This was a pairing I was very excited about. It’s not because of the flavour profile or other reviews I had read, but simply because I wanted a ‘festive’ pairing for St. Patty’s Day. The obvious choice was themed Irish so I wanted to find a good Irish whiskey to accompany the exclusive cigar. My initial thought was that the drink is going to overpower the cigar a lot, so again, it was a themed pair.

About Jameson Gold Reserve

The company is very old (est. 1780) when John Jameson established the Bow Street Distillery in Dublin. Although being Scottish himself, the company was the second largest producer in Ireland by the 19th century and one of the largest in the world. Today, Jameson is the world’s third largest single-distillery whiskey and although now distilled in Cork, the vatting still takes place in Dublin.

The Jameson Gold Reserve is a blend of three aged whiskeys, one of which is matured in virgin oak barrels.

Tasting notes: 
• Nose ~ Woody and very sweet smelling
• Taste ~ Very sweet flavours of vanilla and brown sugar; notes of spice but very smooth and full of delicate flavours
• Finish ~ Quite a short finish, but leaves you wanting more

About the Alec Bradley Filthy Hooligan

The cigar was an obvious choice for the theme since it was a very limited release from Alec Bradley just for St. Patrick’s Day. I was lucky to get my hands on enough for the pair group since there were only 4 boxes available at our local shop (Village Cigar Company). This rarity is essentially a black market wrapped in a candela leaf. Now, there is a lot of speculation around the candela leaf cigar as some claim that they are just a ‘gimmick’, but I must agree, that we hadn’t experience a candela leaf that we enjoyed.

Tasting notes:
• Cold draw ~ Very strong grass & woody taste; we also noticed it tasted somewhat ‘salty’
• First third ~ The grass, oak, leather and earthy tastes are present; the salty flavour still there, but we experience pepper on the tough and roof of the mouth
• Middle & final third ~ This cigar seemed to be very well balanced as the flavour profiles didn’t seem to change much

Note: Admittedly we have heard directly from Alec Bradley during our visit there that the candela leaf is very fragile and the bands may cause some cracking in the leaf and they will be fixing this for next year’s release. We had this on some of our sticks as they opened up part way through, but it didn’t seem to affect the flavours.

Another thing to note is that this cigar actually reminded us of a cuban cigar in its flavours.

About the pair

As I mentioned earlier, I expected the drink to overpower the cigar big time. Some of us tasted the cigar and smoked prior to drinking and we found that the pair went very well together. The Filthy Hooligan stood up to the drink and both complimented each other very nicely! Others in the group decided to drink prior to smoking and found that the drink lost some of it’s complexity and flavours. At least you know, that if you smoke then drink, you will experience a nice pair, but if you do the opposite you may experience the loss in the Jameson. This goes to show that experience and individual preference means everything! After this pair, I actually sought out almost an entire box of these sticks and am looking forward to experiencing the pair again! We declare this to be a NICE PAIR!

Check out some of the funny Jameson commercials!