Rum is a diverse and exciting family of beverages that is often regarded as one of the ultimate pairing choices with a cigar. While most rum and cigars pair quite well together, we’ve explored some of the best pairings that you could try.
In this guide, see our recommendations of the Best Cigars To Pair With Rum:
- Davidoff Nicaragua
- Romeo y Julieta Añejados
- Diplomático By Mombacho Cigars
- Plasencia Alma Fuente
- Camacho Nicaragua Barrel Aged
- Oliva Serie V Maduro Especial
- Drew Estate Liga Privada N°9
- Arturo Fuente Hemingway
- Alec Bradley Black Market Estelí
- La Flor de Cano Magicos
You can use the links above to jump ahead. Head to the menu below to see what else is covered in this guide.
What Are The Best Cigars For Rum?
Before you discover the Top 10 Cigars For Rum, please note that we haven’t compiled this list in any particular order of preference. Each cigar has its own unique characteristics, which can result in a different experience.
Similarly, feel free to leave a comment if you have a personal favourite or feel that we left something out!
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Davidoff’s venture to Nicaragua produced a lavish puro blend featuring Estelí Ligero and Visus primings as well as Ometepe Visus and Condega Ligero. Meanwhile both the binder and the wrapper consist of Habano Jalapa tobacco.
It’s a flavoursome and versatile cigar that can be enjoyed for many different occasions and pairings. Indeed, it’s particularly effective with rum and its gourmand palate pairs well with naturally-aged and mature expressions.
"An excellent and reliable option for pairing with rum, the Davidoff Nicaragua is versatile and never lets you down."
Matured for between 5 and 8 years after it has been rolled, the Añejados is an intriguing project in Cuba. As it’s a delicate cigar, care should be taken in not choosing a pairing that’s overpowering.
We’ve noticed that rum produced through solera system ageing tends to offer an ideal harmony between youthful zest and mature refinement. Indeed, we initially sampled it with a Zacapa 23, which delivered contrasting flavours of candied fruit and spices.
- Filler: Nicaraguan Estelí, Jalapa, Condega
- Binder: Nicaraguan Jalapo
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
- Preferred Vitola: 5 x 50 Robusto
- Assembly: Casa Favilli [Nicaragua]
- Handmade: Yes
- Body: Medium
- Smoking Time: 75 Minutes
- Pricing: $12 / Single
The Diplomático by Mombacho Cigars is a little different to the other cigars on this list. While some may have been blended to pair with rum, it is the only one to have been crafted specifically for one rum in particular.
Indeed, Ron Diplomático partnered with Mombacho to produce a range to pair with their expressions. Typically, Mombacho cigars are Nicaraguan puros. However, Claudio Sgroi stepped away from this tradition in order to produce the perfect pairing by adding an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper.
The blend of each vitola has been slightly tweaked to go with different rum blends. Our personal favourite is the Robusto, which harmoniously marries with the Reserva Exclusiva.
You can learn more about the Diplomático by Mombacho when we personally interviewed Claudio Sgroi at Mombacho’s factory in Granada, Nicaragua:
- Filler: Condega, Estelí, Jalapa, Ometepe
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Wrapper: Jalapa
- Preferred Vitola: 7 x 58 Generación V Salómon
- Assembly: Plasencia [Nicaragua]
- Handmade: Yes
- Body: Full
- Smoking Time: 85 Minutes
- Pricing: $28 / Single
It would appear that this guide has been inadvertedly littered with Nicaraguan puros. However, there’s a lot to be said for a well-crafted Nicaraguan blend. Indeed, it often offers a complex bouquet of spices that tend to pair quite well with rum.
Therefore, it’s no surprise that Plasencia’s Alma Fuente is featured here. Its aromas of leather, anise, and cinnamon pair wonderfully with a carefully selected rum. We would recommend full-bodied and richly-flavoured rums. You could opt for Mount Gay’s English-style XO rum from Barbados. Yet, Brugal’s Leyenda is very easy to enjoy with most cigars.
After being aged for 6 years, this cigar blend earned its name by maturing its Corojo leaf for an additional 5 months in Nicaraguan rum barrels. As a result, it’s no surprise that its caramelised flavours pair wonderfully with rum!
It’s particularly versatile thanks to the ageing process but it tends to accord best with Spanish-style rum. We’d consider either the Dominican Republic’s Barceló Imperial for something milder. Alternatively, the Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva will deliver a more gourmand experience.
Often overlooked in favour of either the original Serie V or blends from the Melanio line-up, the Maduro used to be a limited release. However, it’s now part of the regular line and certainly worth sampling.
Despite being a maduro, it’s not overly full in body, which provides you with greater versatility when pairing it with beverages. Solera-aged rum such as the Zacapa 23 will often a balanced experience that plays on the spicy notes. However, for something more complex and nuanced, we suggest according the cigar with Foursquare’s Nobiliary.
An opulent and full-bodied cigar, Drew Estate Liga Privada N°9 delivers a balsamic experience consisting of rich gourmand flavours and a sweet finish. It may be more challenging to find suitable pairings but it will be extremely rewarding.
We’d argue that its blend is best suited to English-style rum that has a heavily aged and dark molasses character. Therefore, consider options from well-known distilleries like either Appleton or Foursquare. The former’s 21-year old from Jamaica would be an excellent choice.
This hommage to the American novelist offers a slightly milder experience to most of the cigars listed above. Its yeasty and caramelised notes deliver hints of cedar, which can pair nicely with the right rum.
We’d refrain from any rum that’s too full-bodied so not to overwhelm the cigar. Instead, consider the delicate Santa Teresa 1796. However, if you wish for something with a little more kick, Brugal’s 1888 will have a balanced flavour profile that will contrast nicely.
Rich and flavoursome, the Black Market Estelí is a popular and adventurous cigar. Its opulent flavour profile and thick mouthfeel can easily be extended by a wide array of full-bodied rums.
If you want a rum that matches the cigar in both profile and budget, the Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva is an excellent option. Meanwhile, this cigar can also pair beautifully with the Mount Gay XO.
- Filler: Cuban Puro
- Binder: Cuban Puro
- Wrapper: Cuban Puro
- Preferred Vitola: 4.5 x 52 Gordito
- Assembly: El Ray del Mundo [Havana, Cuba]
- Handmade: Yes
- Body: Medium
- Smoking Time: 55 Minutes
- Pricing: $13.90 / Single
A balanced and medium-bodied Cuban, the Flor de Cano Magicos was released earlier in 2020. It offers a delightful composition that conceals a surprisingly fruity second third. Therefore, it can be a particularly intriguing pairing option with rum.
Our favourite accord has been with the Admiral Rodney HMS Princessa, which is a little known distillery in Saint Lucia. As it’s quite vinous, it goes well with the Magicos’ fruity characteristic. Alternative, the Foursquare Nobiliary can provide harmonious and gentle flavours thanks to its natural palate.
How To Pair Cigars & Rum
It’s no coincidence that cigars are commonly paired with rum. Besides their geographical closeness, both are premium products that can deliver harmonious flavours thanks to a spectrum of similar flavours.
It may not be overly challenging to successfully pair rum and cigars. Indeed, it’s quite easy compared to some other beverages. That being said, you may occasionally stumble upon a pairing that just didn’t quite work.
In this part of our guide, we’ll offer advice on how to find suitable pairings.
Make Sure Your Cigars Are Well-Stored
Although not directly related to pairing cigars and rum, properly-stored cigars are vital. In most cases, a substandard pairing experience isn’t because the cigar and rum didn’t go well together but because the cigar was improperly stored.
If a cigar is constantly going out, enduring burning issues, or has an odd taste, it may be too humid. Alterantively, a cigar that burns hotly and very quickly, may be too dry, which also removes the desirably aromatic oils.
Consequently, we suggest only smoking cigars that have been properly stored. It’s easy to sort out a temporary or an affordable solution at home. For instance, you can build a DIY tupperdor for less than $30, which can house a fair collection of cigars.
Meanwhile, if you’re looking to start having a permanent selection of cigars, you can invest in a quality humidor, which is often more presentable.
Whatever configuration you choose, we’d recommend Boveda’s humidification packs to provide your cigars with the necessary moisture. Unlike other humidifiers, they require no maintenance.
Moreover, they’re far more precise than other methods thanks to a carefully-calibrated suspended salt solution. As a result, it diffuses humidity through reverse-osmosis. Thanks to their clever design, they are among the only humidifiers to offer two-way humidification.
Consequently, they release moisture when the cigars are getting dry but they also absorb it when the cigars get too humid.
Season & Time Of Day
Having got that off our chest, let’s now focus on other considerations. Firstly, think about the time of day and season when you’d plan to drink the rum and smoke the cigar. It’s important to bear in mind as our palates will alter throughout the day.
In short, palates will be more sensitive to stimuli in both the morning and during summer. Heat allows aromatic compounds to diffuse more easily through processes like evaporation. Meanwhile, our palates essentially reset themselves while we sleep so they’re more alert after waking up.
As the day progresses, we’re exposed to additional smells. Therefore, our receptors will become dulled over time. Consequently, we need stronger drink for it to have the sam effect as the morning.
For a better idea, head to our guides on the best cigars for different times of the day:
Needless to say, rum is typically consumed after midday. Therefore, you’ll probably not need to consider lighter options for the morning. Nevertheless, your palate will adjust between a post-lunch digestif and after the sun goes down.
According Profiles & Characteristics
It’s not uncommon for people to reach for either the strongest or most expensive rum when pairing cigars. This is usually fueled by the belief that cigars are strong so the drink should be too. Similarly, a few people may think that if it’s expensive, it means that it’s older, and therefore stronger.
While there may be a slight correlation between purity, age, and price, it’s not strictly true. Therefore, you’ll have to use a different type of intuition when pairing cigars.
There are many different styles and types of rum, which we cover in detail on another guide. Reading that breakdown will give you a better insight into the varieties of rums and their typical flavours.
Pairing a cigar with a drink is a balancing act. Once you’ve chosen one of the two, the trick is to find its counterpart in both body and flavour. Sometimes, youthful and sprightly rums offer better pairings than older ones! It depends on the cigar.
A word used to described two things that pair well together is an “accord”. In short, it implies that they agree with one another. From this understanding, you can deduce that the best pairings offer a similar body so not to outbalance each other.
Flavour is also important but it can be approached somewhat differently as we’ll cover below. Initially, you want to find corresponding bodies.
Comparing the smells of the different drinks helps in find matching or contrasting flavours. However, you may have to properly sample them first. Although challenging when you get started, you’ll eventually develop an intuition for it.
Complimenting & Contrasting Flavours
After you’ve found a small selection of rums for your cigar, you’ll have a choice on how you approach it next.
The easiest strategy is to choose a rum with similar flavours to the cigar. In this case, they will compliment one another and extend the experience of certain notes. It’s probably the most pleasant choice and you’ll unlikely struggle the find something that works.
Meanwhile, you can instead find a rum that contrasts the cigar’s flavour. Although more challenging, the results can be very rewarding. Rather than be similar, the two will clash in a harmonious way that develops unique flavours and a rich experience.
Furthermore, find a contrasted pairing can also help in compensating their weaknesses. For instance, an acidic rum can be curbed thanks to a cigar with a salty profile.
How Did We Rank These Cigars?
Each of the cigars in this guide have been either formally tested or fully-reviewed by Bespoke Unit teammembers. Nothing featured here has been just casually smoked and then added for the sake of it.
When tested, the cigars will be evaluated using the Bespoke Unit Cigar Formula. This review matrix was designed to quantify our assessments in a transparent way that uses a full 100-point scale.
Of course, no system is perfect. Therefore, we often revisit and tweak it to find new ways in which we can adequently express a cigar’s personality. Nevertheless, you can still rest assured that each cigar included in this guide was carefully 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 rum, why don’t you also check out our related guides below?