Calvados

The pairing between cigar and calvados

The paring between cigar and spirits is considered a real ritual now famous all over the world. Cuba, through the traditional “Sobremesa”, inspired and spread this type of matching. Sobremesa is a centuries-old custom of the Cuban population that provides relaxation after a heavy meal, smoking a cigar in combination with spirits or local liqueurs.
Before being able to deal with the topic of pairing between cigar and calvados, the topic on spirits will be introduced, starting from their definition and describing some types of calvados.

Definition and distillation techniques

A distillate, or spirit, is an alcoholic product derived from the distillation of a fermented sugar liquid that can be of vitivinicultural, cerelealicol, fruit and vegetable origin.
The distillation technique exploits the physical phenomenon whereby, thanks to the heat, any volatile substance can pass from the liquid to the gaseous state, and then return to liquid if it is cooled. This process takes place through the still, a copper device that allows to separate volatile substances based on their boiling point.

There are two distillation techniques:

Discontinuous Distillation (Post-Still): It can perform only one distillation at a time.
Continuous Distillation: Distillation takes place continuously and automatically 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The quality of the distillate is lower than with discontinuous distillation.

Calvados AOC

Calvados is the French spirit produced by the distillation of fermented cider or poirè must protected by an Apellation d’Origine Controlèe (AOC). There are three Appelation for calvados:

Calvados AOC:
– It can be produced from cider or poirè.
– Production is regulated in the departments of Calvados, Eure, Eure-et-Loir, Manche, Mayenne, Oise, Orne, Sarthe and Seine-Maritime.
– Distillation can be continuous or discontinuous.
– It must mature for at least 2 years in wood.

Calvados Domfrontais AOC:
– It can be produced from cider and from at least 30% of poirè.
– Production is regulated in the departments of Manche, Mayenne and Orne.
– Distillation must be continuous.
– Must mature in wood for at least 3 years.

Calvados Pays d’Auge AOC:
– It can be produced from cider and from at least 30% of poirè.
– Production is regulated in the departments of Calvados, Eure and Orne
– The distillation must be double in discontinuous stills.
– It must mature for at least 2 years in wood.

The classification of Calvados

Fine / Trois Étoiles / Trois Pommes / VS: Maturation of 2 years in wood. Not present for the Calvados Domfrontais AOC.
Vieux / Réserve: Maturation of 3 years in wood.
VO / VSOP / Vieille Réserve: Maturation of 4 years in wood.
Hors d’Age / XO / Très Vieille Réserve / Très Vieux / Extra / Napoléon: Maturation of 6 years in wood.

Additional mentions on the label

Production Fermière (Produit Fermier): The Calvados was produced on the same estate where the fruit was harvested and fermented.

The pairing between cigar and calvados in detail

The high alcohol content in calvados is a real double-edged sword when paired with a cigar: The softness given by alcohol greatly amplifies the intensity of the cigar when smoking, however if the alcohol in the distillate is present in a excessive, its pungency will tend to completely overpower the cigar.

Pairing according to structure and persistence

As with other drinks, the pairing according for structure and persistence also applies to spirits. Here are some rules:
– Cigars with a light body and not very persistent on the palate should be combined with poorly structured and persistent calvados, which have passed a short to medium maturation period in wood.
– Medium-bodied and persistent cigars on the palate should be combined with medium-structured and persistent calvados, which have passed a medium-long period of aging in wood.
– Full-bodied cigars, structured with a long persistence on the palate should be combined with full-bodied calvados, structured, with a long persistence, which have passed a long period of aging in wood.

What to avoid

There are small things that should be avoided during the pairing between the cigar and the spirits.
– The excessive pungency present in clear spirits tends to overpower the cigar during the pairing. On the contrary, clear spirits with too neutral hints would be dominated by the cigar.
– It is advisable to avoid pairing cigars with hints of roasting with spirit with smoked or peat hints. The bitter aftertaste of both products would cause an unpleasant sensation in the mouth.

Conclusions

In this article we have introduced the topic of pairing between cigar and calvados. After having clarified the definition of distillate and having dealt with the various types of distillation, various types of calvados have been analyzed. We went into the pairing between cigar and calvados, enhancing the marriage through criteria of concordance on structure and persistence, finally giving some advice on what would be best avoided in order not to ruin the match between the two.

 

Foto di Marie Sjödin da Pixabay

Sommelier professionista (ASPI Associazione Sommellerie Professionale Italiana) in sedia a rotelle pubblicato a livello internazionale con svariate esperienze nella ristorazione e nella organizzazione di eventi. Scrive di abbinamenti sigari - bevande su Gusto Tabacco.