Scotch, Cigars, and the Bonds They Create
One of the greatest connections I have experienced recently is the relationship between whisk(e)y and cigars, and the people who strengthen that bond. It is an amazing thing when your passion directs you to some truly great people who are on a similar path. While on the hunt to learn more about rye, bourbon, scotch, cognac and whiskey and seeing which tastes combine with which cigars, I discovered something else I wasn’t expecting. And though unexpected, in the end it really isn’t surprising when I look back.
That discovery is that both cigars and scotch have a culture around them that at the heart of it is about bonding. Because we are talking about personal tastes, there is a level of intimacy into our personal perspectives that both scotch and cigars give a comfortable link to. There is no wrong answer when it comes to what your favorite scotch or cigar is- or even how to drink or smoke it. Yes- I know I am definitely opinionated on the matter but I am also able to realize that just because something is my preference doesn’t make it the only way. As long as the item is being thoroughly enjoyed by the consumer, what else matters?
What is fun though is watching someone else enjoy your favorite scotch or cigar for the first time. Then seeing what you have in common as far as taste profiles are concerned and then each discovering something new to try. It’s exciting just talking to someone about it and making the comparisons.
While hunting for some of my favorite selections (particularly the ones that are rare releases or no longer in production) I have met some passionate scotch connoisseurs. One gentleman in particular I got to know while smoking cigars at a scotch tasting at a local Cigar bar. Needless to say the conversation was one with lots of excitement over the different styles of whiskeys and cigars. And it didn’t end there. It turns out he brings people together at his house once every month or so and hosts a tasting. Most times, he encourages everyone to bring a bottle (hopefully of something others may not have had yet) and everyone shares a taste of something new. His name is Bob and he is an excellent host. He is very knowledgeable and organizes the selections into a tasting order, then gives a bit of history on each item prior to tasting. Cheese and crackers, as well as water, are provided throughout the evening to encourage a clean palate between tastings as well as keeping everything in order. Afterward, it is off to the patio with our favorite selection of the night to be paired with a cigar.
The friends I have made there I have gotten to know better through the events we attend- primarily focused on cigars or a particular spirit. And each event it isn’t unusual for us to meet another who will join us in our tastings. It ends up feeling like a big family. That is what cigars and scotch do, though. Food and wine do it as well. They make bonds between people as the passion for the hobby is strengthened as well. It is more than a social gathering- it is a culture.
One of the fun new elements that has found its way into my lifestyle is hunting down a special rye, bourbon, scotch, or cigar for one of my friends. It isn’t just about me- we look out for each other and look forward to sharing our finds together. It’s about bringing something into our little community. There is a sense of victory about it that strengthens the connection not only between us as a group, but with our passion for taste.
The pictures here are a preview of a few of my favorites from my personal collection. Each bottle has a story- from the distiller and from my own personal memories. I love that combination and enjoy bringing that into my cigar smoking experiences. Look for some of these bottles in my next cigar video pairings. In the meantime, if you have a favorite scotch, rye, bourbon or whiskey you would like to share please do in the comments! If there is a particular pairing you favor I would love to hear it as well. This could be a fun experiment!
A special thank you to Allen, John, and Christy and to Freddy, David, and Hugo. You know why 😉