Tasting notes of cocoa, cedar, brown sugar, and black pepper layer the palate in a bestselling Cuban-legacy brand. Its woody, medium-bodied taste makes for an accessible and affordable pairing with a glass of classic Maker’s Mark.

2.  Maker’s Mark 46 & Ashton Aged Maduro

Maker’s Mark 46 is a bit bigger and more pronounced at 94 proof. French oak staves are inserted into the barrels which are aged at cooler temperatures. Notes of caramel and wood emerge in the nose while a deep and buttery palate of fresh bread, caramel, and baking spices fills out the profile nicely. Smoky notes of tobacco, rum, and leather sink in throughout the finish.

Ashton Aged Maduro enhances Maker’s Mark 46 with a velvety profile of dark chocolate, molasses, and maple with hints of signature Dominican spices. Creamy and succulent aroma fills the nostrils without overpowering the natural intensity and sweetness of the bourbon. Legendary cigar-maker Carlito Fuente blends Ashton Aged Maduro from an exclusive combination of well-aged Dominican long-fillers and a dark and lustrous Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper in a collection of traditional shapes.

3.  Maker’s Mark Cask Strength & My Father Le Bijou 1922

A bracing and forward profile of caramel, vanilla, and smoke kicks in up front in Maker’s Mark Cask Strength. At 108 to 114 proof, it commands the senses quickly but maintains a sweet reference point with a much longer finish. Robust notes of cinnamon and vanilla blossom across the palate while aromas of oak and charcoal carry through the nose.

My Father Le Bijou 1922 is a formidable cigar to smoke with Maker’s Cask Strength because it’s sharp and spicy taste is never overwhelmed. An oily Ecuador Habano wrapper leaf conceals a potent blend of premium Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos in five traditional formats. Father-and-son cigar-makers Pepin Garcia and Jaime Garcia earned 97 points and Cigar Aficionado’s ‘#1 Cigar of the Year’ title in 2015 for the full-bodied and peppery taste of My Father Le Bijou.

4.  ​Maker’s Mark Private Selection & Arturo Fuente Hemingway

Explore the signature flavors achieved by adding ten custom wood finishing staves to each barrel of Maker’s Mark Private Selection. This limited edition bourbon is aged for around six to seven years in a limestone cellar for an entirely unique flavor. Private Selection is available in select markets. Tasting notes include roasted oak tannins, fresh citrus, vanilla buttercream, hot bread, honey, and cocoa powder, but they will vary by batch.

A collection of flawlessly handmade Figurados is blended by Carlito Fuente in several sizes in Arturo Fuente Hemingway. An authentic Cameroon wrapper leaf cradles a luscious interior of Dominican binder and filler tobaccos crafted by senior cigar-rollers. Tasting notes of cedar, baking spices, and roasted nuts display sweet and zesty hints around the edges. The consistent, medium-bodied finish of Hemingway guarantees to cross paths perfectly with a variety of Maker’s Mark Private Selection profiles. Sip it neat for optimal taste.

​5.  Maker’s Mark Wood Finishing Series & Padron 1964 Anniversary Maduro

Maker’s Mark Wood Finishing Series is an annual limited release that varies in flavor depending on the proprietary wood staves selected for the whisky’s barrel-aging process. The bourbon remains true to its sweet and buttery roots of caramel and vanilla notes, but accents of coffee beans, pepper, and jasmine are introduced before a long and rounded finish lingers. The distinctive taste of the Wood Finishing Series is defined by added layers of complexity in a classic bourbon.

The top-rated profile of Padron 1964 Anniversary Maduro is drawn from vintage Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos beneath a select Nicaraguan Maduro wrapper in several sharp box-pressed formats. Its illustrious and substantial profile of cedar, cayenne, dark cocoa, and spices is a worthy companion for a small-batch bourbon. A rich and creamy finish resonates with sweet, leathery texture guaranteed to complement the Wood Finishing Series from Maker’s Mark.

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