Along with the Cigar Boom, we're living through the Single-Malt Scotch Boom. Connoisseurs have discovered that some Cigars and scotches are made for each other — and some would be better off if they were never introduced.
Tim Kopec, one of America's top sommeliers, dispenses wine and scotch knowledge at Montrachet in New York. Here's the thinking behind some of his preferred pairings.
- Cigar: Macanudo "Duke Of Devon" (Jamaican)
- Scotch: Glenfiddich (Highland)
"The Cigar has a sweet, delicate smoke. The scotch is also light and refreshing. Because both Cigar and scotch are mild and easy, this is a good novice pairing."
- Cigar: Davidoff 4000 (Dominican Rep.)
- Scotch: Oban 14 yr. (Highland)
"Many smokers consider Davidoff the best non-Cuban. This light colored Cigar has finesse, as does this West Highland scotch — which gains complexity from its age. Like most West Highlands, it's easy drinking."
- Cigar: La Gloria Cubana Torpedo (Florida)
- Scotch: Dram Select Batch 1, 23yr (Campbeltown)
"Let's put subtlety aside and match two powerhouses. The Cigar smokes with a full, rich range of flavors that are complemented by the scotch's salty, iodine character. The aging adds finesse to the scotch, which marries well with the power of the Cigar. This Cigar is a good value but very hard to find."
- Cigar: Cohiba Robusto (Cuba)
- Scotch: Lagavulin 16 yr. (Islay)
"A powerful, spicy smoke that harmonizes with the rich, smoky peat of Lagavulin. Neither the Cigar nor the scotch are for the novice. Smelling the Cigar's oily sheen before lighting gives as much pleasure as nosing the scotch. A hedonic tease."
- Cigar: Romeo y Julieta Churchill (Cuba)
- Scotch: Macallan 25 yr. (Highland)
"The Rolls Royce of Cigar-and-scotch pairing. The Cigar has a rich smoke, full of delicate spice, and a graceful draw to a full-bodied finish. The long aging of this complex Highland scotch harmonizes the whiskey, so you're not identifying single flavors, but a complex aroma. A decadent pairing — one of life's great moments."
Coordinates: Montrachet is a non-smoking restaurant; 239 W. Broadway, NY; 212-219-2777.
A version of this article appeared in the Feb/Mar 1997 issue of Fast Company magazine.