Pairing Cigars & Alcohol – Jack Daniels

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.

Jack Daniels

Jack Daniels is best known for the Old No.7, which is a bourbon with an ABV 0f 40%, aka 80 proof. But Jack Daniels also has other bottlings, such as the Single Barrel, that are higher in proof. In the summer of 2018, the Lynchburg distillery released a new overproof bourbon, especially for duty-free locations. By the way, if you don’t know what overproof means, a bourbon of whisky is overproof when the ABV is 50% aka 100 proof.

This duty-free overproof bourbon is called ‘the Bottled-in-Bond and is limited to select duty free stores around the world. Although it is only sold at select locations, this bottle was advertised as a “permanent line extension in the Jack Daniel’s Family of Brands.” It was created to honour its commitment to quality and pay tribute to the Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897, this bottle met all of the parameters outlined in 1897 which stated that the whiskey had to be aged at least 4 years and bottled at 100 proof at one distillery during a single season.


At first, I try this Jack Daniels creation in a Glencairn glass. The nose is fruit with some cinnamon spice, brown sugar and toast. Even though this is an overpriced bourbon, there is no ethanol in the nose. There is a slight burn but the bourbon is warming, savoury with a nice banana cream sweetness. I can also taste apple, sweetness and black pepper. The finish is oak with toffee. This bourbon is pleasant to sip meat, and I can imagine this going well with a nice dark Maduro cigar. The sweetness of the spirit will pair well with the sweetness of a Maduro wrapper, while the pepper would go well with a strong Nicaraguan cigar. I can see myself pairing this with a La Mission from Tatuaje, or a Diesel Unholy Cocktail.

In a rocks glass, the nose is less concentrated and less interesting. The spirit feels a bit more viscous. There is more pepper and more banana. If you don’t have a Glencairn glass but you drink this bourbon neat from a rocks glass, drink to with a nice Habano wrapped cigar.

Old Fashioned

The nose is orange and orange only. But that’s expected. The spice is still there, but the sweetness changes from fruit to more refined sugar and there is a nice bitterness from the angostura. Honestly, I prefer this bourbon neat than in an old fashioned. I paired it with a Hiram & Solomon Veiled Prophet and that was a great pairing.

And now for the Old-Fashioned recipe:
1 sugar cube
3 dashes of bitters
2 oz or 60 ml of Jack Daniels Old #7
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.

Talent Scout

It still amazes me how much aroma can come from a little slice of peel. With an Old Fashioned its always orange on the nose and on this cocktail it’s lemon. There is no lemon in the flavour though, it’s orange with the toffee and banana from the whisky, oak too and of course the bitters from the angostura. It is a pretty stiff cocktail so I’d go for a strong cigar. Tatuaje Cojonu, 601 Warhead, Cain F, those kinds of cigars

And now for the Talen Scout recipe:
2¼ ounce or 67½ ml of overproof bourbon
½ ounce or 15ml of orange curacao
4 dashes of Angostura bitters
Add the ingredients to a glass. Add a large rock of ice and stir till chilled. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Inspector X

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