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Cigar Pairings

8 Best Scotch & Cigar Pairings

Holt's Staff Cigar's picture

Holt's Staff

Scotch and cigars were born for one another. They go well together because we access nuances of taste and aroma in both single malts and premium tobaccos. The recipes behind the best scotch and cigars are created over the course of decades if not generations. The finished product is often aged for years before its released for sale.

Getting out to indulge at a nice cigar bar can represent a rare occasion these days due to ubiquitous smoking bans and a lack of quality cigar-friendly establishments. However, when you do uncover the opportunity to imbibe in cigars and scotch during a night out, or even if you’re simply chilling in your man cave or backyard, you’ll want to know what whiskey and cigars pair the best.

We’ve provided a roadmap of specific pairings designed to reveal the amazing harmony scotch and cigars share when complementary profiles tag-team your senses. Check out our menu of the best cigars to smoke with scotch.

Ashton VSG & Lagavulin 16 Year

ashton vsg and lagavulin 16 year

Distilled on the Islay, Lagavulin 16 is a potent scotch that bears an amplified profile of smoked butter, peat and a touch of hickory that is pronounced, but hard not to love. We paired it with Ashton VSG, a strong powerhouse in a similar value stratum as Lagavulin. The huskiness of the scotch draws out the notes of earth, cedar and spice VSG generates and gives them fuller exposure to your palate. Whenever I indulge in these two behemoths, I find myself reliving the aftertaste for hours afterwards.

Padron 1926 Series & Springbank 15 Year

padron 1926 series and springbank 15 year

Springback 15 is made on the coast of Campeltown and contains textures of brine and peat. Springback 15 is more intense than Highland Park, but with fewer sherry characteristics. It goes great with the world-class Padron 1926 Series. Both are full-bodied and create a great syncopation of dried fruits and nuts that we can’t get enough of. Leather, black cherries, coffee and cashews teem from the all-Nicaraguan profile of Padron and meld evenly with the organic zest of marzipan, figs and cocoa generated by Springbank 15. If you just received your annual work bonus and want to celebrate, we think Springbank and Padron 1926 Series deserve your attention.

San Cristobal & Talisker Storm

san cristobal and talisker storm

Talisker Storm is a Viking maelstrom of spice and smoke distilled on the Isle of Skye. This is an intense scotch with big, bold flavors of oak and peat. If you are taking a dive into this dense drink, we suggest taking San Cristobal along as your scuba partner. The cigar is a full-bodied Nicaraguan gem, rife with pleasant notes of coffee and cherry that sandbag the fervor of Talisker Storm. San Cristobal also contains flavors of wood and leather that grow more pronounced with the peaty zest that emanates from the scotch. Extensively aged tobaccos reveal a treasure trove of taste for the senses. Prepare for an evening of pure reflection with this potent after-dinner pairing. San Cristobal and Talisker Storm easily fit in near a fireplace and a deep conversation.

Oliva Master Blends & Glenlivet Nadurra Oloroso

oliva master blends and glenlivet nadurra oloroso

Glenlivet Nadurra Olorosso has been heavily aged in first-fill oloroso sherry casks, imbuing the unadulterated whiskey with a heavy sherry influence. When paired with Oliva Master Blends 3, the fruity voltage of Glenlivet catalyzes the smoldering notes of brown sugar from Oliva to come out to play. Both are rich, full-bodied experiences, and when consumed together, they create a spicy, creamy amalgam that really awakens the senses. Add a bite of high quality dark chocolate to the mix for an added layer of rich, disarming taste.

La Aroma de Cuba Noblesse & Macallan 18 Year

la aroma de cuba noblesse and macallan 18 year

Macallan 18 is a representative of the famous Speyside distillery and is aged in selected sherry oak casks from Spain. A jamboree of smoke, autumn fruit and spice emerges on the tongue from Macallan 18. We paired it with the equally illustrious La Aroma de Cuba Noblesse. The cigar’s Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos rest beneath a vintage Cuban-seed wrapper blended by Jose ‘Pepin’ Garcia. Noblesse meets the buttery profile of the Macallan on even ground. Syrupy notes of apple strudel and gingerbread in Macallan elevate the creamy, floral textures of spice and almonds Noblesse possesses.

Rocky Patel Decade & Dalmore 12 Year 

rocky patel decade and dalmore 12 year

Dalmore 12 is fully aged for nine years in American white oak, ex-bourbon casks. Then, half of it is taken to age in ex-oloroso sherry casks for the next three years. It’s sweet, but not peaty, and robust with a slight sherry influence. This is a good cigar scotch, and we’ve paired it with Rocky Patel Decade for its rich, dynamic transitions of flavor. They both contain lots of flavor. Notes of marzipan and citrus in the scotch balance the flavors of almonds, black cherries and spices Rocky Patel Decade exudes. The smooth profile of Dalmore eases snugly into the cool, spicy draws Decade furnishes.

My Father Le Bijou 1922 & Bowmore 15 Year 

my father le bijou 1922 and bowmore 15 year

Bowmore 15 is made near Loch Indaal in the famous Islay distillery and is aged in Oloroso sherry casks, which give the scotch a rev of syrup and apricot. There’s also a potent note of gingerbread spice. We smoked it with My Father Le Bijou 1922. Among Pepin Garcia’s most forward blends, Le Bijou 1922 is known for generating powerful waves of black pepper, coffee beans and spices that maneuver smoothly under the pronounced imprint of Bowmore. Peated notes of black licorice and cinnamon from Bowmore edge into the ferocious richness of a lustrous Oscuro wrapper on Le Bijou 1922.

Fuente Fuente Opus X & Oban 18 Year

 fuente fuente opus x and oban 18 year

Fuente Fuente Opus X is a supremely rare, legendary smoke known for its boldness. A focus on potent Ligero tobaccos from the Dominican Republic characterizes Opus X with a profound spice and a chewy, savory finish. If you’re going to drink something with it, you definitely want something with some backbone. Oban 18 gets the job done. It projects wafts of sea air and toffee that tether the profusion of spice Opus X is notorious for. Oban 18 supplies buttery notes of vanilla and wild berries that rest nicely on the tongue with the rich signature of dried fruit, figs and black pepper that define Opus X. Be warned: this pairing isn’t for the faint of heart. But for those adventurous enough to try, you’ll be rewarded with a luxurious fusion of well-balanced profiles you’ll want to savor endlessly.

What are some of your favorite cigar and scotch pairings or experiences? Share in the comments below.

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