If we’re going to get a sense of what scotch whisky is selling the best in Ontario, we’re obviously going to go to the LCBO, since they have a distribution monopoly. I can’t think of a better time to talk about this, since one of the best ways to alleviate the level of anxiety we are all feeling during Pandemic Times is to pour a glass of scotch. And while you’re at it, light up a Cuban cigar. The question of the best Cuban cigar to go with that glass of scotch is a matter for debate.
A marriage of convenience or a marriage of necessity? I just added a few soldiers to my scotch whisky collection, to go with the multiple Cuban cigar brands stocked in my backroom (“Winter is coming!”). So I guess it’s a bit of both in my case.
This is what a spokesperson from the LCBO told me, when I asked what’s trending now in scotch whisky sales: “The LCBO is seeing a trend towards premium priced whiskies, and continued growth in Speyside Single Malt Scotches. Other trending products include The Glenlivet Caribbean Reserve Single Malt Scotch and Dewar’s Caribbean Smooth Rum Cask Finish.”
“This year, we’ve launched several scotches finished in rum casks which deliver sweet, complex notes that are perfect for the summer season.”
With our regular focus on Cuban cigars, we thought it would be useful to list five of the best scotch whiskies that are trending at the LCBO with a Cuban cigar match-up. Here are the five best whiskies to have with your Cuban cigars:
Glenlivet Caribbean Reserve Single Malt Scotch and a Quai D’Orsay No. 54
Perfect for savouring after a meal. Glenlivet’s Caribbean reserve single malt pours amber with pear, apple, and banana tones. The inviting palate offers caramel, toffee, citrus, vanilla, and melon notes. It’s medium-bodied and mildly sweet with a long finish, and will immediately transport you to the Caribbean.
After the Quai D’Orsay rebrand and new packaging, the No. 54 was released in 2017. This Edmundo became a hit and production increased to match the high demand. This No. 54 has now become a humidor staple.
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Speyside Single Malt Scotches and Montecristo No. 2
Aultmore 12 Year Old Speyside single malt scotch whisky features a delicate nose of dewy moss and floral notes. The palate offers a sweet liquid that glides through flavours of green grass and fresh wild herbs that lead to an exceptionally smooth, clean finish.
The most famous Montecristo in the marca lineup. Everyone knows the Monte No. 2 and for good reason. This Piramides is a humidor staple for a cigar aficionado to an occasional smoker. Delivers rich and full flavours for a medium to full body habanos. It is a hit everytime.
Lagavulin 12 Year Old and Romeo y Julieta Wide Churchill
Lagavulin 8 Year Old single malt scotch whisky is big and smoky on the nose with notes of sweet spice, dried dark fruit, caramel, tar, brine and toasted nut. Palate is rich, sweet and smooth with bold flavours of smoky campfire, cumin, molasses and peat with notes of apple crumble and spice.
RyJ is a marca that has paid tribute to Winston Churchill who developed a passion for Cuban cigars since his first visit to Havana in 1946. He has been commemorated by one of the most popular and famous produced sizes in the Habanos lineup – the Churchill.
The Wide Churchill was released to meet the modern demand for heavier ring gauge offerings and has quickly become a classic. Romeo y Julieta’s balanced and aromatic blend of tobacco from Cuba’s Vuelta Abajo region make it the classic medium bodied brand.
The Macallan Classic Cut and Cohiba Robusto
This Macallan Classic Cut, the third edition of a limited annual release, has been bottled at the optimum strength to reveal the well-balanced flavours of the whisky: 52.9%. The aromas and flavours feature orange, sweet ginger, vanilla and nutmeg with a lingering honeyed note on the finish.
There’s no bigger brand among Cuban cigars than Cohiba. The Robusto, at 4 7/8 inches, and a 50-ring gauge, is a sophisticated smoke, with notes of vanilla, oak, and almonds. Flavour is sweet, with a nice density of smoke.
Dewar’s Blended Scotch Whisky Caribbean Smooth Rum Cask Finish and Bolivar Belicoso Finos
A complex blend of 40 whiskies aged for at least eight years before being finished in ex-Caribbean rum casks for up to six months. Dewar’s has nuanced aromas of spice, coffee, coconut and fruit salad. That’s followed by flavours of brown sugar, chocolate, biscuit and tropical fruit.
Likely the most popular Belicoso in the Campanas vitola offered from Habanos, known for being the strongest regular production Bolivar. Always enjoyable with a robust profile for woody and spicy but somewhat chocolatey flavours.