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The Insider: St. Patrick's Day Pairings

As St. Patrick’s Day approaches – a momentous holiday celebrated by parades and often slugging down your favorite Irish beer and whiskey – we took some time to sit down and come up with the perfect cigars to pair with the day’s top five beverages of choice. Instead of focusing on the Irish cream flavors and green candela wrapped cigars of the world, we wanted go beyond the festive appearances and make sure we found a perfect match for each Irish libation to be enjoyed this year. And with a list consisting of drinks proven to accompany a premium cigar quite well, you can be certain this task was met with no lack of enthusiasm. So let’s break down each pairing selection and discover the specific tastes and nuances that make each combo an instant match…

Jameson Irish Whiskey

We kick things off with one of the most popular Irish Whiskeys. Jameson is a triple distilled grain whiskey, aged in sherry and bourbon casks, and it presents a smooth character and balanced flavor profile. The nose has a sweet and floral fragrance with a bit of pepper. Each sip features a balance between the spice, nuttiness, and sweet notes of vanilla and sherry.

Recommended Cigar Pairing: Diesel Hair of the Dog, Rabid Figurado

The Diesel Hair of the Dog​ reigned supreme when paired with a glass of this smooth, medium-bodied whiskey. The Diesebrand is known for their powerhouse cigars, but the Hair of the Dog’s more medium to full profile does not overpower this spirit. The whiskey’s interplay between wood, spice, and a gentle sweetness complement the blend’s notes of cedar and pepper on the finish. As both refined and very well balanced concoctions within their respected genres, this was an excellent fusion.

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Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey

As with most Irish Whiskeys, Tullamore Dew is a smooth, delicate, and slightly sweet dram with fragrant floral notes. The whiskey is triple distilled and aged in charred oak, providing delicate notes of wood on the finish. The palate is overall well-rounded with flavors of sweet spices, malt, and hints of wood. Not overly complex, but it has an exceptionally smooth finish.

Recommended Cigar Pairing: Carlos Torano Casa Torano, Robusto

As a good rule of thumb, one should pair the body of a cigar with the body of the spirit as to not drown one another out. Tullamore Dew pairs perfectly with the mellow to medium-bodied Carlos Torano Casa ToranoThe smooth Connecticut wrapper and subtle flavors allow the soft nuances of the whiskey to shine through the mix. Enjoy as each sip is perfectly rounded out by the creaminess of the Casa Torano’s flavor profile. This friendly match provides a mellow, relaxing experience.

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Guinness Draught

You wouldn’t expect it from the pour on this widely available Irish stout, with its pitch black color and creamy head, but Guinness is surprisingly a very clean, smooth, and refreshing beer choice. This highly drinkable beverage isn’t the meal in a glass that it appears to be, but instead it offers a nice flavor profile of light roasted coffee and dark chocolate with a slightly sweet and dry finish. Anything sound familiar within the realm of cigars?

Recommended Cigar Pairing: Ramon Bueso Genesis the Project, Muy Bueso

If a dark, fully matured maduro wrapper was on your mind, then we’re on the same page. The rich, medium to full-bodied Ramon Bueso Genesis the Project and a pint of Guinness were instant companions. First, take a draw from the cigar and notice how the initial espresso and chocolate flavors finish with a good amount of spice and black pepper. A sip of the cool, smooth Guinness acts as a base for the palate and balances everything out between each draw for one remarkable experience you’ll want to replicate often. 

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Smithwick’s Irish Ale

This popular Irish red ale pours a dark copper color. It’s a very refreshing and smooth ale that offers a well-balanced interchange between hints of roasted barley and caramel with a touch of hops bitterness on the finish. I would call this a medium bodied ale, not light, but certainly not to filling or overbearing.      

Recommended Cigar Pairing: CAO L’Anniversaire Cameroon Robusto

The CAO L’Anniversaire featuring an African Cameroon wrapper packs a ton of flavor while remaining mostly medium-bodied in strength. It’s unique and distinctive notes of roasted nuts, caramel, and almost tangy-like taste on the palate works wonders with Smithwick’s comparable arsenal of flavors and zesty finish.

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Bushmills Original Irish Whiskey

Bushmills Original is an affordable blend of single malt and a lighter Irish grain whiskey that is matured in American oak casks. It warms the palate with rich notes of honey and vanilla while finishing with a crisp touch of wood and spice. This popular Irish whiskey’s flavor profile remains subtle enough to make it a nice pair with a medium-bodied cigar.

Recommended Cigar Pairing: Gurkha Vintage Shaggy, Gran Torpedo

This medium-bodied cigar featuring a shaggy foot came out on top when paired with this particular whiskey. The well-aged, vintage tobaccos from the Dominican Republic provide a unique collection of oaky, spicy flavors polished out with smooth hints of vanilla on the finish. Very comparable in both strength and flavor intensity, enjoying these two in tandem is an experience not to be missed.

…So as our quest for the perfect cigar pairings for each of these popular St. Patrick’s Day beverages comes to a closure, five worthy cigars featuring a number of different strengths, sizes, and wrapper varietals arose to the occasion. As it becomes time to stock up on this holiday’s essential booze, we recommend having this selection on hand to provide plenty of additional excitement in their own distinct ways alongside their chosen counterparts. So it’s time to have a go yourself. Just remember, in the search for the perfect cigar pairing, doing the necessary research and being aware of your own personal preferences proves to be the most vital keys for success.