Cigar Pairings

Finest Tequila & Cigar Pairings

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

Ahhh. Tequila. A zippy spirit closely associated with margaritas, when you’re not slinging it back in a narrow shot glass, battles a reputation for getting us trashed quickly. After lapping up salt from the back of your hand and swigging back an icy swill as you punctuate the ritual by sucking on a slice of lime, it’s hard to image tequila in a candlelight setting. However, tequila has come a long way in today’s spirits landscape. No longer is it simply a chilled, cringe-worthy shot we take on a bender with our pals.

Tequila possesses romance and provenance. As one of the first spirits distilled by North America’s indigenous population, it’s historic. Finicky wine drinkers have come to appreciate the many nuances of flavor and aroma tequila offers. Far more than an invigorating gulp, tequila is sipped alongside a number of fresh and refined dishes prepared in fine restaurants. It’s also a wonderful companion to handmade cigars. Ranging from crisp and clear in color to an amber or caramel-brown hue, tequila unleashes a wealth of tastes that can be mineral, floral, woody, animated and clean.

Tequila is a type of mezcal (a distilled alcoholic beverage made from agave). It can only be called “tequila” if it hails from one or more regions in Mexico, most of which are situated around the town of Tequila in the state of Jalisco. A minimum of 51% of the sugars in tequila must be derived from the blue agave plant. Blue agave is harvested, cooked, shredded or mashed, fermented, double distilled and can be aged in barrels afterward.

Although mixto, or tequila made with the required minimum of 51% blue agave sugars, is a common variety for mass market brands (the kind you’re likely to encounter at a frat party), we’re focusing on purer editions (those made with 100% blue agave sugars) in our pairings of the best tequila and cigars. Discover a number of bright, small-batch tequilas partnered with outstanding cigars below. You can leave the salt shakers, shot glasses, and limes in the kitchen.

#1 -  Ashton Symmetry & Casa Dragones Joven

With a 94-point score and a ‘Top 10’ ranking in Cigar Aficionado in its debut year, Ashton Symmetry established another distinctively complex profile blended by legendary cigar-maker Carlito Fuente. A Cuban-seed Rosado wrapper leaf grown in Ecuador embraces a phenomenal core of premium Dominican and Nicaraguan tobaccos. Notes of dried fruit, figs, cedar, and a chewy hearth-like aroma accompany a marvelous blend of spices with a sweet zest.

For 5 years, new American oak barrels harbor a 100% Blue Agave Limited Edition Tequila in Casa Dragones Joven to deliver an ultra-refined profile. Soft flavors of vanilla and pome fruits foreshadow a warm, roasted hazelnut finish. Silky platinum legs emerge in a crisp and clear, gem-like display in the glass. So alluring is Casa Dragones Joven, Forbes Magazine voted it the “Tastemaker’s Top Tequila.” When enjoyed with an Ashton Symmetry, an irresistible exchange of spices, fruit, wood and sweetness occurs. A piquant, luscious aftertaste follows. Set a high bar for cigars and tequila with these two inimitable classics.

#2 - La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor & Don Julio 1942

Award-winning cigar-maker Jose ‘Pepin’ Garcia draws upon select Nicaraguan long-filler tobaccos and an extensively aged San Andrés wrapper leaf in La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor to create a wonderfully complex and resonant profile. A 95-point rating from Cigar Aficionado and a ‘#2 Cigar of the Year’ ranking underscore the blend’s immense appeal. Flavors of fresh ground coffee, almonds, black pepper, and cocoa converge in a blend that finishes with a balanced and woody sweetness.

A mature profile of chocolate, wood, caramel, and oak introduces tequila with an unusual, smoky dimension in Don Julio 1942. After a patient two-and-a-half-year aging, Don Julio deserves to tease your senses from the comfort of a snifter. Transparent amber legs and rich, full-flavored taste reveal perfect density and aroma. Conjure up images of a crackling fireplace with La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor and Don Julio 1942. Together, the cigar’s creamy spices and the tequila’s toasty body form a magnificent combo with a welcome lingering aftertaste.

#3 - Padron 1964 Anniversary & Casa Noble Anejo

Prestigious Nicaraguan brand Pardon conveys a classic profile of cedar, cinnamon, leather, nutmeg and delicious spices in its lauded Padron 1964 Anniversary blend. Dozens of scores over 90 points and critical awards have followed the legendary recipe of premium, well-aged all-Nicaraguan tobaccos since its inception decades ago. A variety of classic sizes are handcrafted in the brand’s famous box-pressed shapes to an impeccable standard.

Casa Noble Anejo preserves and a seven-generation tradition in an ultra-rare, medal-winning tequila, aged for an extended period in French white oak barrels. Smoky, spicy agave notes resonate in a perfectly mature copper and gold amalgam of vanilla, butterscotch, and oak flavors. The mouthfeel mirrors polished glass with a soft, clear finish and a distinctive hearth-like aroma. Casa Noble and Padron make a hallmark alliance of taste you’ll easily enjoy savoring for an extended period of time.

#4 - Arturo Fuente Hemingway & Patrón Roca Añejo

Arturo Fuente Hemingway reflects an extensive family tradition that began in Cuba in the 1800s. Today, Carlito Fuente continues the legacy of his father, Carlos Fuente Sr., with unrivaled dedication. Among the brand’s best-known, bestselling cigars is Arturo Fuente Hemingway. An approachable and rich signature of all-Dominican binder and filler tobaccos rests beneath a vintage, caramel-hued Cameroon wrapper leaf. A medium-bodied profile of sweet and spicy flavors includes notes of cedar, brown sugar, and coffee with cream. Arturo Fuente Hemingway is delivered in a number of iconic Figurado-shaped formats adored by connoisseurs everywhere.

Patrón Roca Añejo arrives from the equally famous Hacienda Patron Distillery in Mexico where 100% Weber Blue Agave is baked for 79 hours in small brick ovens before pressing occurs under a two-ton volcanic stone tahona wheel. Fruits, spice, citrus, and vanilla converge in an exquisite tequila aged in American bourbon barrels for 14 months for optimal, mature flavor. A medium-gold complexion rolls out marvelous legs while wood and raisin notes complete an amazing aftertaste. Arturo Fuente Hemingway and Patrón Roca Añejo match up with bright, sweet, and velvety balance. A pair of epic brands make out with a tasteful, inspiring accord.

#5 - My Father Le Bijou 1922 & Casamigos Reposado

Having spent decades as a veteran maker of a number of Cuba’s most iconic cigar brands, Jose ‘Pepin’ Garcia experienced a meteoric rise in the premium U.S. cigar market when he departed Cuba for the States in the early 2000s and embarked on his present-day cigar-making enterprise in Estelí, Nicaragua. Today, the Garcia family’s Nicaraguan estates are responsible for a number of top-rated brands, including the 97-rated former ‘#1 Cigar of the Year,’ My Father Le Bijou 1922, with a lustrous Nicaraguan Oscuro wrapper leaf patiently aged over a spicy, robust core of select Nicaraguan long-filler tobaccos. A pronounced profile of black pepper, earth, espresso beans, and wood emerges with earthy zest.

It’s tough to ignore George Clooney’s affiliation with Casamigos tequila, but the savvy jet-set actor and his business associates stand to pocket a handsome $1 billion sum on this recently imagined brand, originally intended for private consumption among the company’s founders. Launching what has become the fastest-growing super-premium tequila brand in the U.S. is more than strictly marketing and celebrity faces.

Casamigos (a loose Spanish translation for “house of friends”) is completely legit thanks to an insistence on the purest ingredients and a stringent distillation process. Casamigos Reposado shows off mouthwatering results. A nose of smoked char, maple, and peanut aromas precede a sweet and leathery tobacco taste. The moderately peppery finish is versatile and lush.

Cool temperatures in the Highlands of Jalisco, Mexico nurture 100% Blue Weber agaves in maroon volcanic soils for an unprecedented result. A proprietary yeast alters agave piñas roasted for 72 hours in ovens constructed from traditional bricks. Seven months of rest in American white oak casks wraps up the finishing touches.  

My Father Le Bijou and Casamigos Reposado couple with a spicy, buttery sweetness. Each is ample but crisp on their own. And together, the cigar blossoms with a smoky foundation upon which the sweeter side of the tequila easily rests.

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