Matching your Cigars and Scotch
By Josie Martin
For the uninitiated, the world of cigars and scotch can be a complicated place. With complex flavours, specific matching potential and a great deal of history; it takes a good while before you can consider yourself an expert in the field. However, with both items growing in popularity, this is the ideal time to get a taste of Scotland’s finest spirit, and try your hand at cigar-smoking. The traditional act of enjoying the two together brings the complex combinations together for an unparalleled experience. By researching what scotches are out there, it is possible to find the best fit for your cigar with no considerable effort. Cigars are typically defined by their wrappers, and the colour denotes what sort of flavour you’ll be getting. There are over 100 wrapper shades, but the basic wrappers can be split into 7 colours. While the filler tobacco has subtle flavours and reinforces tastes, the wrapper is the best way to figure out what you’ll be getting.
For a taste of the milder end of the spectrum, the mildest, but by no means flavourless cigars, are the double Claro and the Claro. Cigars of these types can vary, but they tend to be creamy, grassy and a little peppery. The spice notes are never too strong, and other sweeter flavours can also be obtained. An ideal starter is a Macanudo – this Dominican cigar has a smooth, consistent taste, and its creamy flavour will match a relaxed, measured flavour best. For the best fit, find a similarly mild whisky. The best region to look within is the Lowlands for a soft and mellow flavour, and a clean finish of McClelland is an ideal suit, although there are plenty of delicious flavour combinations to explore.
The medium selection are Colorado Claro and the Colorado. Somewhere between the lighter mild cigars and the heavy full-bodied, these cigars are flavoursome with nutty tastes and can be a little oily. The Colorado is a little richer, so hints of peat are welcome in the match. The best of the bunch are Habanos or a Romeo y Julieta that are smooth in taste but with a stronger, earthy sense than their milder counterparts. With a mix of tobaccos and a range of flavours, this will work well with an aromatic scotch. For the best scotch to match, try something a little peaty – an Aberlour is perfect, and its medium bodied flavour will mesh perfectly with most medium-flavoured cigars.
More developed than the medium selection is the Colorado Maduro, with rich, dark and sweet flavours. The Maduro takes this further, and will be spicy and rich with a chocolate-coffee flavour. Meanwhile, the Oscuro has similar flavours that are strengthened further. A real taste of a strong and full-bodied cigar to go for is the Montecristo Platinum; a classic brand, this specific cigar is a powerful explosion of tastes and deserves a scotch to match. Many of the Glen Scotia whiskies are the right sort of flavour; with strong peaty flavours and bold malt taste, pair it with one of their selection for the perfect match. You could also try a Laphroaig, an Islay-based malt with a strong smoky flavour.
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