Pairing good books with great cigars and sips

You love cigars, you love whiskey, and you love reading! The question is, when you’re curled up or lounged out with your novel, how do you know which cigar and whiskey will best complement your reading? It is a question that I often ponder as I am preparing to settle into a good book because it’s my favorite way to pass the time. I’ve found that different genres are complimented by different smokes and sips – and I’d like to share with you what usually works for me. Now, within each genre of books there is a variety of style that will lend itself to something different, something particular, but let’s talk what I find works overall.

(Too long? There’s a short version)

When reading biographies, I find that something full-bodied that kicks you right in thetaste buds works the best because that’s kind of how life works. What bettercigar to judge how someones’ lived than My Father’s “The”Judge”? A decadent treat with lots of smoke that alsolends itself to that foggy retelling of life.

To balance something like those heavier moments in life, I tend to pair it with something well balanced and delicate. A bourbon with a fruity or floral essence, something crisp to keep up with The Judge, is best. For this, I would recommend Four Roses Bourbon, which, with its pleasant softness, complements both the fullness of a life well lived and The Judge.”

I find reading history like reading biographies but through the lens of time.  This kind of contemplation requires a slow smoke to digest the reading. To achieve that, I prefer Fuente’s signature “Hemingway”cigar. It has a rich variety of flavors, from chocolate and coffee to citrus and cedar, much like history’s many flavorful points of view.

I find the Glenlivet 15 year to bring that needed balance to compliment this weightiness of topic. It has flavors of peach and flowers with notes of vanilla and walks the line between sweetness and maltiness. 

I often find myself feeling sophisticated when reading fiction, especially the classics. Fiction is wide ranging in topics and lessons, so, to help me soak those lessons up, I’ll reach for Teeling’s “Small Batch Irish Whiskey.”  It has a mellow taste that hints at rich, spiced rum.  This Teeling treat uses wood and peppery notes to keep things from becoming too sweet though. Hand in hand with this, the woody draw and rich, balanced smoke of the Ashton “Classic” helps put the proverbial feather in your cap.

Ah, but just because fiction seems fancier doesn’t mean we should neglect the sub-genres! Mystery novels keep you on the edge of your ‘who-done-it’ seat. The FSG will do the same with its diverse mixture of tastes, keeping you happily guessing which flavor will pop out at you next. There’s its cedar flavor that burns down into earthier tones of oak, gingerbread, and mild pepper but! surprisingly, there’s also a toasty whiskey flavor in the end.  A crisp freshness of grains and orange zest pairs nicely in the form of Highland Park 10 Year. This single malt keeps its sweet marzipan and sherry flavors from becoming overpowering with a slight, appealing hint of bitterness – just as mysteries hint at such feelings beneath the happy façade of some evil doer within the plot.

Fantasy and sci-fi novels are my favorite. I admit, because of this, I reach for my favorite smoke and sip merely because they are my favorite. The strong, spicy smoke with hints of sweetened, dried berries and maple from Fuente’s”Fuente Fuente OpusX is everything I could hope for on an adventure of the imagination. It’s even draw balances the often crazy storylines. And here I veer from the pattern of whiskey, just as this genre veers from reality, because what better than Zacapa XO to pair with this splendid, fullbodied smoke? It’s also sweet, full of dates, brown sugar, caramel, chocolate and dark cherry flavors. It’s long, smooth finish is full of smoke and honey with hints of sugary vanilla lingering on the palate. It’s an indulgent, sweet pairing to go with the indulgent, but often complicated, meaningful adventures found in the fantasy and sci-fi realms.

Speaking of indulgence though, what better dirty little secret read than the romance novel! For this, there is nothing better than undressing the yellow cello of a Perdomo “Champagne 10th Anniversary.” It has all the right notes of molasses and rich caramel followed by hints of that earthiness we look for in romance. The “Caskmates Stout Edition of Jamison is a creamy partner, also full of caramel deliciousness, with just the right bit of burn on the finish to keep you tingly as you enjoy a steamy read.

I hope this high level tour of flavorful reads and pairings will help you in the future when trying to decide how to settle into your book. Remember, ultimately, almost all reading preferences are based on who is reading it, and so too are cigars and liquor. You don’t have to take me at my word that the above is the begin all,end all of how to read, smoke and sip together. The bottom line is if you enjoy it, then it’s the right match for you. And sometimes experimentation, extensive experimentation, is needed before you discover what pairings fit your favorite genre. Perhaps though, you’ll find this guide a helpful place to start. Happy reading!

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