The focus of the Virginia Wine and Cigar Trail has been on wine and cigar pairing. It should be apparent that the characteristics of our Panacea cigars in their ability to complement a wide variety of beverages across our 7 blends should apply to spirits, as well.
It may be counter-intuitive to our target market, The Opportunistic Cigar Smoker, that the bigger ring gauged cigars in our cigar blends tend to be more complex and milder flavor than the smaller ring gauged cigars in the same blend. That is not always the case but it is in our case. It has to do with the bolder flavors of our wrappers and binders and the change in the ration of those components to our complex filler blends. Consequently, when pairing with the stronger flavors of the scotch I tend to prefer a smaller ring gauged cigar as it has a flavor bold enough to balance the flavors of the scotch.
North-Highland malts tend to be lighter with a spicy, sometimes salty character. My favorite, Glenmorangie, has a candy sweetness that comes, in part from the Sherry casking.
I find that the Panacea White Corojo Bolt has a caramel high note that pairs very nicely with the Highland scotches in general and the Glenmorangie in particular. If you are in a Celtic mood, the White Corojo is also a great pairing with an Irish amber. The malted barley has a nice caramel flavor that is an ideal match for the Corojo. I prefer the Torpedo with the lighter beverage.
Speysides have a fruity sweetness. “They can be highly perfumed: scents of carnations, roses, violets, apples, bananas, cream soda and lemonade have all been discovered in Speyside malts.” Lots of variety here, and many of my favorites are Speyside including Glenlivet, Glenfiddich, Macallan, The Balvenie.
The Panacea Red Habano Robusto is a good beginning point for any Speyside Scotch. I like it especially well with The Balvenie and Macallan. The Red Habano has a fruitcake spice flavor that includes cinnamon, nutmeg and candied fruit flavors. It is highly complex and has been awarded a 93 rating from Smoke Magazine in this vitola. My favorite cigar in this blend is our 760, The Peacemaker which is an ideal pairing with a Guinness Stout, bringing out its fruity undertones.
Islay whiskies tend to be dry and peaty; behind the smoke, however, can be mossy scents and some spice. When I drink Islays I tend towards the Laphroaig, Lagavulin, and Bowmore.
The Panacea Black Maduro has a deep, fungal smokiness that is a nice pairing with the Islay Scotch. While the Robusto is a good choice for The Opportunistic Cigar Smoker, as it tends to be slightly milder, the Perfecto in this blend tends to be stronger and of fuller flavor. The Perfecto has become one of my favorite shapes. It is easy to light and, once past the tapered first half-inch, opens into a rich and complex flavor. I find this in all three of our Perfecto blends.
I have found that our generic pairings. like these are appropriate approximately 80% of the time. The variation and subtlety of the individual beverage results in what may seem like unusual pairings at times but, that is where the fun comes. There are great rewards for your diligence in the form of great scotch and great cigars.