Now that you know a few cigar basics, you are ready to start pairing. The best suggestion that I have gotten is to match the body of the bourbon to the body of the cigar.
LIGHT BODIED PAIRING
Evan Williams Single Barrel is a lighter-bodied and mild bourbon at around 86°. A good suggested pairing would be a Macanudo. Macanudo are premium cigars with a mild, aromatic and smooth character. The creamy, spicy sweetness of the Macanudo dances with the orange, vanilla, and caramel flavors of the Evan Williams SB in a way that compliments both. You can grab 6 Macanudos Collection with a lighter on sale now here.
This is a nice pairing that can be enjoyed any day of the week, any season of the year, and in mixed company.
MEDIUM BODIED PAIRING
Rock Hill Farms is one of my favorite medium bodied bourbons. Not too hot (100°), not too rough, and the finish is appreciable but not too long. That doesn’t mean Rock Hill Farms is a bourbon that you can pair with any old cigar. Its mash bill is high-rye at about 12%, so cigars that have a spice kick in their own right should be avoided. The honey, fruit, and oak in the bourbon should be paired with a cigar that respects those flavors while bringing its own dimension to the experience.
Nice suggestions are the popular Drew Estate Liga Privada or the popular Cohiba Esplendido. The Cohiba cigar was created by Che Guevara (of Cuba fame) as a super-premium cigar strictly reserved for Castro and other world dignitaries. The Cohiba Esplendido is a rich, creamy tobacco with a buttery character that plays oh so nicely with a three finger pour of Rock Hill Farms bourbon!
This is the pairing you would break out to wow a new client, for special occasions, and for holidays. Of course, if you and the crew are planning to hit the town, Rock Hill Farms and a nice Cohiba can be a great kick-off.
FULL BODIED PAIRING
Booker’s Bourbon (my personal favorite) is a full bodied, full flavored, full proofed bourbon that can easily run over a mild mannered cigar. A good pairing is one that compliments the orange peel, vanilla, leather, pecan, honey and heat of the Booker’s without losing the flavor and fullness of the cigar. Enter the legendary Don Arturo Gran AniverXario Fuente; an intense cigar with pepper, cinnamon, and coffee flavors.
The Don Arturo can be a little hard to find, so H. Upman makes a great stand-in. H. Upman is one of the oldest cigar brands around today, and was established in Cuba in 1844.
This is the kind of pairing that celebrates life’s victories – your best man getting hitched, winning a long-fought for promotion, closing an important contract, or welcoming a new life into the world.