4 Foolproof Scotch and Cigar Pairings

Finding the perfect cigar to pair with your whisky isn’t as difficult as you might think—though you’ll need to keep a few cardinal rules in mind. When it comes to scotch, though, the matchups get a little more complicated; with its many regions, styles, and variations, scotch is hard to generalize when it comes to cigar partnership. The qualities that define a delicate Lowlands dram bear little resemblance to those in a smoky Islay whisky. Expect to kiss a few frogs—but once you find a match, you’ll be set for life.

Predictably, the Lowlands shine brightest with mild-bodied cigars. Speyside scotches are the most versatile. Islay is the conundrum. Their bold peat smoke often clashes with heavy tobacco smoke. Try instead a cigar that delivers sweetness (even chocolate), to complement the salt spray of their island home.


Try: Lagavulin 16 year old with a sweet, understated Dominican smoke with subtle charms
Top pick: Romeo y Julieta 1875 Deluxe No. 1 ($8)
Why it works: The Romeo refuses to stoke the Lagavulin’s peat bonfire, while drawing out leather and spice with its nougat notes.

Beyond Scotch: Pairing Cigars with Other Whiskies, Brandy, and Rum


Try: Auchentoshan Three Wood with a mild Connecticut-seed cigar
Top pick: Oliva Connecticut Reserve Lonsdale ($7)
Why it works: These two easy- going elements pair fruits from the whisky with the cream and nuts of the cigar to spark plenty of interest.


Try: Glenmorangie Signet with a similarly bodied cigar that brings spice, fruit, and herbs
Top pick: Quesada Tributo Julio ($7)
Why it works: This is a case of just doubling down. Similar notes in both elements (cocoa, nuts, fruit) combine to create a bonbon of a pairing.


Try: Dewar’s 12 year old with a cigar that contains a range of tobacco elements
Top pick: Cain Daytona 550 ($6)
Why it works: The complex flavors of a blend (in this case honey, barley, and cheese) want to mate with a number of this cigar’s flavors (bread dough, apple cider, and cinnamon) to create a tasty sandwich.

More From How To

How to Taste Maritime Notes in Whisky

Sometimes, seaside flavors can appear within your whisky glass, offering up notes of rock pools, vanilla ice cream, beach barbecue, smoked shellfish, and more.