Work like a Captain, Party Like a Pirate: Chilling with Rum & a Cigar

Work like a Captain, Party Like a Pirate: Chilling with Rum & a Cigar

Check out these few perfectly balanced and complementary rum and cigar pairing recommendations, perfect to indulge in and chill with this summer.

Most people associate cigar pairings with Scotch and whiskey, but many cigars and rum come from the same countries in Central America and the Caribbean islands. Each region that produces rum and cigars has a distinct body and flavor. Thus, the much-overlooked pairing should be obvious.


Spicy, slightly sweet rum goes incredibly well with a wide range of cigars. Summer is the perfect time to experiment with this pairing. The cigars that I paired with several varieties of rum were the Oliva Serie O (a Nicaraguan Puro) and Perla del Mar G (also a Nicaraguan Puro). All the rums paired were served on the rocks.


Cigar & Rum Pairing Recommendations

#1. The Oliva Serie O is a medium to full body smoke and is made in the traditional Cuban style by growing the same Habano seeds in different regions of Nicaragua.

The Serie O Nicaraguan Habano starts on the palate with notes of cedar, light coffee, and hints of spice with touches of caramel. I first paired the Oliva Serie with Flor de Caña Centenario 18, Nicaraguan single-estate rum.

Flor de Caña is sweet and full. The rum mingles creamy vanilla and honey with spice. The rum’s vanilla intensified as the Oliva got spicier. The rum really found its stride with the Oliva O, becoming very lush with exaggerated honey and cream. The Flor de Caña also boosted the cigar's notes of leather.

Jamaica's Appleton Estate 21 follows strict English rules, which insist rum’s label, reflect the minimum age used in a blend. Surprisingly, this 21-year-old is not the oldest Appleton Estate has made; that would be a 50-year-old.

Appleton is full-bodied with notes of apple, banana and pear, joined by licorice and cinnamon spice. Paired with the Oliva O, the rum brought out tons of leather and coffee notes as well as its signature cinnamon flavor. These two were simply delicious together.

The third rum I paired with the Oliva O was the super- premium Zacapa Centenario XO from Guatemala. Zacapa had won first place in the premium rums category 4 years in a row at the International Rum Festival for the years 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001.

Zacapa Centenario XO is perfectly balanced with sweet spice, caramel, and vanilla. When paired with the Oliva O the flavors of vanilla and spice from both the rum and the cigar flourish. Spectacular!


#2. Next up was the Perla del Mar G, a premium mild to medium bodied cigar from JC Newman. The Puro blend provides a smooth, light flavor, full and fresh with touches of hickory, buttery caramel and almond.

An unexpected nutty element in the Flor de Caña Centenario 18 sprouted with the Perla del Mar G. The rum intertwined its vanilla flavor along with the sweet creamy caramel and spice of the cigar.

The amber Appleton Estates’ bright fruit flavors shined with the fresh flavors of the Perla del Mar. The woodsy notes of the cigar were toned down by the rum and the spice peaked nicely. Very intriguing.

Paired with the exquisite Zacapa Centenario XO, the caramel flavors of the Perla del Mar gleamed. With these two, you've got a pairing that will keep your taste buds at attention all night long.  

The cigar seemed to give more character and flavor to the rum. The vanilla and caramel tones in the rum were more polished, probably due to the mildness of the Perla del Mar G.


All in all, each pairing was a success. Oliva Serie O and Perla del Mar are both unique cigars, yet when paired with the different rums, similar highlights shone brightly for each stick’s superior qualities.

Remember that you can find these two cigars and, of course, many more at!  I hope I’ve taken a little bit of the work out of pairing rum and a cigar so you can sit back and chill with a glass and a smoke. Relax and revel!


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Cigar & Rum Pairing Recommendations


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