I’m as avid a fan of music as I am of cigars. When I associate certain cigars with a genre of music, I get a lot more out of my smoking experience.
The relaxing ritual of smoking cigars involves using all of your senses; Sight, touch, smell, taste and even hearing. The first four may seem obvious; however, listening to a cigar rolled in your hand helps you determine the moisture content in the stogie.
But I’m not here to talk about Cigar 101. I’m here to talk about another relaxing pastime; music. I’ve explored cigar pairings with Scotch, bourbon, rum, and wine. I’m as avid a fan of music as I am of cigars. When I associate certain cigars with a genre of music, I get a lot more out of my smoking experience.
Listening to music while smoking is not a new concept. There is not a scientific formula for picking music to pair with your favorite cigar. Depending on the activity, time of day, or who I am surrounded by, there is a soundtrack to coincide with my smoke.
Sunday mornings are for relaxing with a milder cigar in hand, listening to jazz. “Kind of Blue” by Miles Davis is the definitive jazz album. Without conventional chord progression, Davis’ improvisation gives you a lot more freedom and space to hear things. When you go this way, your Sunday can go on forever. Other artists on rotation include John Coltrane, Dave Brubeck, Ella Fitzgerald and Herb Alpert. Some songs on rotation are Davis’ “So What”, “Autumn in New York” by Ella Fitzgerald with Louis Armstrong, and Brubeck’s “Take Five”. With iconic jazz musicians and singers such as these, only a classic, cool cigar will do. Ashton Classic 8-9-8 fits the bill.
Country & Rockabilly
At my barbecues, guests get a dose of some honky-tonk country music including Hank Williams, Jimmie Rogers, Lyle Lovett, and Dwight Yoakam. Thrown into the mix is a little rockabilly from Elvis, Buddy Holly, Reverend Horton Heat and some gritty Rolling Stones. After some smoked brisket, a Kentucky Fired Cured Chunky cigar, from Drew Estate, would be a great encore. Get your 45’s out and play Elvis’ “That’s Alright Mama”, Buddy Holly’s “Oh Boy” and the Stones’ cover of Holly’s “Not Fade Away”.
When I throw a swinging cocktail party, my playlist includes Ol’ Blue Eyes, lounge singer Les Baxter and Mexican bandleader Juan García Esquivel. For those not familiar with Baxter, in the 1960s and 1970s, he worked on B-movie scores for American International Pictures. He composed music for Roger Corman's Edgar Allan Poe films including Fall of the House of Usher, The Pit and the Pendulum, and The Raven. He also worked on some beach party movies such as Muscle Beach Party and Beach Blanket Bingo. Get your tiki torches out and pour some of the mother of all freak drinks; Zombies! Play Baxter’s “Voodoo Dreams” and hand out some stogies. Arturo Fuente's Gran Reserva Hemingway Signature Natural from the Dominican Republic should be passed around your pad to complete the scene.
Friday nights get the funk! I boogie down with Parliament and James Brown, of course. Also, Chaka Khan along with Marvin Gaye, and jazz-funk from Herbie Hancock. As the night goes on and the Woodford Reserve kicks in, I spin Donna Summer, the Bee Gees, and Chic. And to further annoy my friends, KC and the Sunshine Band gets added to the mix. Pairing with the Woodford and the funk is easy when you turn to virtually any Padron Anniversary Maduro!
Rock n' Roll
For all occasions, classic Rock n’ Roll gets rotated on my turntable. One of my favorite songs is the live version of “Sweet Jane”. The song appears on the album Live Rock n Roll Animal, which was released in 1974. Also, a 13+ minute version of” Heroin” is also on the album. So, the only fitting cigars would be a Deadwood Sweet Jane by Drew Estate or an Esteban Carreras Mr. Brownstone Habano. The Rolling Stones “Let it Bleed”, Springsteen’s “Born to Run”, and any Pink Floyd album are also on my playlist.
So, what music do you enjoy with your favorite cigars? Hit us up at El Cigar Shop on Facebook | Instagram and let us know! We love to hear feedback from our brothers and sisters of the leaf! And if you want to buy cigars online, these recommendations and more, remember to visit El Cigar Shop!