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

Michael’s Notes:

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

Maggie’s Notes:

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

Michael’s Notes:

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.

Maggie’s Notes:

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

Michael’s Notes:

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

Maggie’s Notes:

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

Michael’s Notes:

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.

Maggie’s Notes:

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

Michael’s Notes:

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

Maggie’s Notes:

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.

The Conclusion

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.

courtesy of Maggie Kimberl

Photos Courtesy of Maggie Kimberl