Pairing Review: An Unwanted Guest, Casa Cuba Flor Fina, Lagavulin

An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena was mystery ‘whodonit.’ The Casa Cuba Flor Fina by Fuente and Lagavulin 12 year were also mysteries, as I had never tried them before. I thought it would fit the mystery theme.

Lapena’s book is reminscent of an Agatha Christie ‘locked room’ mystery, in that all the characters are snowed in at a remote hotel when the bodies start to drop. The plot is nonexistent beyond this, up until the reveal at the end of the book that (a little too) neatly wraps everything up – plus a bonus surprise (that if you’re paying attention you might see coming). Speaking of surprises, the Casa Cuba Flor Fina has a surprisingly tangy taste to it before relaxing into smooth tobacco flavors. It was a medium bodied cigar that did not overpower the lighter bodied story line.

The characters in the book were distinctive, which is good since the book is told from multiple points of view and could be confusing to some. Each character was skillfully crafted to be questionable in character so that any of them could possibly have done it. The Lagavulin, on the other hand, gave away all its secrets in the first scent of peat and sweet vanilla that make a direct translation to a smoky, caramel flavor profile.

The setting was masterfully created to give a tone of isolation, darkness, and cold. You could feel the isolation and the chill of a hotel without power in the middle of a snowstorm. The Casa Cuba Flor Fina acted as a good counterpart in its comforting tobacco flavors and spice and the Lagavulin was a good bracer against the sense of chillness.

An Unwanted Guest was an easy way to pass an afternoon and the Lagavulin went down thick and easy as well. The Cuba Casa Flor Fina was a mild enough cigar that required no touch up attention and easily slipped into the background of the reading. I admit, I enjoyed the Lagavulin and the cigar more than the book and will seek them both out again. Overall, I found the pairing a little contradictory because the cigar and sips were more full-bodied than the plot. However, the differences complemented rather than distracted from the reading. I would say it was ultimately a successful pairing. While I will likely pass on the book to another rather than revisit it, I will reach again for both the Lagavulin and the Casa Cuba Flor Fina.

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