Whisky, Beer & Cigar Pairing: ...And The Only Prescription is Holy Cowbell!
For this blog I’ve opted to try my hand at a whisky, beer and cigar trio, which is a little out with my usual comfort zone, and thanks to my outrageous sweet-tooth I’ll be delving back for another foray into the realms of the dark and sweet.
Starting off with a solid base of Beavertown’s Holy Cowbell india stout (5.6%ABV), a beautiful marriage of hops and malt, smashing together deep chocolatey tones with the juicyness of Summit and Centennial hops, an unholy marriage actualised by the crazy minds at Beavertown.
After selecting the beer, it got me to thinking of New World cigars, a nice complimentary dark wrapper would go beautifully with such a deep, rich beer, but which one? A short jaunt into the humidor threw up a solution to that conundrum: enter the Alec Bradley Black Market punk, the smallest of the Black Market line, produced in Tobacos de Oriente in Danli, Honduras. It’s a mixture of Panamanian and Honduran filler tobaccos with a Sumatran binder and Nicaraguan wrapper, a beautifully peppery and crisp smoke that gives way to a sweet, almost cedar-eqsue affair towards the middle and doubles down on it on the approach to the finish with a vaguely chocolatey air to it, matching almost seamlessly with the Holy Cowbell.
In search of something of a quality nature to pair with the former items, I looked to a new addition to our shelves, the Ledaig 13 (59.2%ABV), a beautiful sherried number from the esteemed Tobermory distillery on the Isle of Mull. This wee beast is matured in Amontillado sherry casks, but unlike the ripe rich fruityness you’d expect from a sherry cask finish, it hits you with a wall of smoke and that you’d come to expect from something released as a Ledaig expression. As peat and sweet are two of my favourite flavour profile combinations in the world of whisky, this seemed the most appropriate thing to combine with such rich, sweet pairing mates.
As I set out to form this combination I was looking to embrace and combine the darker, sweeter things on the menu at CASC and I couldn’t have been more delighted with the end results, between the smoke, the malts, the hops and the sherry finish, I managed to achieve a beautiful combination of flavours that put my head in a spin for more than a few hours!