Last Updated on November 2, 2023 by Lydia Martin
Pairing Cigars and Whiskey – A Match Made in Heaven
Pairing cigars with whiskey has been a cherished tradition for hundreds of years. Rumor has it that combining these two timeless pleasures originates from the late 1700s, from the time of the Anglo-Spanish war. It is believed that the British supplied the whiskey from Scotland while the Spaniards brought along the Cuban cigars. And as for the rest…well, that’s history.
The Art of Pairing
Pairing up the right cigar with the perfect whiskey goes far beyond mere indulgence. It’s an exquisite sensory experience that elevates the aroma of the cigar and the flavor of the whiskey.
Finding the Right Cigar
If you’re an avid smoker, chances are that you already know what type of cigars you like. And if you’re picking the cigar before the whiskey, then you have far more leeway in terms of choice. Still, there are several things to consider when looking for the right cigar, including:
- The strength of the cigar
- The cigar’s flavor profile
- The size and shape of the cigar
Selecting the Perfect Whiskey
If you’ve already chosen your cigar, you now have the responsibility of pairing it up with the right whiskey. Much like cigars, whiskey comes in many different forms – including bourbon, scotch, rye, and Irish, to name a few.
All of the above whiskey options have distinct characteristics that can complement certain cigar flavors. We recommend paying specific attention to the whiskey’s flavor profile. Some popular options include:
A Symphony of Flavors – Whiskey and Cigar Pairing
For the people who are wondering why cigars and whiskey go together so well, the truth is that it’s all got to do with the moment the aroma of the cigar and the flavor of the whiskey blend together. Sadly, even if you have paired the right cigar with the right whiskey, if you don’t store the cigar properly, it will lose its aroma over time and ultimately ruin the experience.
That’s why it’s essential for every cigar smoker to have a quality cigar humidor. One great example is the Large Acrylic 75-cigar humidor powered by Boveda. If you’re yet to invest in a quality cigar humidor, there are many reasons why you should choose this one, including:
- It can hold up to 75 corona-size cigars
- The magnetic closing provides a tight seal you can count on
- It’s very low-maintenance
- It’s ready to use right out of the box
- It has a see-through design
- The Spanish cedar interior is fully removable
Once your cigars are stored away in perfect conditions, it’s time to start thinking about the different pairing combinations.
Exploring Flavor Profiles
Every type of cigar and every type of whiskey has unique flavor characteristics. The sheer choice you have when pairing your cigar and whiskey is what makes this experience so special. There are two possible routes you can take – the route where the flavors complement each other or the route where the flavors are contrasting.
The more popular route is choosing aromas and flavors that complement each other. Some popular examples include:
- A mild cigar with light bourbon
- A spicy cigar with peppery rye whiskey
- A maduro cigar with rich scotch
- An earthy cigar with smoky islay scotch
- A fruity cigar with sherried whiskey
If you’re feeling adventurous, one great approach to pairing cigars and whiskey would be to go the unconventional route and go for contrasting aromas and flavors. Some popular contrasting pairings include:
- A mild cigar with peaty scotch
- A spicy cigar with sweet bourbon
- A full-bodied cigar with light Irish whiskey
- A floral cigar with smoky scotch
- A maduro cigar with light rye whiskey
Etiquette and Enjoyment
The truth is that there is no right or wrong way to enjoy your cigar and whiskey. However, there is an etiquette that most people like to stick to in order to enjoy their cigars and whiskey more than they normally would.
Savoring the Moment
To truly savor the moment, you should sip your whiskey and puff your cigar while being 100% present in the moment. Only then can you truly appreciate the mix match of aromas and flavors coming from your whiskey and cigar pairing.
The Social Aspect
If you want to share this special moment with some friends, you’re more than welcome to. In fact, the social aspect is largely known to elevate the smoking and drinking experience as you get to share these invaluable moments with the people you care about the most.
If you’re new to pairing cigars and whiskey, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed at first. It’s an art that you’ll master over time. That said, finding the right whiskey to go with your cigar is far from the only thing you need to consider to maximize your experience.
To complete your cigar-smoking and whiskey-drinking experience, you also need to have the right cigar humidor (to keep your cigar in perfect condition) and a number of other accessories. Some examples include a cigar cutter, a cigar ashtray, and let’s not forget about arguably the most important accessory – a cigar lighter.
There are many places where you can buy these from, but you really want to go for retailers who have a lot of skin in the game. One great example is the Chicago-based Northwoods Humidors.
Owned by Kevin, an avid cigar enthusiast, Northwoods Humidors has been in the business since 2014 and has served over 13,000 happy customers. Northwoods Humidors is the perfect one-stop shop for high-quality cigar humidors and cigar accessories that will take your cigar and whiskey pairing experience to the next level.
Sip, Puff, and Savor
With so many types of cigars and whiskey out there, finding a pair that not only works, but one that works specifically for you can be tricky. Though some trial and error may be necessary at first, when you find the right combination, it’s smooth sailing from there.
And remember; it’s not only the whiskey and the cigar that play their part in the experience. Your cigar humidor and the different cigar accessories that you have at hand will also contribute to this sensory experience so few will ever get to go through in their lifetime.