I wanted to not only surprise the group this time, but test their knowledge.  So I decided to do a blind pair!

Let me test something on you…

We have a drink that’s soaked in history, originated from Islay, smoked with peat moss and rich with flavours of white oak and sweet barley.

We’re pairing that with a smooth, medium body, Dominican filled and Connecticut wrapped silky, smooth cigar. This cigar manufacturer is known for his famous quote “Cigars in perfect harmony.”

If you haven’t guessed it, don’t feel so bad. The group not only had those clues, but the drink to view and taste along with the cigar to touch and smell. Let me tell you, a couple of the group members got close, but this was a hard one to nail. After about 5 minutes I couldn’t keep the guessing going, it was time to reveal the blind pair.

The Drink

I told the boys the “smokey, pettiness” of the drink is a signature of Lagavulin 16 year.

Originated in Islay, like others (Ardbeg, Bowmore, and Laphroiag) the process is to get the malted barley smothered in peat fires to enhance the richness and oakiness of the drink. Islay is famous for this type of Whiskey. They are known as the originators and no one else can hold a candle to their process. The reason I chose the 16 year is within my research I found out that the younger the Whiskey from Islay the stronger peatiness there is, and the older you get the whiskey looses it’s strength and falls short of it’s greatness. So, we tried the 16 year…and it was a hit!

I have to say I agree immensely with masterofmalt.com when they explain the 3 elements.

Nose: More like Lapsang Souchong tea than Lapsang Souchong! One of the smokiest noses from Islay. It’s big, very, very concentrated, and redolent of iodine, sweet spices, good, mature sherry and creamy vanilla. Stunning.

Palate: Very thick and rich. A massive mouthful of malt and sherry with good fruity sweetness, but also a woonderful sweetness. Big, powerful peat and oak.

Finish: Long, spicy finish, figs, dates, peat smoke, vanilla.

In my second and third glass (over a couple hours of course) I started realizing the peatiness was strong, but underlined with a pure vanilla flavour and sweetness on the tongue and the finish was SO long and enjoyable.

As for the Cigar…

Avo XO

Origin : Dominican Republic
Format : Robusto (140 mm
 x 50)
Wrapper : Connecticut
Filler : Dominican
Binder : Dominican

The wrapper is shiny & silky, usually you can hardly see any major veins. Most of the time, I am getting a decent construction with XO series. The draw is close to perfect and although there might be some occasional funneling, the burn is above average. Firmly packed, it delivers a halo of creamy white smoke.

On the flavour side, the smoke is smooth, mild, creamy, elegant woody, nutty and has hints of coffee flavors. You definitely want to taste this one, and if you haven’t, shame on you!

This is one of my favorite Avo’s and a good mild smoke always. Out of the full line (which I’ve now had) it’s my second favourite and a smoke I’d always reach for for any occasion or any pair.

The Pair

Now, when we paired we all found the long long finish of the Lagavulin faded a bit, but never died out. The cigar we feel didn’t much enhance the drink, but complimented it and stood strong beside it. As far as the cigar, it was always nice to go back for a puff of smooth woody flavour and a touch of sweetness.

Overall we liked it, but maybe didn’t find that perfect pair. I think the smoke is killer – one of my personal favourites – but we didn’t quite find it’s mate. The drink was beautiful and full of body, but maybe needed a fuller body cigar to fight the power.

I strongly suggest trying this pair – I feel a lot of people will dig it. But, I also request that you smoke other sticks with it and let us know what you think! We’re always open for suggestions and would LOVE to try your ideas out.

For some more info on both these manufacturer…check out these links!

Avo Uvezian




For now, bye folks!



Cigar pairing for Lagavulin 16 year scotch

Drink pairing for Avo XO Cigar