Pairing these two hedonist pleasures is an art that Lookeast can help you master.
by Richard Gotz
Have you already discovered how much better your favorite cigar tastes when you smoke it while sipping a good single malt whisky?
While cognac, wine, and beer all complement a cigar, I have found that none of them is close to single malt whisky as the optimum partner. Everyone has his or her own preferences, and this includes pairings. There is no wrong choice here: if it is pleasing to you, it is right.
There are five main regions in Scotland: Speyside, Lowland, Highland, Island, and Islay. These five regions have more than 100 distilleries, and each distillery produces different types of whisky, so there is a huge collection of them all over the world.
My suggestion is that you try as many as possible. What I normally recommend to our customers is that they try the five from the different regions first to be able to identify which one best suits their taste.
When it comes to cigars, if you are not a regular smoker, I recommend trying something mild and basic in size first. Later, as you have more experience, you can go for something more medium or full bodied, in a larger size. The reason is that if you try a full-bodied cigar to start it might be too strong, and if you have a bad experience to begin with you might not give yourself the chance to try it a second time and discover how enjoyable a cigar can be. So my advice here is the same that I gave for whisky: try as many cigars as you are able to, to discern which one like best. Each cigar brings with it a different experience and taste.
When it comes to pairing whisky and cigars, what I suggest is that if you’re smoking a medium cigar, then you should have a similar whisky—in body and in strength—to pair with it. This is because you will be able to enjoy the taste of both when the balance is perfect between them. Again, this also depends on the individual, so there is no wrong choice here, either. If you like something, it means you’ve made the right choice.
There is no best whisky or cigar… the best are the ones you like the most!