Bourbon And Cigar Pairing Study: Four Roses Special Releases And A Special My Father

I have been studying bourbon and cigar pairings with Michael Veach and Wayne Klawier for several months now. It all started in a conversation with Michael Veach about my beliefs most people making recommendations are basing them on faulty information. Nearly everyone I talk to recommends pairing a full-bodied bourbon with a full-bodied cigar and vice versa. In my experience when you have strong characteristics paired with strong characteristics they compete for your attention instead of complementing each other.

What I have always recommended is pairing a less full-bodied bourbon with a more full-bodied cigar and vice versa. But I discovered after starting this research there was another layer- proof plays a significant role in whether or not your pairing will be successful. Lower proof bourbons, as it turns out, are generally better for pairing with cigars.

I recently decided to try the lineup of special Four Roses releases, some of which are review samples provided by the distillery, with a special release of cigar. The bourbon lineup included:

  • Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch 2015 108.6 proof (OBSK, 2-OESKs, OBSV)
  • Four Roses Limited Edition Elliott’s Select 2016 116.8 proof (OESK)
  • Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch 2016 111.2 proof (OBSV, OESO, OESK)

I paired it with a 2015 TAA Exclusive My Father La Antiguidad 6×50 box pressed toro. The cigar had noted of pepper, maple syrup, and nuts.

Four Roses 2015 Limited Edition Small Batch

  • Smoke accentuates the dark red cherry notes in the bourbon
  • Bourbon brings out milk chocolate in the smoke

Four Roses 2016 Limited Edition Elliott’s Select

  • Smoke brings out creaminess in bourbon as well as notes of floral and apricot
  • Bourbon accentuates nuttiness in the smoke

Four Roses 2016 Limited Edition Small Batch

  • Smoke brings out green apple notes in the bourbon
  • Bourbon brings out milk chocolate in the smoke

While each of these was a nice pairing in its own right, the last bourbon was by far the most enjoyable. This is surprising to me since the proof is on the higher side, but it is very well balanced overall and made for an enjoyable pairing.

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Photos Courtesy of Maggie Kimberl

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