Pairing Cigars & Alcohol – Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Rye

Pairing Cigars & Alcohol – Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Rye
Date: July 2024
Author: Inspector X

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 but Mombacho no longer exists. 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 Daniel’s Single Barrel Rye

Jack Daniel’s needs no introduction. It’s without a doubt the best-known American whiskey, with the Old #7 as their most famous whiskey but they make plenty of other high-quality spirits. This Single Barrel Rye is one of them. This historic creation marries the smoothness of Jack Daniel’s with a unique 70% rye grain bill. Complex flavours of ripe fruit mingle with light toasted oak notes to create a taste rich with spice and a pleasant lingering finish. This is a big, bold rye that does not overpower.

Neat

The first sips I try from a Glencairn glass. On the nose I get nuts, hazelnuts and almond with some corn sweetness and some spicy grain. The nuts are just in the aroma, not in the flavour. The spice is there, with an oaky undertone and corn sweetness. There is some ripe fruit flavour too, which reminds me a bit of apricots. The finish is lingering with some peppery notes. Perfect for a medium bodied cigar, with a wide arrange of flavours. It’s a very friendly pour suitable for many cigars.

In a rocks glass, the nose is less pronounced with a bit more pepper. The ripe fruit notes, apricot and orange, are stronger in this type of glass, while the corn sweetness is milder. The oak and spice are the same but the finish seems a bit longer. I paired this with a VegaFina 25th Anniversary and it was a pleasurable pairing.

Old Fashioned

The nose all orange due to the garnish. The spice levels are higher, maybe because of the few dashes of Angostura bitters. The drink has more depth and it keeps amazing me that just a few dashes of bitters and a bit of sugar can change a drink that much. More spice and oak, less sweetness even though there is added sugar and the ripe fruits are more to the back. And therefore I would pick a nice strong maduro cigar, something like the Oliva Melanio Maduro for example. The maduro wrapper boosts the sweetness while the cigar is strong enough to stand up to the drink.

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.

Single Barrel Rye Sazerac

The Sazerac cocktail has been around since the middle of the 19th century, and with good reason. That little bit of absinthe creates a unique flavour combination that delights and surprises to this day. The cocktail originated in New Orleans, a major gateway to the USA that became a hotbed of creative drinking, thanks to the abundance of unique spices, fruits and unusual alcohols that made their way through the city.
Even though the glass is only rinsed with absinth, the aroma is dominating the nose. And when I say dominating, I mean, that’s all you smell. It’s a spirit forward cocktail, which is usually not my thing, but it comes close to an Old Fashioned without the added sweetness. The combination of bitters makes an interesting mix, and added the aroma of the absinth, it creates something unique. Its warming, with the spicy oak of the Kentucky Whiskey, with added spice of the bitters. This cocktail would work well with a nice, strong, woody cigar to enhance the oak flavours of the cocktail.

And now for the Single Barrel Rye Sazerac recipe:
2 ounces or 60ml of Jack Daniels Single Barrel Rye
2 dashes of Peychaud’s bitters
2 dashes of Angostura bitters
Splash of absinth
Fill a rocks glass with crushed ice and a splash of absinth. Pour the Jack Daniels with the bitters in a mixing glass with ice and stir. Empty the rocks glass. Strain the mixed spirit in the rocks glass.

Inspector X

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