Pairing Cigars & Alcohol – Auchentoshan Three Wood

Cigars and alcohol. Two luxury products that go hand in hand, and sometimes even meet on business level. Aging tobacco in whisky, rum, or cognac barrels is a practice several brands do to achieve extra flavour to the wrapper for certain lines. The famous bourbon brand Maker’s Mark has their own cigar, sold in tubes with the signature wax coating. Drew Estate works with Pappy van Winkle and used to make Kahlua cigars. Mombacho used to have the Diplomatico series. General Cigars works with Sazerac, which resulted in Fireball cigars, Weller by Cohiba and collaborations with Buffalo Trace. And there is the Diesel Whisky Row, a collaboration with Rabbit Hole Distilleries. Fratello Cigars also sells craft beer. Most famous are probably the Cuban collaboration between Martell Cognac and Cohiba. Dominique London, the European retailer with more than 20 shops in the UK, Belgium, Switzerland and the Canary Islands takes it one step further. They bought a distillery in Wales and produce whisky, gin, rum, vodka and liquors.

Auchentoshan Three Wood

The distillery stems from 1823 and the name come from Gaelic and means ‘corner of the field’. The distillery is located near Glasgow. Over the years, the distillery changed hands many times, and since 1994, the distillery is owned by Suntory (now Beam Suntory) after they acquired Morrison Bowmore, the company that owned the distillery since 1984. Fun fact, during the second world war, a German bomb caused a large crater very close to the main building, which is now used to store cooling water.

I am drinking the Three Wood, a whisky that won “the best Scotch Whisky and Cigar Combination” in the world when paired with the Bolivar Inmensas. The Three Wood name comes from the aging process of this whisky, where the spirit is first aged in American Bourbon casks before being transferred to Spanish Oloroso Sherry casks. Finally the whisky is finished in Pedro Ximenes Sherry casks to get its signature flavours.


In a Glencairn glass, this whisky has a lot of fruity sweetness, like brandied cherries with toffee and sherry. The first sip impresses me, rich and intense flavours of dark chocolate with dark forest fruits topped with a bit of pepper. The spirit feels thick and oily. This will go well with an oily, rich and smooth Maduro cigar. Something like the Diesel Unholy Cocktail or the Tatuaje Nuevitas Jibaro #1. There isn’t much choice in Cuban maduro wrappers so either a Cohiba maduro or a Partagas maduro.

In a rocks glass, the aroma is not as intense and has some citrus with the fruit, toffee and sherry. The whisky feels a bit smoother in this type of glass, less intense but still very complex and rich. The long and flavourful finish is full of wood and toffee. I would like to try this with the earlier mentioned Bolivar Inmensas but the Belicoso Finos would be great too. In the non-Cuban world, something with a nice San Andres wrapper such as the West Tampa Red would be an interesting pairing.

Old Fashioned

I made two versions of the old fashioned, one with coco bitters for my wife, and one with angostura bitters for myself. I tried the one for my wife as well and that is a great cocktail. But since I have been making regular Old Fashioned cocktails as a baseline for this series of articles, I will talk about the regular version with the classic Angostura bitters.

On the nose there is a lot of orange, as usual, due to the oils from the orange peel and the peel as a garnish. The sweetness from the sugar is strong but clashes a bit with the fruity sweetness of the whisky. This might not be the best whisky for an old fashioned. The bitters provide a nice added layer to the dark and rich chocolate and the dark forest fruits. The bitters and the whisky work well together, and next time I will use less sugar to balance the cocktail. Due to the sweetness, I would not get a Maduro cigar but I look more forward to pairing this with either a strong, peppery cigar or a Corojo wrapper for the nuttiness. And when you say Corojo, you say Aganorsa Leaf or any of the cigars Aganorsa Leaf makes for others.

And now for the Old-Fashioned recipe:
1 sugar cube
3 dashes of bitters
2 oz or 60 ml of whisky
Orange peel
Put the sugar cube in a highball glass, add the dashes of bitters and a splash of water. Muddle the sugar cube. Add ice and the whisky. Stir for 10 seconds, then add an orange peel.

John Collins

One of the most famous cocktails in the world is the Tom Collins. John Collins is a sibling to that Tom Collins, but with whisky instead of gin. Some say a John Collins can only be made with Bourbon, while other sources say that any whisky will do. And that’s why I’m drinking a John Collins with Auchentoshan Three Wood.

The nose is mainly orange due to the garnish. I used an orange slice and a cherry, so I assume that if you use a lemon slice you smell more lemon on the nose. The lemon juice makes this cocktail sour, too sour in my opinion so I suggest toning the lemon down a bit. Then the woody  aromas of the whisky kick in with a little bit of the dark forest fruits. But the sweetness is almost none existent.  And since this cocktail is too sour, you need a strong earthy cigar to cut through the lemon. That means a Montecristo #2, Pledge Prequal and cigars in that direction.

And now for the John Collins recipe:
1½ oz or 45 ml of whisky
1 oz or 30 ml of lemon juice, freshly squeezed
½ oz or 15 ml of simple syrup
2 oz or 60 ml of club soda
Orange slice or lemon slice and a maraschino cherry for garnish
Fill a Collins glass with ice.
Add in the whisky, lemon juice and simple syrup and stir. Top off with the Club Soda and add the garnish. You can also decide to shake the whisky, lemon and simple syrup in a shaker instead of stirring.

Inspector X

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