Why Pair a Cognac with a Cigar?
Cigars and cognac: Cognac and cigars. For many, the two ride hand in hand, rather like lemon on seafood or cheese and wine.
But why is this so? After all, smoke a cigarette with cognac and you’ll lessen your ability to taste the subtle flavors and appreciate the mélange of aromas on offer. But when it comes to enjoying a good cognac with a quality cigar, it’s been believed for centuries that if you get the pairing right, it actually enhances your enjoyment of both. And hey, if it was good enough for Winston Churchill (who used to pair Hine Cognac with Cuban Romeo y Julietas Cigars), then it’s definitely good enough for us.
What comes first? The cognac, or the cigar?
Now there’s a question! The thing is, those whose first love is cognac will say that this is the most important partner in the equation. And vice versa with the cigars. But in truth, when we’re talking about pairing, then both have equal bearing. And, of course, each person’s view is subjective – and this is what makes experimentation so damned enjoyable…
A sensory journey
The thing is, when we try a good cognac or select a cigar, it’s the aromas and taste that make for a quality experience. You might be looking for a cognac to accompany a mild cigar; in which case your choice would probably be different to when you’re enjoying one that’s more full-bodied.What this boils down to is that there’s no ‘one size fits all’ combination to pairing. But for anyone looking for a good starting point, former CEO of Courvoisier, Jean-Marc Olivier, believes that Courvoisier Napoleon Cognac is a great all-rounder to be enjoyed with a variety of cigars. And who are we to argue?
Key requirements for a great cigar cognac
The crucial element when selecting such a cognac is age – and in general, the older the better. Extended aging allows the rancio to develop – something that’s crucial for a great cognac-cigar pairing. Park Cognac came up with a beauty with their XO Cigar Blend, as have Frapin, with their Cigar Blend Vieille Grande Champagne Cognac.
It’s all about experimentation
The whole ethos about pairing a cigar with a cognac is that each complements the other. While there’s no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ choice, most people concur that age (of the cognac) is the most important factor to take into consideration. Then, determine the type of cigar.
For lighter cigars, many pair this with a balanced, nutty, lighter cognac, such as the Martell Extra Cohiba. For medium cigars, try a cognac that’s heavier on spicy notes. And for a true full bodied cigar, look for one with earthy, leathery qualities.
We think this Martell Cognac is a good choice – and the decanter’s pretty neat too.
Whatever your choice, enjoy the journey. Neither a good cognac nor a good cigar is ever meant to be rushed. Today’s crazy 21st century lifestyle doesn’t often allow time for such a luxury. So when that time does occur, be sure to take full advantage.