Where there’s smoke, there’s bourbon | VailDaily.com

Where there’s smoke, there’s bourbon

Joseph T. O'Connor

Start your lighters.

Cigar Aficionado Magazine’s Don Gatterdam is returning to Taste of Vail for another cigar and spirit-tasting seminar.

This year’s seminar, “Treasures of the New World,” will jump into the world of small batch bourbon and three mild to full-bodied super premium cigars from Honduras to the Dominican Republic Bourbon’s a “New World” whiskey, as opposed to Scotch whiskey. At the tasting will be such high-end bourbons as Woodford Reserve, Maker’s Mark, Knob Creek and Wild Turkey “Rare Breed.”

“Entertainment meets education,” describes Gatterdam, who will log his fourth visit to the Taste of Vail this April. “It’s a lot of fun, and will be similar to a wine tasting.”

Participants will have tasting mats providing nomenclature on both sides. One side will have bourbon flavor descriptors, the other side a list of cigar descriptors.

While “Treasures of the New World” will be a tasting of fine bourbons and cigars in the comfortable and elegant Sanctuary lounge above the Tap Room in Vail Village, and while cigar smoke will be bouncing ’round the room, the atmosphere will not be a stuffy one.

“It won’t be like one of the events at the hotels around town,” Gatterdam promises. “Many of those events are run in a sort of classroom style. While ‘Treasures of the New World’ will be a professionally-run seminar, it will be a lot of fun as well.”

The event will, however, draw bourbon and cigar professionals from all over the world, which could spark up the age-old controversy of which spirit is the best match for fine cigars. Some connoisseurs claim that bourbon is a cigar’s best partner. Others say cognac,

still others say Scotch.

“Even non-spirits, such as port, are great matches with cigars,” says Gatterdam, who is also organizing the third annual Battle of the Bartenders, a Margarita Mix-off for the Taste of Vail. “But American bourbons, because of the sweeter nature of the product, whether single-malt or blend, make ideal partners (with good cigars).”

In the end, however, the individual must decide what combination of which bourbon with which cigar he or she prefers.

And, as Gatterdam says, “At the end of the day, it’s about having fun and learning a couple of things along the way.”

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