Every few months Michael, Wayne, and I get together to try a cigar with a lineup of bourbons or ryes. It has been a while since we used bourbon in our pairing studies, so we switched back to the same basic lineup we’ve been using for nearly two years now. Every time we do one of these studies we discover something new, which is why we always recommend pairing your cigar with a flight of bourbons to get the best results.
The cigar we chose for this pairing is one of Michael’s new favorites –My Father The Judge. When he bought it from J. Shepherd on Bardstown road Jason Shepherd told him they should have named it “the fudge” because of its rich chocolately notes. He’s not wrong – the predominant flavor in this cigar is certainly cocoa and it is accompanied by a little spice and coffee.
The My Father website described The Judge this way: “Cloaked in a gorgeous dark brown Sumatra Oscuro wrapper, who’s subtle sweetness hides an inner strength, this full bodied blend is rounded out by three different Nicaraguan fillers, all grown on the Garcia’s farms as well as Corojo and Criollo binders. Offered in two box pressed sizes; a 6×56 Toro and a 5×60 Grand Robusto that are packaged in elegant 23 count boxes, echoing the original My Father line with a unique and distinctive label recreated from an antique 1905 Victorian lithograph.”
Michael’s Notes – The smoke makes the bourbon more caramel forward, bourbon makes the smoke even more chocolate and less spice.
Maggie’s Notes – Smoke makes the bourbon very spicy and hot, bourbon brings out minerality in smoke.
Michael’s Notes – The smoke makes the bourbon spice forward and the bourbon makes the smoke less chocolate and more spice.
Maggie’s Notes – Smoke brings out honey and green apple in bourbon, bourbon brings out rich chocolate.
Michael’s Notes – Smokes makes the bourbon rich caramel and spice, bourbon makes the smoke lighter with coffee/mocha and leather.
Maggie’s Notes – Smoke beings out sweet stone fruit like ripe cherry in the bourbon, bourbon brings out chocolate and cedar in the smoke.
Michael’s Notes – Smoke makes the bourbon very citrus forward and bourbon does not have much effect on the smoke.
Maggie’s Notes – Smoke brings out sweet apple and baking spice, bourbon brings out hay and grass in smoke.
Michael’s Notes – Smoke makes the bourbon very spicy but the bourbon makes the smoke grassy.
Maggie’s Notes – Smoke brings out sweet honey apple but also overwhelming spice while the bourbon overwhelms the smoke.
Even though we got very different notes on many of the bourbons we were tasting, the Michter’s US1 bourbon was a clear three vote unanimous winner here. The Four Roses held strong and was our universal three vote runner up. The other three bourbons did not pair well with this cigar. When you get the really rich chocolate flavor profiles in a cigar you tend to have to do a little more work to find a bourbon that is really enjoyable with it. In this case we found two.
Photos Courtesy of Maggie Kimberl