Scotch. Cigars. They are the most perfect of pairings. How many times have you sat down with your best friends, poured your favorite single malt and then picked out that ideal smoke to enjoy? We know the answer: Many times. We know, not only because we’ve done it too, but because we know a lot of people do it.
That’s one of the reasons when the opportunity arose to bring a wonderful magazine called Malt Advocate into the stable of M. Shanken Communications publications, it seemed like the ideal match. John Hansell, the publisher and editor, agreed in his post-purchase comments, saying our two companies’ activities “dovetail perfectly.” He cited the obvious synergies between our two areas of expertise. And, if you’re a Cigar Aficionado reader who loves Scotch, it will give you the chance to get more and better in-depth reporting and information about the great Scotches of the world.
Scotch, and its ultra-premium categories of single malts and long-aged blends, has been one of the success stories in the spirits business for nearly 20 years. In fact, in 2009, the Scotch Whisky Association said exports from Scotland rose to an all-time record. And that was in the midst of a global recession.
Like many luxury products, including fine wines and cigars, single malts bring something to the table that connoisseurs know instinctively. They re-create a specific sense of place, or as has been said, a somewhere-ness that derives from the land and the climate where it is produced. As importantly, the rise of single malts coincides with that much broader evolution in the ever-more sophisticated palates of discerning consumers; they want something more than just the same taste over and over again. They want to experience something unique, and then go on to the next unique taste, learning to distinguish between flavors and aromas that are benchmarks of unique products.
We’ve seen that same development in the 18 years we’ve been publishing Cigar Aficionado. Once, the American cigar market was dominated by fairly mild cigars. But as people became more experienced, and cigar manufacturers became more adventuresome with creating new blends and tastes, trying new tobaccos from different parts of the world, the cigars being produced became more and more flavorful, and in many instances, unique. Today, in the cigar market, you can find as wide a range of cigars as has ever been available, and if there is one benchmark word that gets bandied around a lot, it is full-flavored.
We look forward to bringing our two worlds—Scotch and cigars—closer together. We have our Big Smokes. Malt Advocate has its WhiskyFest. Both are huge successes, and bring lovers of cigars and Scotch into contact with the greatest producers in the world. And, who’s going to be the biggest winner in all this: You, our readers.
So, here’s to having a wee dram with your next cigar. Go out and find Malt Advocate, or sign up to get it in your mailbox.