How to Pair Cigars – Part 2
Why Even Pair a Cigar & Spirits?
There are numerous reasons why I pair my cigars with distilled spirits. First and foremost I believe that cigar pairings can really enhance flavors of both the cigar and the pairing beverage. Secondly, I like to try out new flavor combinations and see if there are any new tastes that I can experience. Lastly, it’s just cool to do. Let’s be honest, most of the time you see a picture of someone famous or someone that you look up to smoking a cigar they typically have something paired with it. So without getting too superficial about the whole thing let’s just leave it at what it is.
Enhance The Flavors.
Now, I rarely get bored with the flavors I experience when smoking a cigar, but sometimes it’s nice to add some additional flavors in the mix. A great pairing will bring out new and unique flavors to your palate that make your senses figuratively stand up and take notice. Other times a pairing will add depth and character to the flavors you are already experiencing. For instance, sometimes a pairing will add to the strengths of the cigar or spirit. But other times, it will fill in some of the gaps where there might be weaknesses of flavor and the pairing will round out the entire flavor wheel to make the pairing more complete.
What exactly do I mean when I say that a pairing can bring out unique flavors of a product? Many times, I’ve been smoking a cigar and I have paired it with a spirit and I’ve gotten a very unique combination. One particular instance was when I paired a Tatuaje Lil Drac with some Prichard’s Fine Rum. This particular pairing brought out some very harmonious flavors between the two.
One thing that I liked, was the smokey flavors that were transcended onto the rum. After swirling the rum with some cigar smoke I was able to really infuse the two and it gave off a very interesting taste. The new taste that I got from this combination had a dominant note of honey that I had never picked up between the two individual products. But when they were combined they created this new exciting flavor combination between the two of them. That’s why I love pairings so much because you can experience new and unique flavors of each product by simply enjoying them side by side.
Have you ever had a cigar or spirit that was just lacking in something and you couldn’t quite put your finger on it? If it had just a little bit more of (blank) then it would be nice and well rounded. Well that’s one of my favorite reasons for pairing. Now, I’m not saying that every cigar or spirit is missing something, but lets be honest, there are some gaps in flavors.
Round Out the Flavors
One thing I like to do is to really round out the flavors when pairing. If something is spicy then I try and find something that is a little sweeter or savory to really fill those gaps between the spice. I can only take so much spice before it becomes overbearing.
One of my favorite go to pairings is to find a mild-medium body cigar that doesn’t have a ton of spice to it. Something like the Perdomo Reserve 10th Anniversary Champagne it has a decent amount of earthiness and a hint of spice. This cigar can be rounded out particularly well with something like Prichard’s Rum. The sweetness from the rum will fill in the flavor gaps of this cigar without overpowering it.It combines the strengths of sweet sugar cane from the rum and the strengths of the earthiness from the cigar and creates this exciting flavor bomb in your mouth.
Now, these two on their own are exceptionally tasty products, but they each have gaps that could be filled, hence the reason each was chosen.
Each cigar and spirit has their own depth of flavor and their character that makes them great individual products. When I refer to depth, I’m talking about complexity and total number of flavors that you can pick out of each product. Some cigars, just lack depth. They are what they are, and you can’t get much more out of them. However, some cigars are very complex and have tons of flavors just begging to be discovered. Especially through the olfactory senses, or in laymen’s terms, your nose.
This is even more true in spirits. Bourbon and whiskies in general have a great amount of depth and complexities within their flavor DNA. That’s one of the reasons that they are always talked about and are constantly being explored. It’s almost an endless rabbit hole to go down and explore all the intricacies of flavor that a spirit can deliver. Just as a pairing can add to the strengths of each product and fill in the gaps, it can also add depth and character to the overall flavor profile that you experience. When this happens, watch out because you senses are about to be taken for a ride!
Try Something New
Let’s be honest, we all have our go-to products whether it’s the cigar you’ve been smoking for the last ten years or your favorite bottle of Scotch. Each product can get a little boring and repetitive after a while. So why not try out your favorite cigar with a new rum or whiskey? You’ll be surprised at how your favorite stick combines with these new flavors and your experience will be exciting and fresh. What’s that old saying about dogs and tricks again?
Personally, this is one of my favorite reasons to pair cigars. I love trying out new spirits with my favorite cigar. I know it will bring something new to the table and since I know what my go-to cigar tastes like then I have a good idea of what will pair well with it. However, there is always room for some exciting surprises out there! I’m one of those guys that very rarely buys the same product over and over. There are too many spirits out there to just settle on one.
Now just like everyone else, I have my favorites that I go back to time and time again. My liquor shelf has certain staples that I keep on hand at all times, but I like to mix it up as well. Life is too short not to try new combinations. What are you waiting for? The next time you’re at the cigar store or the liquor store, venture out and buy something new and combine it with your old stand-by and see what new flavors you experience.
This is the slightly over romanticized aspect of cigar smoking. How often have you seen the ads in magazines with a cigar burning next to a highball glass? It’s one of those timeless ideas that defines luxury. Advertisers do this for a reason, because in one form or fashion we all want to have a bit of luxury and sophistication in our lives. We want the “good life”. That is exactly what these images depict. So why fight our instinct, just give into it and enjoy a good cigar pairing with a nice distilled spirit.
Pairing cigars has been going on for as long as I can remember. They are great companions. Similar to the great peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Each product can be enjoyed on their own, but when their powers are combined it’s a classic combination. I’ve met plenty of people that drink that don’t enjoy cigars, this is fairly typical. But I’ve rarely met a cigar smoker that doesn’t enjoy a beverage with their cigars.