Glenlivet Let Wide
Cigar, Whisky & Beer Pairing: Glenlivet Let Wide
I’d like to preface this blog with a profuse apology for the horrific James Bond pun I chose to entitle it with; as we all know, all puns are terrible but you have to throw them all at the wall and see if they stick.
What most certainly has stuck in my mind however is the fabled compatibility of Romeo y Julieta cigars and Speyside whiskies, so I decided to take the time out to see for myself what all the fuss is about!
Admittedly, I can take or leave the Romeo y Julieta brand on the whole; I know they’re great cigars and that Romeo y Julieta offer the widest range of long filler sizes in any Cuban brand, but it’s only in special cases like the Capuleto, Exhibicion No. 4, Churchill Anejado and in this case the cigar I’m featuring in this pairing, the Wide Churchill, that I really sit up and take notice of how spectacular they really can be.
The Romeo y Julieta Churchill is by far one of the best known cigars in the world, but in 2006 it started gaining friends, beginning with the Short Churchill and then another in 2010 in the form of the Wide Churchill; in keeping with the ongoing trend amongst enthusiasts for seeking more cigars with heftier ring gauges; clocking in at 5 ¼” length and a thoroughly impressive 55 ring gauge, it’s an imposing beast for sure and has long been my Romeo of choice should I be hell-bent on having one.
So now to turn to the whisky!
Given that roughly half of all distilleries in Scotland are comfortably nestled in the rolling glens of Speyside, it afforded me an absolute treasure trove of options to deliberate over! I knew that I didn’t want to push too far in any given direction in terms of flavour profile; in this scenario balance is key. Which meant I’d be glossing over the sherry bombs and big hitting ex-bourbon cask bad-boys, this train of thought was a nice opportunity to take things back to basics and think about the signature Speyside style and why it works so well with Romeo y Julieta cigars: both are renowned for their mellowness, fragrance, aromatics and again, balance.
Ultimately this brought me to The Glenlivet’s 15 Year Old French Oak Reserve, which was matured in French Limousin Oak casks (Limousin Oak is a popular choice for the maturation of Cognac). I was already well acquainted with this particular dram, having imbibed of it on many occasions in the past; I knew it’d be balanced enough to keep with the running theme of the pairing but rich and developed enough to keep up with and cut through the flavours of the cigar.
Ordinarily, I’d have been happy enough to just stick with my stogie and dram, but I’d acquired quite the thirst over the course of the day and I find myself all too often powerless to resist it!
Oftentimes when the thirst operates me like a hand puppet, it is also a thoroughly directionless beast, but today it let me know that it was craving something Belgian and furthermore something made by in an abbey by monks. In keeping with the already established parts of the pairing, I selected Chimay White as my weapon of choice, one of the most immediately recognisable beers in the Trappist category and despite its robust ABV of 8% still thoroughly smooth and balanced enough to tie in nicely with its playmates!
At last it was time to gauge exactly how true the much vaunted combination of Speyside drams and Romeo y Julietas really is! After taking a little while to correct a little sideburn on the cigar, I got down to brass tacks, thoroughly enjoying myself through the vast plumes of aromatic smoke billowing from the Wide Churchill, with the Glenlivet providing full and rich notes of winter spice, cinnamon and cloves that entwined gracefully together and the oh so smooth Chimay White bringing a grounded balance to the proceedings, it didn’t need it, but it was most certainly nice to have it.
If you’re a fan of Romeo y Julieta cigars or Speyside whiskies and have never tried combining the two, or even if you’re just looking to take a walk on the mild side, this could be a dream of a pairing for you!