August 8, 2014

Laphroaig and Cigars: 18 Year + San Cristobal de la Habana

Pairing Laphroaig and cigars is just something that needs to be in life.  It’s like a notable milestone.  I’ve had this unopened Laphroaig 18 year old scotch waiting on my shelf for a while now just waiting for the right cigar to pair with it. Finally it was time. I’d found a match and as a bonus it was a line of Cuban I hadn’t yet had the chance to enjoy.

About Laphroaig 18 Year Scotch

Laphroaig has an interesting history peppered with interesting tales of conflict, devotion, and plane crashes. I encourage you to visit their site and read all about it.

They are dedicated to their traditional methods of producing their great spirit. They are one of only a few distilleries in Scottland still floor malting, controlling the temperatures of the grain by flicking them by hand and by simply opening and closing windows. They are the only one that peats and then dries (rather than doing it together) which gives them that unique flavour.

This beautiful scotch is a golden yellow colour with strong notes of peat and smokey oak.

In the mouth there are some light fruits – apples? – and then definite peaty characteristic of all Laphroaig scotches followed by smoke and wood. The finish is warm and medium in length. It’s much smoother than expected – although perhaps it should be expected with that age.

As you sip this drink you can imagine the damp fields of peat, the cool sea air that mixes with the angel’s share, the moist stone walls that house the casks during the big sleep.

About San Cristobal de la Habana

San Cristobal de la Habana was launched in 1999 as a tribute to the city it’s made in. The city formerly known as San Cristobal, or Saint Christopher, is now known as Havana, Cuba.

Though another brand previously existed under this name prior to the Revolution, this line has nothing to do with that previous brand.

The four vitolas currently in production are each named after a fortress in Cuba. We went with the El Morro, named after the castle which guarded the entrance to Havana Harbour.

Cigar has a light smell. A powdery sweetness on the wrapper, light hay on the foot. The dry draw is sweet like a breakfast cereal. Once lit, the draw is easy with a good amount of smoke. There’s is definitely a Cuban flavour to this cigar with a sweet hay, honey, and a bit of nut. One person notice some light salt on the lips while another notice a little pepper in the throat.

About Pairing Laphroaig and Cigars

When returning to the drink after the smoke it tastes immediately of honey in the mouth. The smokiness is subdued properly and the peat becomes crisper, cleaner, and more defined in the most delicious way.

The cigar was un-deterred and continued to provide great flavours that really complimented this drink well. This is one of the best combinations I’ve put together myself in a while. Perfect balance that made you want to sit back and enjoy the pair, and then want more at the end. If you’re looking to pair Laphroaig and cigars, this was a nice pair.

Check out our other scotch and cigar pairings

– David

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