Scotch and Cigars

Ask 10 people what they like to drink with a cigar and 8 will answer “scotch.”  Okay, that’s not a real statistic.  But I’m sure it’s close. This has to be one of favourite scotch and cigar pairings yet.


The Drink: Dalwhinnie 15

Appearance: The scotch has a beautiful golden amber colour to it, with thick long legs that slowly make their way down the side of the glass.

Off the nose: The scotch actually smells quite complex. upon raising the glass to our nose, we were presented with notes of toffee, pear, nectarine and honey. There was also a touch of smoke present. However, the smoke was very faint.

On the palate: Upon our initial sip, the first thing we agreed on was that the Dalwhinnie is very smooth and creamy. Just as complex as the nose, we were getting strong notes of burnt sugar, with hints of vanilla and caramel. Some bitter chocolate notes are also slightly present, and as the scotch opens up, some spice is coming through. There is a fairly short finish which leaves you with a pleasant gentle smoke.


The Cigar: CAO Amazon Basin

Construction:  This 52 x 6″ toro features an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper, a Nicaragua binder with a blend of Brazil & Nicaragua fillers. Upon first glanced, this cigar is like nothing you’ve ever seen before. The CAO Amazon Basin doesn’t have a traditional band, instead it has twisted tobacco wrapped around it, which looks really rustic!  The cigar has a Dark oily wrapper, that is actually quite blotchy with reddish brown tones showing through. The foot is packed generously and the cigar has an overall firm feel.

On the nose: I have not picked up a cigar in a while, that the aromas alone have made my mouth water. The Earthy tones, leather, and distinct aromas of sweet raisin were the reason for choosing this cigar.

On the palate: There was an initial bitter earthy flavour, which quickly dissipated. Sweet woody tones were the main profile found upon lighting and smoking this cigar. One pair member was convinced he could taste coco notes. The Cigar left a sweet finish with hints of spice on the palate.  

On another note: The room at Havana Castle smells absolutely amazing, the smoke that the cigar emits smells so sweet and delicious, it’s truly a very unique cigar!

The Scotch & Cigar Pair

After taking a puff of the cigar: The CAO Amazon Basin seems to neutralizes the spices on the scotch. The chocolate notes are becoming more apparent, and we found there were far more notes of sweet citrus coming through.

Going back to the cigar, after taking a drink: There that chocolate is, we’ve all fount it now! A very interesting change in the cigar has occurred. A creamy, nutty profile has evolved, with defined notes of raisin. Some Spice in the cigar is also developing as the cigar progresses past the half-way point.

Final Thoughts

This was an absolutely fantastic pair. There was a perfect balance of profiles between the scotch and cigars. We don’t give this rating often as it’s hard to find that perfect balance, but we would call this a nice pair!  The pair makes you want to combine the two, and alternate between them. We’ve found some pairs, where you tend to favor the cigar or the drink more. However, with this one the balance of flavor profiles and strength are spot on. What a great pair!

 – Matt