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P&C Pairing Guide by Russ Ouellette

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  1. jvnshr

    jvnshr

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    From time to time P&C Instagram page shares some nice pairing guides. I decided to collect all of them here for you:

    - Aromatics are normally light and sweet. Teas with some tannic “bite” offer a pleasant counterpoint.
    - Non-aromatic Burley blends have a nutty quality without too much sweetness. Any kind of whiskey or an amber ale pair well.
    - Virginia/Perique blends tend to be sweet with some spice, but are usually medium-bodied or lighter. A dry red wine or a gin and tonic is a nice contrast.
    - Virginia blends tend to be light and sweet, so a dry white wine works well.
    - Straight Virginia blends work well with a lager. Both are light in body but the sweetness of a fine Virginia contrasts the bitterness of the beer.
    - A gin and tonic is light in body, but has a bit of bitter “bite”. A creamy, sweet Burley, like Lane’s BLWB is an excellent pairing.
    - Sweet mixed drinks are a surprisingly good pairing with Latakia blends, because they’re both flavorful, but the smokiness offsets the sweetness of the drink.
    - Black coffee or a hefty stout (which both have deep and bitter notes) will pair well with a more full-bodied aromatic, like Lane’s BCA or Dark Red.
    X One pairing we do not encourage is eating or drinking dairy while enjoying a pipe. Butterfat/milkfat does a very efficient job of coating the tongue, which will severely reduce your ability to taste.
    X Pairings to avoid include dairy and other fatty foods, like chocolate and peanut butter. The reason is that the fats will coat the tongue, which reduces the ability to taste the tobacco.
    - If you enjoy Burley-based “codger blends” like Half and Half or Sir Walter Raleigh, try them with a pumpkin spice latte (if you’re into that). The coffee drink will bring out the nuttiness of the tobacco.
    - Hot mulled cider goes really well with a full-bodied Balkan or English blend, especially one that contains Perique.
    - Here’s a strange little pairing – try munching on some candy corn while enjoying a Virginia/Perique blend. You’ll notice more of the Perique’s spice.
    - Orlik Golden Sliced pairs well with hors d'oeuvre.
    - Vanilla Aromatic Tobacco pairs well with session beer.
    - Eggnog is the quintessential holiday beverage, but because it coats the tongue, it can really change the flavor of whatever you’re smoking. To solve that, snack on some crackers or chips to cleanse your palate. Then you can pair it with whatever tobacco you’d like.
    - Hot chocolate or cocoa is creamy, sweet and slightly bitter, so a spicy Burley or Virginia/Perique blend will provide a pleasant contrast.
    - Of all the usual snack foods, one of the best to eat while enjoying a pipe would be a pretzel. There’s no lingering aftertaste and it isn’t a greasy food, which can coat your tongue.
    - Brandy or cognac is a great choice to pair with Latakia blends. The sweetness is capable of cutting through the smoky aftertaste and contrasts the flavor well.
    - A variety of blends pair well with carbonated drinks. If you enjoy carbonated beverages and want to drink one while having a pipeful, either add some ice or let the drink sit for a bit to reduce the potentially irritating bubbles.
    - Aromatic blends pair well with Champagne. Champagne will go well with almost any blend. The sweetness is muted and balanced by tartness and it has a cleansing effect for the taste buds.
    - A cup of cocoa pairs well with any blend and helps to cleanse the taste buds. If you have to smoke outside during the cold weather, a cup of cocoa (not hot chocolate) is a great choice. The slight bitterness of cocoa helps the cleanse the taste buds.
    - Robust Latakia blends pair well with syrupy liqueurs. Syrupy liqueurs tend to linger on the palate which can dull the taste of your pipe. But even though ruby port is intensely sweet, like a liqueur, it works well with robust Latakia blends. Just make sure to sip the port rather than gulping it.
    - Hard cheeses, like Manchego, are a great palate cleanser when enjoying a pipe. Most hard cheeses have intense flavor, but they're not creamy, so the fat won't coat your tongue.
    - A dry martini works well when paired with a light aromatic or a medium-bodied Virginia or Virginia/Perique blend. The bitter edge of gin contrasts well with mildly-sweet tobaccos.
    - Earl Grey tea is a good choice with a mellow Burley blend. The citrusy flavor of the tea contrasts the nuttiness of Burley.
    - Irish coffee is an ideal companion for a rich Virginia/Perique blend.
    - Guinness Stout works great as a pairing with Lakeland Ropes and Twists, and also War Horse Bar. The body of the tobaccos and the stout is full, but the creaminess of the Guinness perfectly contrasts the boldness of the blends.
    - A straight Virginia blend pairs well with green tea. The tannins in the tea will bring out the natural sweetness of Virginia.
    - Oriental-forward Latakia blends pair well with espresso. The depth of flavor and slight bitterness of espresso will contrast the brightness of the tobacco while matching it in body.
    - Traditional Burley blends pair well with lemonade. The acidity and sourness will bring out the nuttiness of “codger blends”.
    - Maduro cigars or a heavy Latakia pairs well with strawberry lemonade.
    - Pipe tobaccos of any kind pair well with beer. Just one word of caution – if the beer is very effervescent, give it a little time to rest so the bubbles don’t sting your tongue.
    - Whiskey sour mix + club soda = spikey lemonade and it pairs well with Virginia or Virginia/Perique blends.
    - Mellow to medium Balkan-style blends pair well with cappuccino. Balkan-style blends will work well as the bright and smoky flavors contrast well with the sweet, bitter notes of the drink.
    - Smooth Burley blends pair well with ginger ale. Consider Hearth & Home Mid-Town Chatham Manor. A great pairing, as the mellow nuttiness of the tobacco offsets the sweet spiciness of the beverage.
    - A light to medium-bodied Latakia pairs well with ales like Newcastle. The latakia pairs well with the sweetness and good body of the ale.
    - A spicy Virginia/Perique or Dark Burley pairs well with Islay scotch. The spice will contrast well with the sweet and smoky character of the scotch.
    - Bold, Virginia and Dark Fired blends pair well with aged rum.
    - Hearty Burley or Latakia blends pair well with apple cider.
    - Aromatic, Virginia or Virginia/Perique blends pair well with bouillon or broth. The saltiness of the broth is a delightful contrast to the tobaccos' sweetness.
    - Padron 3000 Maduro pairs well with a bold Cabernet.
    - Non-aromatic, slightly Aromatic and Latakia blends pair well with mulled wine.

    Javan
    Posted 1 year ago #
  2. mikethompson

    mikethompson

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    Interesting for someone with a beginners knowledge of tobaccos like myself.

    I usually have a black coffee with my pipe, and it does bring out some of the nuttiness of Early Morning Pipe for what its worth.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  3. cosmicfolklore

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    I am a teetotaler, so I find that Coffee pairs well with most blends, but I especially enjoy a Vanilla Flake or vanilla blend with my coffee in the morning.
    I also press my own juices from my garden fruits. Apricot pairs very well with VaPers, especially the ones with a dash of dark fired. I just warm it and add a dash of cinnamon to the juice.
    Pear and apple juices pair well with latakia for me. Sweet and savory. I like contrasting pairings, sometimes.

    And, Southern Sweet tea with a straight Virginia, mmmmmmmmmm...

    Now, on the beach, I get a fruity coconut based beverage. Yeh, I order virgin drinks on the beach... But, paired with GLP's Key Largo or another cigar blend... or just a cigar. Love it.

    And, I can still drive after enjoying.

    Michael
    Posted 1 year ago #
  4. hawky454

    hawky454

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    I just pair most of my smokes with either coffee or Earl Grey tea. Usually tea cause I can drink it all day long.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  5. blendtobac

    blendtobac

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    This is a subject that I've been working on for more than 10 years. Things that help cleanse the palate are acidity, tannins, and carbonation, so a dry, sparkling wine is kind of a "perfect storm". Coffee, though, my usual drink of choice with a pipe.

    Russ

    Posted 1 year ago #
  6. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

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    Russ, just for my own clarification of my dense noggin, by "perfect storm," do you mean that you think acidic, tannic, and carbonation are good for cleansing the palate or not good?

    I do drink Mountain Dew with my smoke quite often, but I don't usually recommend it, because so many people have suggested that sodas burn their mouth while smoking. But, I love it, but I am also a Southern boy, and we tend to develop a taste for the citric drinks down here at an early age.

    Side not: when I was a kid, Mountain Dew filmed a commercial at my Uncle Leon's General Store, and I am the red headed kid in overalls running after the old pick up truck on a red dirt road with a Mountain Dew in my hand. It may have only aired locally, but for a short time, I WAS A STAR!!! at least in my elementary school, ha ha.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  7. blendtobac

    blendtobac

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    I definitely meant that it's good thing. Since all three of those properties are present in something like a brut champagne, it's a great palate cleanser. I don't drink wine very much any more, but when I've had a pipe while drinking a dry, sparkling wine, I can really taste the tobacco better. One caveat, though, don't drink it with a blend that burns hot - those damned bubbles...

    Russ

    Posted 1 year ago #
  8. sablebrush52

    sablebrush52

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    Pizza, garlic bread and kimchi can't be beat for palate cleansing.

    It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt. - Mark Twain

    It is pointless to argue with a fanatic since a dim bulb can't be converted into a searchlight. - Jesse Silver
    Posted 1 year ago #
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    lestrout

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    At one of the Lehigh Valley Pipe Club meetings, Russ told me he used to be a chef. His palate is remarkable by any standard, and no doubt he is in the top echelons of Supertasters. His background in the two disciplines of food/drink and tobacco gives real weight to the pairing notes. So the collection of pairing notes that jvn posted is a real treat.

    hp
    les

    Posted 1 year ago #
  10. blendtobac

    blendtobac

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    Les, I was more of a cook than a chef, but I love to do more elaborate cooking at home (which my girlfriend greatly appreciates). I don't have the temperament to cook intricate food with the clock ticking.
    My experience with pairings began by doing a seminar on the subject for a hospitality services program at a college. That got my interests piqued on the subject and I've continued to do talks and articles for years.

    Russ

    Posted 1 year ago #
  11. cigrmaster

    cigrmaster

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    I love my Cafe Du monde coffee with any type of tobacco. Also I drink sweet tea ( Stevia only) and stay away from things like orange and grapefruit juice and any type of carbonated drink. I love Mountain Dew, my favorite soda, but it burns when I try drinking it with my pipes. I wish I could drink it.

    Harris
    Posted 1 year ago #
  12. groovediggerdan

    groovediggerdan

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    +1 for Cafe Du Monde!

    We have met the enemy and he is us - Pogo
    Posted 1 year ago #
  13. olkofri

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    Hmm, so, if dairy/fatty drinks coat the tongue... maybe I'll get less tongue burn??

    Not the sweet, new grass with flowers is this harvesting of mine;
    Not the upland clover bloom...
    Posted 1 year ago #
  14. jvnshr

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    This is a subject that I've been working on for more than 10 years.

    Thanks for the information Mr. Ouellette. I've edited the title.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  15. admiral

    admiral

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    Same here - mostly strong black coffee with generous amount of cold milk (and no sugar)
    Any kind of bubbly drink while smoking is causing a perfect storm in my mouth, and in general I tend to avoid these.

    Can't resist a good brandy or whiskey though

    Posted 1 year ago #
  16. unkleyoda

    unkleyoda

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    I find that a pint of Guinness and a Powers Irish Whiskey goes well with every tobacco I've smoked.


    So you say you can drink? Well, I'm from Wisconsin. Try to keep up.
    Posted 1 year ago #
  17. admiral

    admiral

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    Thumbs up for the Guinness (but it is not the usual bubbly drink to make your palate burst in tears while smoking and drinking)

    Jameson and Black Bush are my daily favs

    Posted 1 year ago #
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    sumusfumus

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    DO NOT suck on Cepacol extra strength cough drops and then smoke your favorite blend. It just doesn't work out too well.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  19. admiral

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    Do not fart while clenching a pipe

    Posted 1 year ago #
  20. zerohunter

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    admiral, hahah that is so true

    Russ, I think you are the greatest living blender, period. It is so cool to see you participate on this forum. It's like being in a room with one of the greats, which you are in my book. I'm waiting for Whiteknight to be back in stock as I've never had it and everyone raves about it!

    Posted 1 year ago #
  21. admin

    Kevin

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    Javan, thanks for compiling the list, and Russ, thanks for creating the pairings guide.

    I've tried several of them, but my go-to is coffee or espresso during the day, and a dark spirit in the evening - whiskey, scotch, and even rum.

    Check Out Our - Pipes Podcast
    Posted 1 year ago #
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    briarbuda48

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    Great thread, thank you. I screen shot the list for reference.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  23. mso489

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    Chilled or iced water, the purer the better, gives a nice coating to the mouth that seems to increase the volume of smoke slightly without diminishing taste, and gives a clarity to the taste of a blend or single-leaf that you won't get with a flavored drink.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  24. jvnshr

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    Chilled or iced water

    Right MSO, I have learned this one from Jiminks long time ago. Cold water will also soothe the pain of tongue bite.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  25. unkleyoda

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    Jameson and Black Bush are my daily favs

    Have you ever tried Powers? I like Jameson and all the Bushmill's stuff, but I think Powers is superior to both. Try it sometime.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  26. workman

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    This is fascinating. I haven't the expertice to add anything useful other than my experience, that when I smoke a blend high in nicotine, an alcoholic beverage will mellow out the nicotine, making it pleasantly intoxicating rather than nauseating.

    Smoking is one of the leading causes of all statistics.
    Posted 1 year ago #
  27. jvnshr

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    Personal experiences:

    - Mac Baren 7 Seas Regular blend tastes amazingly well after a spicy (black pepper spice) lentil soup.
    - Dunhill Early Morning Pipe pairs well with black tea.
    - Solani 633 pairs well with ice water.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  28. deathmetal

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    try them with a pumpkin spice latte

    You could just drink a bucket of foamy pink AIDS, which is about the same thing. Otherwise, great guide!

    "My own experience has been that the tools I need for my trade are paper, tobacco, food, and a little whiskey." -- William Faulkner

    The Metal Mixtures
    Posted 1 year ago #
  29. jvnshr

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    New pairings have been added to the list.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  30. krizzose

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    I really like unsweetened cinnamon tea with VaOr blends, and bourbon with burley

    Posted 1 year ago #
  31. mso489

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    i don't always have the time or selection of beverages to be exacting with beverage pairings, but I do think that straight black tea (no extra flavors, like P&G Tips) goes nicely with many English and Balkan blends, and green tea complements Virgnias and Va/Pers, it seems to me.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  32. blendtobac

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    There are a few drinks I think of as universal palate cleansers - coffee, tea, club soda, light lagers, dry white wines. Acidity, carbonation, and tannins will keep the tongue fresh, and all of the drinks mentioned have at least one of those properties. Of all of them, I drink coffee most often, but it's probably the least effective palate cleanser of the bunch because it has the longest finish (aftertaste).

    Russ

    Posted 1 year ago #
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    derekflint

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    I do think that straight black tea (no extra flavors, like P&G Tips) goes nicely with many English and Balkan blends, and green tea complements Virgnias and Va/Pers, it seems to me

    +2 on that ...........

    Posted 1 year ago #
  34. npod

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    Mountain Dew

    The above is in tribute to Cosmic

    I quit drinking alcohol a while back and now only sparkling water or coffee (sometimes tea) with pipe tobacco or cigars. Honestly, it makes a difference. The flavors really pop.

    Neal
    Posted 1 year ago #
  35. theloniousmonkfish

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    Honestly, it makes a difference. The flavors really pop.

    I've experienced the same.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  36. thomasw

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    Thanks for posting and putting together this pairings list.

    My go-to has been black coffee or tea. A red wine, dark ale or single malt are my favourite alcohol beverages with a pipe.

    After some time he felt for his pipe. It was not broken, and that was something. Then he felt for his pouch, and there was some tobacco in it, and that was something more. Then he felt for matches and he could not find any at all, and that shattered his hopes completely.

    The Hobbit
    Posted 1 year ago #
  37. curl

    curl

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    I need to expand my drinking horizons.
    About all I have is brown water.
    Coffee, whiskey and beer are my usual smoking libations.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  38. jvnshr

    jvnshr

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    The list has been updated.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  39. chasingembers

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    Really I can drink Mountain Dew with anything, but when I'm feeling the need to pair drinks with smoke;

    Aromatics and Burley-Coffee

    Virginias and VaPers-Earl Grey

    Latakia-Lemonade

    I prefer to drink spirits on their own to fully enjoy them on their own merits.

    Damnation seize my soul if I give you quarters, or take any from you.
    -Edward Teach
    Posted 1 year ago #
  40. jvnshr

    jvnshr

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    Really I can drink Mountain Dew with anything, but when I'm feeling the need to pair drinks with smoke;

    Aromatics and Burley-Coffee

    Virginias and VaPers-Earl Grey

    Latakia-Lemonade

    I prefer to drink spirits on their own to fully enjoy them on their own merits.

    Same here Duane. I can pair 7up with anything, especially cigars, it is a nice palate cleanser. +1 on pairing Earl Grey with Va and Va/Pers. I don't like drinking alcohol while smoking pipe either, but beers are paired really well with cigars, especially weizens with dark wrappers.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  41. chasingembers

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    but beers are paired really well with cigars

    +1 Absolutely

    Posted 1 year ago #
  42. ray47

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    Beer or brandy for me when I'm smoking a cigar. Coffee or A&W Root Beer are what I drink when smoking a pipe.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  43. jvnshr

    jvnshr

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    The list has been updated.

    Posted 6 months ago #
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    foursidedtriangle

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    Balkan blends that I enjoy go extremely well with peach or cherry soda. The refreshing taste contrasts to the smoke.

    Posted 6 months ago #
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    erhardt85

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    Wow that's a comprehensive guide. Some good pairings there. The drink you have by your side during a smoke is at least half as important as the smoke itself. Required to have something there imo.

    Posted 6 months ago #

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