One method of pairing is to come up with two components that have similar flavours. Two such pairs we’ve done focused on the flavors of pepper and another on walnuts and apricots. In this pair I wanted to find different flavors that would go together – particularly chocolate in the cigar and hazelnut and orange liqueur.

The New Zealand Whisky Collection 10 Year Doublewood Whiskey

I chose this drink specifically because of it’s reported tasting notes of hazelnut, orange liqueur, and burnt toffee. However when tasting this drink the strongest flavours I could pick out were the orange liqueur and some notes vanilla. It did not end up being the flavours that I had expected and I was worried about how it was going to pair with the cigar afterall.

An interesting note about this drink that I discovered after the fact is it’s intriguing history. Seagram’s, a Canadian whiskey company located within about 20 minutes from my home, was once one of the largest spirit producers in the world. In 1997 they sold their distillery in New Zealand and it was immediately shutdown. It held 400 barrels of whiskey which were forgotten and left to age, undisturbed, for the next 10 years.

When The New Zealand Whiskey Collection purchased these barrels they bottled it and shipped plenty back to Canada where it’s journey began. The CEO recently visited the Seagram’s Museum in Waterloo, Ontario for a special commemoration of this whiskey.

Perdomo 10th Anniversary Maduro

This cigar was originally released in 1997 – the same year the distillery in New Zealand was shut down. Cigar Aficionado scored this stick an outstanding 92 and noted that “this is another great example of how great Nicaraguan cigars can be.”

This triple fermented Nicaraguan Maduro is dark and oily as if the wrapper were made out of dark chocolate itself. The 10th Anniversary Maduro is sweet with rich flavors of cocoa and coffee. Off the light there is a spice like that from a chili, hitting the back the throat with strength. The draw is tight and though uneven at times it self corrects easily. After just the first inch the power of this stick becomes obvious.

Pairing the Perdomo 10th Anniversary Maduro + The New Zealand Whisky Collection 10 Year Doublewood Whiskey

The flavor profiles were not as expected and the cigar and drink did not pair as I intended. However, it worked out surprisingly well in other ways and I would recommend this pair again. But be warned! This is labeled a strong pair for a reason. The cigar mellows the drink slightly smoothing out the orange liqueur and introducing creamy malt flavours. The spice of the cigar is gone after the first third and the two components work together.

It’s a great pair but be warned – it is powerful!