Last spring, Michael, Wayne Klawier, and I began meeting at Wayne’s house to study the pairing of bourbon and cigars. Throughout that time we have studied numerous cigars from numerous manufacturers, and we’ve even branched out to include brandies from Copper and Kings. Then we decided we needed to revisit some of the earlier cigars, this time with Rye whiskey. Our first cigar was a Padron 1964 Anniversary Series Box Pressed Natural Torpedo, so that’s where we decided to start.
Old Overholt 80 Proof
Nose: Rye Grass, Dried Fruit – raisins and dates with vanilla
Palate: Fruit – Raisins and dates, maybe cherries with baking spices – nutmeg and ginger
Finish: Oak and spice
Together: Cigar makes rye a bit more fruit forward but whiskey does nothing for smoke
Nose: Rye grass, raisins, dried apricots
Palate: Raisins, heavy dried fruit, baking spice/ginger
Together: heavy spice- not doing much for each other
E.H. Taylor Straight Rye 100 Proof
Nose: heavy spice and oak
Palate: Rye grass, pear preserves, and baking spices
Finish: oak and pepper spice
Together: Cigar takes the pepper out of the finish of the Rye and brings out caramel and chocolate. Rye makes smoke very chocolate and sweet.
Nose: leather and spice
Palate: leather, spice, pear with honey/candied pear preserves
Together: Rye brings out milk chocolate latte in smoke, while smoke brings out baked apple notes in Rye
Rittenhouse Rye BiB 100 Proof
Nose: Caramel, rye grass, and tobacco
Palate: rye grass, ripe apple, and baking spice
Finish: Oak and spice
Together: Cigar does nothing for rye, rye brings out spice in smoke
Nose: very faint tobacco and spice
Palate: Spice bomb
Together– spice bomb enhanced in rye, rye does nothing for the smoke
James E. Pepper 1776 Rye 100 Proof
Nose: Leather and apples with some oak
Palate: Apples, nutmeg, ginger, caramel, and oak
Finish: very spicy
Together: smoke makes the rye less spicy and more caramel. Rye makes the smoke a little chocolate and cedar.
Nose: Floral – maybe apple blossom?
Palate: nutmeg and ginger
Together: Rye brings out faint cocoa in smoke, smoke evens out spice in Rye
Angel’s Envy Rum Cask Finished Rye 100 Proof
Nose: Caramel and brown sugar with a bit of oak
Palate: rich brown sugar and baking spice
Finish: sweet and spicy
Together: Smoke takes out some of the sweetness, but rye doesn’t do much for the smoke
Nose: sweet, leather
Palate: molasses and sweet spice
Together: smoke cuts some of the sweetness out, leaving the nice baking spice from the rye. The smoke is not noticeably different with this rye.
We had two men and two women on this particular tasting panel, and it is worth noting the conclusion was divided along gender lines. The men clearly preferred the James E. Pepper 1776 with this cigar, while the women clearly preferred the E. H. Taylor Bonded.
Photos Courtesy of Maggie Kimberl