Cognac is one of the most celebrated beverages to enjoy with cigars. Thanks to the long and complex process of distilling the wine and barrel-ageing it for many years, it offers a harmonious spirit that can accord beautifully with a well-chosen cigar.
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What Are The Best Cigars For Cognac?
Before you discover the Top 10 Cigars For Cognac, we just want to emphasise that the suggestions below aren’t presented in any particular order of preference. Indeed, each cigar has its own unique characteristics, which are each worth considering for pairing with cognac.
Similarly, feel free to leave a comment if you have a personal favourite or feel that we left something out!
This Nicaraguan puro delivers a complex tableau of flavours that truly represent its native soil. With aromas of leather, coffee beans, anise, and cinnamon, it provides an overall full-bodied experience that pairs well with rather mature cognac blends.
Hennessy X.O. cognac is smooth and will complement the cigar’s spices as well as create a soft vanilla finish. Alternatively, Hine’s Rare V.S.O.P. opens on opulent leather aromas and quickly evolves to produce vinous citrus notes while finishing with a mellow heat that would accord harmoniously with an Alma Fuerte.
Another Nicaraguan creation, the Melanio Maduro also features a luscious San Andrès wrapper. Consequently, it’s a gourmand smoke with notes of creamy coffee and a yeasty brioche finish. As a result, it would go well with older cognac but it could also be paired with younger, more adventurous spirits too.
For instance, we suggested the organic Hardy V.S.O.P. thanks to its mocha and vanilla character. Meanwhile, Hennessy third instalment of its Master Blender’s Selection will provide you with a more mulled and fruity experience.
La Aurora is the Dominican Republic’s oldest cigar producer and the 1903 range beautifully celebrates this heritage. It features the same perfecto shape as the original cigars made in the early 20th century while embracing contemporary cigar blending with a multi-territory composition.
For instance, its binder and filler feature the Dominican Republic’s celebrated Cibao Valley tobacco. Meanwhile, the wrapper is an Ecuadorian sun-grown Sumatra leaf. The filler also contains tobacco from Brazil, Peru, and Nicaragua.
A light-bodied cognac like the Rémy martin Accord Royal 1738 will allow the cigar to express its nuances. However, something like the Martell Cordon Bleu will bring out its subtle musky characteristics.
A La Casa del Habano exclusive, the Ramon Allones Superiores was launched in 2010 and has since become a cult classic. Its bouquet is quintessentially Cuban yet delivers a richly unique experience.
As above, it can benefit from a fruit-forward cognac like the Accord Royal by Rémy Martin. However, a smooth and well-aged Coursvoisier X.O. will extend its spice cabinet finish and citrus notes with additional flavours of crème brûlée and candied orange.
An iconic cigar that was launched in 2017, The Late Hour is typically associated with Scotch whisky given that it was often paired with The Dalmore during its early marketing campaigns. However, this opulent and rich-bodied cigar is marvelous with a variety of cognacs too.
You may opt for a smooth and mature cognac. Yet, you can also consider blends with a little more bite. For instance, Rémy Martin’s spicy X.O. packs a slight kick and a zesty citrus finish. Alternativly, you may consider harmonising its flavours with the clove, cinnamon, and liquorice spices offered by a Branson Grande Champagne V.S.O.P.
With its 5-year old late-harvest Ligero wrapper, the Cohiba Maduro is a beauty and it’s no surprise that it’s one of the world’s most faked cigars! A wonderfully balanced cigar in both body and flavour, it offers a truly gourmand and flavoursome experience.
Therefore, we suggest only pairing it with particularly mature X.O. cognac blends but there are still a number of ways to approach it. For instance, Courvoisier well-rounded X.O. will impart a osfter finish and help extend the Cohiba’s gourmand aromas. Meanwhile, a Martell X.O. while help emphasise its spiciness while simultaneously introducing a mulled fruitiness to the experience.
An opulent and full-bodied cigar, Drew Estate Liga Privada N°9 is a favourite at Bespoke Unit and we’re particularly fond of the Belicoso vitola. It delivers a balsamic experience consisting of rich gourmand flavours but a sweet finish, too.
As a result, it is a somewhat roguish cigar that pairs well with bold cognac. Something like the d’Ussé X.O. would offer an intriguing experience by marrying its blackberry and dark chocolate notes with the cigar’s resinous sweetness. Alternatively, a the Homage X.O. by Hine has a certain tanginess, which could create a tantalising level of contrast.
A mellow and smooth cigar that’s been aged between 5 and 8 years in cedar boxes before they’re retailed, Romeo y Julieta’s Añejados is overall quite delicate. Therefore, care should be taken in according it with a smooth and refined cognac with a soft finish that won’t overwhelm its gentle flavours.
That being said, you don’t have to just stick to very mature and premium cognac. For instance, the Rémy Martin 1738 Accord Royal is technically a V.S.O.P. but features eau-de-vie that is up to 20 years old. Thanks to light tannin, its gentle on the palate and a hazelnut and vanilla accord is rather pleasing.
Nevertheless, you can always opt for a Courvoisier X.O. that is very smooth with a creamy caramel body and a vanilla finish.
Another gourmand opt from Nicaragua, the Man O’War range by AJ Fernandez have something of a cult following. Its features a bold combination of dark cocoa, clay, leather, and charred oak. Given its powerful body and level of complexity, we suggest cognacs that are equal in body and character to provide the most harmonious experience.
Martell’s Cordon Bleu is somewhat fruit-forward with a spicy cinnamon finish. Its rather full-bodied and its nuances fare well against the Man O’War. Meanwhile, Branson’s Grande Champagne V.S.O.P. is a little more youthful but its deep liquorice and clove notes may well extend the Armada’s depth.
We’re very fond of The American and the philosophy behind its 100% US-made approach. With notes of molasses in the first third, followed by bergamot and chocolate in the second, it presents and complex and alluring bouquet. However, its body is particularly robust thanks to its unique Florida Sun Grown wrapper.
Consider deep and robust cognacs with this cigar. For instance, the Hine X.O. Homage has a remarkably zesty and tangy character that contrast well against The American’s flavour profile. Alternatively, the Hardy Legend 1863 has a milk and coffee accord, which helps extend the Mennonite Pennsylvannia broadleaf’s nuances in the filler.
There’s a reason that cigars and cognac are often seen together. While both are indeed premium products, it’s no secret that they pair beautifully with one another by producing harmonious accords that create a truly sensory experience.
Nevertheless, while it’s not as hard as pairing other beverages with cigars, there are times that a particular cigar or cognac blend aren’t made to be enjoyed together. Yet, with just a little work, you can optimise your pairing experience with a little forethought.
Make Sure Your Cigars Are Well-Stored
Firstly, and most importantly, it’s vital that you take the time to properly store your cigars before you enjoy them. In most cases, a failed marriage between a cigar and cognac isn’t ruined by an incompatible pairing but because the cigar wasn’t improperly stored.
Indeed, a cigar is generally unpleasant to smoke because it frequently goes out, experiences burning issues, and produces a flat taste. Meanwhile, a cigar that’s too dry burns hot and fast, which cooks aways the oils that produce the flavour.
Therefore, make sure that you take care of storing your cigars properly. If you’re on a budget, you can simply build a DIY tupperdor, which is very quick and easy to do. Alternatively, you can invest in a quality humidor if you’re a regular cigar smoker.
Whatever setup up you choose, we recommend that you opt for Boveda’s humidification packs to provide your cigars with the necessary moisture. Unlike other humidifiers, they require no maintenance.
Furthermore, they’re far more accurate thanks to a carefully-calibrated suspended salt solution, which diffuses humidity through reverse-osmosis. Thanks to their clever design, they are among the only humidifiers to offer two-way humidification.
As a result, they release moisture when the cigars are getting dry but they also absorb it when the cigars get too humid.
Season & Time Of Day
On just a high level, take a moment to consider both the time of day and the season when deciding on your cigar and whisky pairing. After all, our palates change depending on when we decide to smoke a cigar.
Firstly, our palates are more sensitive to aromas in the morning as well as the summer. As you progress through the day, the senses are numbed by stimuli, which means that they require more potency by the evening.
Similarly, our palates are less in tune to flavour in colder weather but much more sensitive in the heat. To illustrate, we developed a number of cigars according to the time of day:
Although most people enjoy cognac and cigars in the afternoon or later, these factors are worth keeping in mind. Furthermore, whether you’re indoors or outdoors may play a role too.
Seek Harmony With Similar Profiles
When discussing pairings, most people will immediately presume that you have to simply opt for an X.O. or a V.S.O.P. cognac at the very least for a pleasant experience. However, that’s not necessarily true and the “older the better” mantra can occasionally be a little misguided.
The secret to pairing any beverage with a cigar is simply a balancing act. Whether you start with the cigar or the cognac, the objective is to find its counterpart in both body and flavour profile.
Therefore, you could happily find a youthful and headstrong cigar that may accord wonderfully with a V.S. cognac!
A useful synonym for pairing is an “accord”, which suggests that the two do complement one another but agree with each other too.
If either one is too strong, it will overwhelm the other, which results in a somewhat disappointing pairing. Therefore, you should start by choosing cigars and cognac with similar bodies or levels of opulence.
Nevertheless, it’s not easy to pair a cigar with cognac before you’ve sampled either of them. If a selection is available of either, we suggest starting with the one that is most limited. As a result, it’ll provide you with more pairing options when you need to make a decision.
Inspect and smell your first choice and then do the same with its pairing candidates. Indeed, it’s possible to find a pairing partner through this preliminary approach. Of course, some trial and error is involved but you’ll quickly develop an instinct with a little experience.
Complementing & Contrasting Flavours
Once you’ve started to narrow down your options by body, you can begin to analyse their respective aroma potential. This process can become somewhat adventurous but it can also be particularly confusing.
However, there are two possible goals and they can be approached in a simple and fun way. Generally, the easiest option is to opt for complementary aromas, which are similar and will likely heighten the experience by extending one another.
Alternatively, you can seek to isolate flavours that offer a certain level of contrast between the flavours, which clashes just enough that they balance out together.
Contrasting flavours is risky but it can yield some truly impressive results. Two opposite flavours can collide and accord in a way that creates a new and unique aroma.
Another approach is to seek flavours that contrast in terms of taste, which combine to balance out palate stimulation. For instance, a somewhat sweet cognac can be improved by a slightly bitter cigar, which brings the flavours towards the centre of the tongue.
How Did We Rank These Cigars?
We have at least formally tested or fully-reviewed every cigar that has been listed in this guide. As a result, we haven’t included anything that hasn’t been sampled in a professional setting.
Similarly, each cigar has been tested using the Bespoke Unit Cigar Formula, a quantifiable review matrix that we developed for ensuring that our reviews are balanced and standardised.
We have incorporated it into all of our cigar reviews since we covered the Avo Nicaragua in August 2019. Nevertheless, we regularly revisit it to improve and optimise its structure.
Consequently, you can be confident that the cigars listed here were carefully and thoughtfully curated rather than assembled by random.
Firstly, did we miss anything out? Feel free to let us know in the comments below! Otherwise, now that you’ve seen the best cigars for cognac, why don’t you also check out our related guides below?