The secret to cognac and cigar pairing


    Cigars and cognac have more in common than one may think. For one, both are synonymous with luxury, enjoyed on many occasions whether alone or with company.

    Each is also a product of distinctive origins, from exceptional terroirs that influence the resulting aromas. France’s famed amber spirit heralds from the hallowed Cognac AOC, and cigars from the island of Cuba, Central America, and other regions from which their tobacco and leaves are cultivated.

    And both require time to be enjoyed to the fullest. The act of smoking a cigar, or tasting an aged cognac, is not to be rushed if one is to extract the maximum delight from the experience. 

    It is for these reasons (and countless others) that cognac and cigar pairing makes for such a memorable combination. Even so, before reaching for the humidor, there are certain things to keep in mind.

    First things first, let us dispel a popular misconception. Contrary to some beliefs, it is not advised to dip one’s cigar into the cognac. This is more likely to damage the cigar’s end than improve the overall organoleptic experience.

    It is wiser to smoke the cigar while enjoying the glass of cognac. The aromas will merge in the mouth, accentuating the flavours and scents of the cigar and spirit simultaneously. 

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    What cognac goes with what cigars?

    As with cognac, cigars vary in terms of their bodiedness, from light – characterised by being fine and delicate, to full-bodied, which are powerful and expressive.

    The key is to match the relative intensity of the cigar with that of the cognac so one does not dominate the other.

    For a young cognac, such as Martell VS, look for a lighter cigar such as those from the Dominican Republic. A Martell VSOP meanwhile can handle a cigar with a more medium-bodied profile.

    Extra Old cognacs, the likes of Martell XO, demand a cigar with power and complexity. A well-balanced Havana would do nicely.

    An XO cognac as iconic as Martell Cordon Bleu deserves to be enjoyed with a cigar of comparable stature. A handmade Nicaraguan cigar can offer flavours that are rich and creamy, with luscious notes of coffee and mocha. Or go straight for a Cuban, preferably one in which the flavours only intensify with each breath inhaled.

    Then, there are those seeking a truly exceptional cognac and cigar pairing experience. The House created Martell Cohiba specifically to complement the flavour of the famous Cuban cigar.

    Martell Cohiba is composed exclusively of eaux-de-vie from the Grande Champagne cru, a cognac that yields complex and intense aromas. In short, a superb cognac that honours Martell’s Cuban kinship with Cohiba cigars.

    And of course, the final advice for pairing cognac with cigars is to enjoy both responsibly.

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