Pairing Cigars & Alcohol – Jameson Whiskey

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.

Jameson

One of the oldest but certainly the best-known Irish whiskey, founded in 1780 by John Jameson. Jameson was the son in law of John Haig, a famous Scottish distiller. He’s also the grandfather of Guglielmo Marconi, the famous inventor. Jameson is produced from a blend of grain whiskey and single pot still whiskey, which uses a mixture of malted and unmalted or “green” Irish barley, all sourced from within a fifty-mile radius around the distillery in Cork. The barley is dried in a closed kiln fired by natural gas instead of peat, so the whiskey lacks the smoke and peat flavour.

Neat

A glass can make a world of a difference, sometimes a whisky tastes great in a rocks glass but horrible in a Glencairn, or the other way around as I have experienced. So at first, I’ll be trying this in a Glencairn. The nose has ethanol, floral notes, citrus, apple, marmalade and grass. The light coloured spirit feels thick and oily. The flavours are fresh and fruity sweet with a little kick. There is a slight vanilla cream as well. The finish is neither short nor long. The finish is spicy and honey sweet. This will go well with a spicy yet sweet Connecticut Broadleaf or a nutty Corojo wrapper.

In a rocks glass the nose is milder, the ethanol for example is not present anymore. The flavour is smoother as well, with a little bit of a creamy chocolate flavour on top of the rich orchard fruits with a creamy vanilla finish. In a rocks glass, this whiskey will work with a stronger Connecticut Shade cigar such as the Perdomo Champagne or the Jas Sum Kral Zlatno Sonce.

Old Fashioned

As usual, it’s all orange on the nose. But that’s no surprise with a smooth, milder whiskey like this. The sweetness is strong. The bitters and the simple syrup amplify the orchard fruits and make the drink smoother and more mellow. It is a very pleasant version of the Old Fashioned. And because it is so smooth and mellow, this will go well with a lot of cigars. Something mild to medium, such as the Fonseca Delicias or the Ashton Classic, or something with more body such as the Cohiba Robusto or the Flor de Las Antillas Toro.

And now for the Old-Fashioned recipe:

1 sugar cube
3 dashes of bitters

2 oz or 60 ml of Jameson
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.

Cameron’s Kick

This cocktail is over a hundred years old and first appeared in the ABC of mixing cocktails, a 1922 publication. It appeared again in 1930’s the savoy cocktail book.

The nose is all about lemon, and that worries me. Strong citrus is usually hard to pair with cigars. But let’s see. This is a refreshing drink but the Jameson is overshadowed by the lemon and the Scotch. I used Auchentoshan Three Wood. The orgeat gives a bit of a nutty backdrop. The cocktail is thick in mouthfeel. The lemon is not overpowering, so that makes this cocktail a good match with cigars. If I didn’t know the recipe, I would have sworn it had some bitters as well. A fuller bodied cigar, like the Oliva Series V, would go very well with this cocktail.

And now for the Cameron’s Kick recipe:

1 ounce or 30ml of Scotch whisky
1 ounce or 30ml of Jameson Irish whiskey
½ ounce or 15ml of Lemon Juice, freshly squeezed
1/3 ounce or 10ml of Orgeat

½ ounce or 15ml of chilled water
garnish: Lemon zest twist
Add the liquids in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Inspector X

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