Leggets x Oriental Cigar Gin – Is this a new perfect pairing?
What drink do you reach for when you light up a cigar? Coffee? Brandy? Whisky or bourbon? All of these make great bedfellows with a good cigar. Readers of this blog will know that I love my gin. Sipped neat, on the rocks, with a refreshing tonic, in a cocktail… but rarely with a cigar. When I heard about an Oriental Cigar Gin from Leggets, crafted in association with Nick Hammond and designed specifically to pair with a cigar, I was interested to sample it and see whether it could be done.
The biggest issue with pairing gin with a cigar is the juniper. Being the only required ingredient in gin, this gives the distinctive pine note that some love, others hate and more often than not clashes or overpowers the nuanced flavours in a cigar. Also, a lot of the gins that I enjoy are rather juniper forward. It is for this reason that I have shied away from this particular pairing save for the odd gin and tonic when I’m enjoying a cigar outside on a summer’s day.
Here is where Leggets x Oriental Cigar Gin comes in. When I first sipped it, I have to confess I found it rather lacklustre with nothing really to write home about. Then again, I did sample it at room temperature on a warm day, which is about the worst way I could have had my first taste of it. Rather than dismiss it as an expensive gimmick, I decided that I needed to give it a more subjective appraisal. So I decanted a good measure of it into a bottle to keep in my freezer to sample with a cigar or two at a later date. The question now was what cigar was I going to choose?
This is where I noticed that there were a number of cigars listed on the label on the back of the bottle of the Cigar Gin. Amongst these were several that were currently in my humidor: the Joya de Nicaragua Numero Uno L’Ambassadeur, My Father La Flor da las Antilles and the Oliva Serie V Melanio cigars, along with several others. Of those that I had to hand, the one I chose to pair with it first with the gin was the Numero Uno.
Right out of the gate, the frozen gin was so much tastier than my first sampling implied. It was rich without too much juniper to overpower the delicate flavours in my chosen cigar. The more prevalent flavours were that of citrus, coriander and liquorice. This pairing worked exceedingly well, and I could easily have enjoyed another generous measure of the Leggets x Cigar Gin with the rest of the cigar – but I also wanted to see how it would work in a cocktail.
Of course it had to be my favourite gin cocktail, The Gibson. For me, this took the Leggets x Oriental Cigar Gin up to the next level. The vermouth brought out more of the coriander in the gin and the cocktail itself added a real weight to the flavours within the cigar, enhancing the creaminess of the smoke.
If you want to see my full review of this Cigar Gin and cigar pairing, check out the video link below, or click the links above to find out more about the cigars and cocktail that I have mentioned.
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