The Ashton Cigar Bar Presents: Cigar 101 "Intro to Cigars & Pairings" - Wooder Ice
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The Ashton Cigar Bar Presents: Cigar 101 “Intro to Cigars & Pairings”


The Ashton Cigar Bar Presents: Cigar 101 “Intro to Cigars & Pairings”

We’ve all seen seen and tried to emulate characters in movies or  T.V shows puffing a cigar.  Whether it was the ultra smooth and classy Rat Pack of yesteryear, the likeable bad guy such as Tony Soprano, or suave tough guy like Clint Eastwood, they all become iconic images in the cigar world.  Cigars are not only symbolic on the silver screen, but also an universal symbol of celebration as well.  From being passed around hospital waiting rooms after the birth of a child to NBA locker rooms after a championship win. Cigars have been woven deeply into the fabric of our culture, yet many people know so little about them.  Aside from the universal Cohiba, what do we really know about mild, medium, and full body cigars?  What notes are detected in each variety?  What scotch or bourbon goes best in each instance?


Ashton Cigar Bar offers a cool and trendy atmosphere to enjoy a cigar & glass of your favorite drink

These are questions that many people don’t have the answers for and its okay.  We recently stopped in Philly’s premier cigar bar, Ashton Cigar Bar and spoke with the Dave Marks who has been the GM at Ashton since they opened their doors in September of last year, and he was kind enough to break down the art of cigar smoking.  You see, it’s not as simple as clipping the tip of a random cigar and going on your way but rather a delicate balance of flavors that makes cigar smoking so enjoyable. So for those interested in obtaining more knowledge, we present Cigar 101: “Intro to Cigars & Pairings.”

Now if you haven’t been to the Ashton Cigar bar prepared to be impressed.  This swanky lounge is located in the Rittenhouse section of the city offers a modern sheik atmosphere.  A far cry from the typical grandfatherly mahogany wood cigar dens depicted in the movies. This spot has all the comforts of the best lounges and offers one of the best liquor menus in the city.  There is practically nothing you can’t find at this place.  From wines, to tequilas, to rare bourbons and whiskeys, Ashton Cigar Bar makes sure that whatever your preference is, it’s available.

Being the GM at such a place requires a wealth of knowledge of both cigars and liqour.  So as we picked Dave’s brain regarding each cigar body type and pairings, he was more than happy to accommodate our request as he methodically described the different types of notes (flavors/aromas) each cigar & liquor contained as well as their manufacturing process.  It was just like sitting in a classroom with a professor as he meticulously described everything that was going to be on an upcoming test.  After digesting this information even a novice smoker can walk into the Cigar Bar and be confident with their selection. Here’s the breakdown:

Mild Cigars & Pairings

Ashton Cabinet

  • “For people that come in, they’re not usually a cigar smoker and looking for something introductory to get into, we always recommend something on the milder side. It’s a very approachable cigar.  It’s mild, smooth, creamy finish, not much spice at all but still something that is mild, it’s very flavorful.”

Pair With

  • Maker’s Mark-“A nice wheated bourbon is going to work great for you.”
  • Dalwhinnie 15- “It’s actually the highest distiller in all of Scotland. They claim to have the purest water source, which gives it such a clean and refreshing flavor for a scotch.  Very flavorful.”

Medium Body Cigars & Pairings

San Cristobal Revelation 

  • “One of the newer cigars that’s in our portfolio, comes from Nicaragua.  Slightly more than medium body, a lot of earth in it, a lot of spice. Not too overpowering and is made by the Garcia family who are widely regarded as one of the best cigar makers in the world.”

Pair With

  • Blanton’s- “One of my all-time favorites.  It is the original single barrel bourbon. Very consistent, just over 90 proof. Tons of good flavor, you get some caramel, a little vanilla from the wood, but not going to overpower anything. Very flavorful everyday bourbon.”
  • Highland Park from the Orkney Islands-“Made very north of Scotland, closer to the sea, you get a little bit of salinity in the whiskey from that sea air.  But it’s not in your face, it’s in the background, it’s a very well rounded scotch. Richer than Dalwhinnie but not going to overpower anything.”


Full Body Cigars & Pairings

Ashton Estate Sun Grown (ESG)

  • “Very rich full flavor cigar. Starts off medium bodied then develops into something very full. This is like the Roll Royce of what we have going on in here.  If you want to come in and have a great cigar and want to get a Pappy Van Winkle or something along those lines, this will be a great cigar to go with the Pappy.”

La Aroma De Cuba Mi Amor Reserva

  • “This comes out of Nicaragua from the same factory as San Cristobal as well.  Very rich full body cigar with a very dark rich oily Mexican wrapper.  You get notes of dark chocolate, coffee, espresso, but very well balanced.  It’s an awesome desert cigar.”

Pair With

  • George T. Stagg -“Comes out of the Buffalo Trace Distillery as part of their  “Antique Collection.” comes out once a year.  The stag is bottled at barrel strength so every year it’s different it’s whatever comes out of the barrel. Very robust, very full body.  A log of people like to add some ice or a little bit of water.  But people that like an intense full flavor bourbon that’s in your face, they will really like something like this.”
  • Ardbeg Uigeadail-“They use a lot of peat. Very robust, they use more peat than anyone else. Uigeadail is a somewhat limited release but not too limited. The proof is a little bit higher than their standard. The peat is a little big higher and the barrel aging is a little more intense. Tons of flavor, with a little sweetness in the back end from some of the wood aging.”


Personally I wish I’ve known all this information a lot sooner.  However, being a late bloomer in the cigar world isn’t so bad when you get this type of help getting started.  So for those looking for a new environment to enjoy their evening a cigar bar such as Ashton is a great place to hang out with friends or family and enjoy a relaxing atmosphere.  “It’s a great place to be, we turn the music up on the weekends and make it fun.” Dave points out.  Also, a great stop during a bachelor parties, birthday parties, and even a date.  Hey you never know who you will impress with your new found knowledge of cigars and once you get started you will realize that cigars shouldn’t be reserved for just celebrations.


For more information or to book a party contact:

Ashton Cigar Bar

(267) 350-0000

1522 Walnut St. 2nd Floor

Open 7 Days a Week 4 pm – 2 am (open noon on Fridays for the summer)

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  1. Pingback: Cigar 101: Intro to Cigars and Pairings | Bodega Premium Blends

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