Scotch and Cigar Pairing 101: Get The Basics Now


(image credit: Beau-coup)

If you’ve ever felt a bit intimidated by the idea of scotch and cigars, you’re not alone. This wildly popular pairing gives off a very elite feeling of “members only”. But as its popularity begins to grow, so will the general population’s knowledge of its key characteristics.

Join us now as we dip our toes in the water. Let’s learn some basic knowledge of scotch and cigar 101 to help get you through a bonafide scotch and cigar party without looking like a total novice.


You Like What You Like

Let’s start with the most important factor. The pairing of scotches and cigars is highly dependent of the consumer’s preference. It’s the taste that matters. While many have suggestions, tips, and advice, never let opinions supersede your own personal preference. But if you have no idea what your preference is, here’s a good starting point.


Taste Breakdown

Cigars will vary drastically in taste depending on its size, shape, costs, etc. For example, a shorter but average diameter cigar tends to have a stronger flavor with a shorter smoking session, while a thinner and longer cigar may have a lighter flavor profile. Lastly, larger cigars tend to be smoother with fuller flavors.

As a general rule of thumb, if you’re new to cigar smoking, opt for a milder and/or sweeter cigar. You can complement this cigar taste by pairing it with a similar flavor profile scotch with mild and sweet notes. Or, you can go the other route and opt for a stronger tasting scotch. This latter combination is similar to a sweet and savory taste profile mix – opposites attract. As we previously mentioned, it’s all about your personal taste preference so give different combinations a shot to see what works best for you.

Another novice option is to try a medium bodied cigar. Medium bodied cigars are a great middle ground as they partner beautifully with most scotches. Sweet, spicy, light, strong, it’s your choice!

If you’re better versed and/or adventurous with your choice of cigar, then opt for a rich, full-bodied cigar. A stronger tasting cigar will pair perfectly with peaty (strong tasting), mature scotches. When it comes to a full-bodied cigar, lean towards a full-bodied scotch to complement.


Things To Keep In Mind

It’s also important to note that both scotch and cigar flavors open with time. So don’t be too hasty when deciding on your pairings. Let the scotch open up for the full flavor profile to develop. Let the cigar burn through its successive stages of flavor from beginning to end to fully understand the experience.

But we can’t reiterate this enough, pairing a cigar and a scotch is completely dependent on your personal taste preferences. The final results will come with time and experimentation. Sounds like a lot of work? Not at all! When it comes to fun “experimenting” like this, you’ll be a connoisseur in no time!