Bourbon And Cigar Pairing: Surrogates 7th Sam By L’Atelier

Technically it’s fall, but it’s still in the 90s here in Bourbon Country. We get to enjoy summer a little bit longer than most folks, and the great thing about that is your bourbon is spending more time expanding into the charred oak barrel right now, giving it all of those wonderful vanilla and caramel notes that will be extracted when the air cools and the bourbon retreats from its summer home. It’s too hot to do much of anything in the evenings other than sitting on the front porch with a cigar and a flight of bourbon watching the world, and the ice cream man, go by.

As always, I recommend pairing your cigar with a flight of bourbons with varying mash bills, but try to keep it 100 proof and under. Keep notes about what changes as you sip and smoke – this will help you understand how to best pair your bourbons and cigars going forward.

The Cigar

For this month I chose a Surrogates 7th Sam by L’Atelier. This cigar is made at the My Father factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. It has only been out since August. This particular blend only comes in one size – a perfecto that is 6 ¾ and a 48-52 ring gauge from head to foot. The blend is unique in that there are seven different types of tobacco, hence the name 7th Sam.

According to Cigar Aficionado, this cigar is “Wrapped in a dark, Ecuadoran Sumatra wrapper, 7th Sam features two Nicaraguan binders and a three-country filler mix of tobaccos from the United States, Mexico and Nicaragua. According to Dan Welsh of L’Atelier Imports, the seed varietals in 7th Sam include Criollo ’98, Corojo ’99, Habano and Sancti Spiritus (all grown in Nicaragua by the Garcia family); Connecticut broadleaf; San Andrés from Mexico; and Sumatra from Ecuador.”

There’s a great deal of pepper spice upon lighting as well as hints of cocoa and coffee with a faint mineral finish. Even though I lit it unevenly the cigar recovered and had a nice even burn. The cigar retails at $11 per stick.

Bourbon #1 – Old Fitzgerald Bottled in Bond 100 Proof

Nose: Stone fruit, brown sugar, and baking spice

Palate: Stone fruit and leather

Together: The smoke brings out baking spice and citrus in the bourbon. The bourbon dulls the spice of the smoke and brings the coffee notes to the forefront.

Bourbon #2 – Jim Beam Black NAS, 86 Proof (Provided by Jim Beam)

Nose: Warm baking spice and apple cider

Palate: Sweet baking spice, apples, and brown sugar

Together: The smoke brings out sweet honey and vanilla flowers in the bourbon. The bourbon brings out cocoa notes and minerality in the smoke.

Bourbon #3 – Four Roses Yellow Label 80 Proof

Nose: Green apple and honey

Palate: Green apple and baking spice

Together: The smoke brings out sweet baking spice notes in the bourbon. The bourbon brings out rich cocoa notes in the smoke and evens out the spice.

The Verdict

This lineup was the perfect demonstration of why you should always pair your cigar with a flight rather than just one bourbon at a time. The Old Fitzgerald Bonded was a surprisingly spicy combination for a wheater – typically you think of spice coming from rye, but it can also come from other sources. The Beam Black was a very sweet combination, which some people do enjoy. The Four Roses Yellow Label was the most balanced of the three, and since that’s what I’m after that is my first choice. But all of these were great pairings, so it’s up to you to find the combination that works best for your palate.

Bourbon of the Mont Club
About the author

Maggie Kimberl

One night during Derby week, I was working in the liquor store while Four Roses Master Distiller Jim Rutledge was doing a tasting. I kept trying to make my way over to talk to him, but we were super busy (did I mention it was Derby week?) and I didn't make it in time. Dejected, I went back to the break room and started eating my lunch. The next thing I knew, Rutledge came through the door, saying, "You didn't get to do my tasting!" He sat down and explained how to taste bourbon, the ten recipes of Four Roses, and how it was different than other distilleries. I had liked bourbon before that point, but Jim Rutledge made me care about it. That's the beautiful thing about the bourbon industry- the people love what they do, and their enthusiasm is infectious. Now here we are. :)

  • Art Aguilar

    I love your bourbon and cigar pairing posts!

    Question….when you are doing your pairing, why do you start with the higher proof bourbon and end with the lowest proof? And you may have said this in a past pairing post, but why do you use these three specific bourbons? Is it just for consistency sake for your articles?