It has been said that we here at Cigars.com like the occasional beverage. Well, I’m not gonna lie, these pairing articles are some of my favorite work time activities. So far we’ve done whisky, craft beer, and coffee. So we decided, when we were bored one Friday afternoon, to do an article specifically for Bourbon. The great part about this group of guys is we have an expert for everything. Bourbon and scotch happen to be my expertise thanks to long hours dedicated to sampling as many different ones as possible, for the sake of science.
While this cigar was an easy one to choose for a bourbon pairing, it was deciding which bourbon to pair it with that took the real time. I finally decided upon my every day favorite, Bulleit. Bulleit has special flavor profile due to its higher rye content then most bourbons. It has a bold spicy profile with a smooth, crisp finish to it. You can definitely taste the oak from the barrel that matches up well with its overall spicy tone. The Camacho Barrel Aged, being aged in of course bourbon barrels shares its distinct oak taste, as well as a spicy flavor due to its Corojo tobacco. This is an obvious pairing, but a great one none the less.
You’d be hard pressed to find a bourbon as packed with flavor as Woodford Reserve. According to its website, this straight Kentucky blend has more than 200 detectable flavors. Now cigar review sites have similar descriptions, and most of the time its hard for the laymen to detect some of these subtle flavors. Well, in this amber colored whiskey, you can pick up on most of them including cinnamon, nutmeg, chocolate, a dash of caramel, black berry and black pepper. I would describe it as chewy, if you know what I mean. As for a “chewy” cigar to go along with it, I picked up an aged Punch Rare Corojo I had in my humidor. Its Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper and broadleaf binder add in notes of chocolate, earth and pepper that go hand in hand with this flavorful whiskey.
There are some flavor combinations that only make sense in whiskey and cigars. Spicy fruit for example is not something I would like to eat for dessert, but in a glass of Four Roses, it is perfection. From the company that was named the top American Whisky Distiller 3 years in a row, their full production line is smooth and flavorful. Each sip hit me with notes of fruits, like apple and pears, followed by a sweet spicy finish. It was the smoothness mixed with intense flavor that drew me to choose the Le Bijou as its mate. This masterful cigar from Don Pepin Garcia has some dried fruit notes, like black cherry, and a similar spicy finish. For Valentines Day, I wouldn’t mind some roses and “jewels”. Le Bijou means the jewel in case you didn’t get my joke…
Elijah Craig has two different Small Batch blends. I went with the Barrel Proof. This bourbon was aged for 12 years in charred oak barrels then immediately bottled. There is no filtering of any sort, giving you unique whiskey experience. This is how bourbon tastes straight from the barrel. It has a much darker amber color then usual along with heavy notes of caramel and vanilla sweetness to start out, followed by spicy black pepper and cinnamon notes for the finish. The Davidoff Nicaragua, especially in the toro, does start out with a hint of a sweetness. Yet, it’s the smooth spicy finish that made this a match made in heaven. For the new bourbon drinker, you may want to add some water or an ice cube or too since this unfiltered whiskey does pack a bit of a punch.
Ok, so technically this is not a bourbon. In order to be considered a bourbon, the whiskey must be aged in new oak barrels. This blend from Michters is instead aged in bourbon soaked barrels. I only included in this list because I just tried it for the first time and it was one of the best things in my life. Yeah, my life is kind of sad, but this stuff is for real. It is incredibly smooth and has sweet notes of caramel and vanilla, along with a rich slightly spicy finish. I have this Romeo Reserve aging for about a year so I figured, what the hell. My first reaction was wow. The aging of the cigar made it super smooth yet the spice and richness still remained and complimented the whisky beautifully. This is one of the best American made whiskeys I have ever tried and I STRONGLY advise that you pick it up.