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Issue 141 - Smoke On The Water

Whisky Magazine Issue 141
January 2017

 

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Smoke On The Water

Whatever happened to the whisky & cigar pairing?

It's safe to say that whisky pairing is in vogue. These days, it seems there's nothing that can't be served alongside a nip. Beer, cheese, shellfish, chocolate, coffee, the humble bacon roll, and even music are now devoted groupies of the illustrious dram. But in our haste to pursue ever more elaborate pairings with which to scintillate the senses, are we leaving one of the most iconic combinations out in the cold?

In theory, a quality cigar has all the hallmarks of a product that will entice the passionate whisky drinker. Cigars have an elaborate production process and the very best carry the designation ‘totalmente a mano' (completely handmade) to differentiate from those that are ‘hand finished' or produced entirely by mechanical means. It's a level of transparency that is sure to appeal to (and often eludes) those who appreciate ‘craft' and one that I wager will be particularly appreciated by whisky fans entering the world of cigars.

Whisky and cigars also share a status as simple, natural and nuanced products. There are a great number of tobacco plant varieties, each with their own distinct characteristics, that are influenced by such factors as seasonal climate, soil type, and whether they are grown in the shade (usually for the cigar's outer layer, known as the wrapper) or exposed to the full force of the sun (usually for filler, the bit in the middle, and binder, the bit that holds it all together).

Another similarity is that cigar manufacturers also have t...

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