Whiskey Review: The Dalmore Cigar Malt Reserve

 


  • Dalmore Cigar Malt
  • Distiller: Dalmore
  • Single Malt
  • Region: Scotland
  • Cask: matured in ex-bourbon barrels and finished in 30 year old Matusalem oloroso sherry
  • ABV: 44%

 

“The body, structure and character of this extraordinary expression is the perfect complement to a fine cigar.” – Richard Paterson, Master Distiller

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The Dalmore Cigar Malt Reserve is a rebirth of a version that was discontinued in 2009. The reworked version uses a blend of whiskies which are slightly older, which does push up the price somewhat. Despite the name, I promise no tobacco was used as part of the malting nor aging process. This whiskey is specifically designed to complement the flavors and experience of smoking a cigar. I paired this whiskey with Cordoba & Morales Finca Santa Fe FSG Toro (review here) and The Whiskey Maker’s Series: Single Malt Murder (review here).

The Dalmore Cigar Malt Reserve is blended by Richard Patterson with about 70% of the vatting coming from Oloroso sherry casks. The remaining casks are white oak ex-bourbon barrels coming from America. The spirit is finished in Cabernet Sauvingon barrels.

I like that this chooses to not be a peated malt so that it doesn’t compete in taste with the smoky cigar flavors. Instead, the Dalmore Cigar Malt Reserve tends towards sweet, full and fruity. The bottle comes in a pretty red box and has the traditional stag head emblazoned across the front. It is a rich, deep red color that promises a robust taste.

When my glass first arrives from the bar, it hits all the right sweet notes – caramel, creaminess and sugar with hints of the fruit inherent from its finishing barrels. The initial taste is medium bodied and tastes heavily of cinnamon that lightly burns the tongue before turning more towards a toffee taste mingled with the fruity sherry notes as promised. The drink mellows as I sip it, becoming less spiced and more rounded towards fruit tastes. It has a long finish, with oak tannins and a buttery texture to it as the caramel and sugar tastes finally return. Fruit notes are heavy in the aftertaste.

Overall, it starts out opulent and luxurious and sort of peters out in the middle of the drink, only to make a come back on the finish. The whole experience evokes a sense of overstuffed leather chairs, heavy wooden furniture, and curling smoke. Or that might just be because of where I was smoking and reading, at the Corona Cigar Co. & Drew Estate Lounge.

I went through 2 glasses, needing to taste it again after I was unable to finish my cigar. All in all, the sip stands up well on its own with a longer burn in the beginning and heavier sherry fruits throughout. It was a nice complement to The Whiskey Maker’s Series: Single Malt Murder, being reminiscent also of the high lands in which the story is set. To be honest, I think the book made the drink better and might not enjoy it as much alone. The overall experience would have been better with a different cigar and I think next time I would try it instead with a medium bodied Gurkha or perhaps an Oliva Serie G.

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