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Cigar Spirits: Dalmore Cigar Malt Reserve

10 Jan 2012

Cigars and scotch go together like peanut butter and jelly, but rarely is the connection so explicit as with Dalmore Cigar Malt Reserve. According to Dalmore’s website, “the body and character of this extraordinary expression is the perfect complement to a fine cigar.”

You might remember the discontinued Dalmore Cigar Malt (an excellent value at around $50), but this new Dalmore Cigar Malt Reserve is a different whisky. The old Cigar Malt, 40% ABV and made with 60% sherry casks and 40% bourbon casks, was discontinued, allegedly in part because some consumers either thought the scotch only went with cigars or was somehow made with tobacco. (The original Cigar Malt has, depending on who you ask, been rebranded as, or slightly changed to become, Dalmore’s Gran Reserva.)

The new Cigar Malt Reserve is similar to the original, but with a few notable changes, mainly that it ups three things. First, it goes from 80-proof to a slightly stronger 88-proof. Second, it increases the percentage of Oloroso “Matusalem” sherry from 60% to 70%. Third, the price is considerably higher at $120 for a 750 ml. bottle.

The new Cigar Malt Reserve pours a deep amber color. The nose is heavy, with toffee, chocolate, roast cashew, and a hint of the Oloroso sherry.

I tasted the whisky neat and found it to be similar on the palate to its profile on the nose. There’s oily roast nuts, sweetness from dry cocoa and toffee, and plenty of wood and earth. More subtle is a hint of citrus, black pepper, and perhaps some fermented maduro tobacco. The finish is long with lots of wood and fleeting spice.

I can see why this is billed as a “Cigar Malt” as it does indeed pair well with a fine cigar. It also feature more flavors (wood, earth, pepper, chocolate, toffee, etc…) in common with cigars than any whisky I’ve ever tasted. And it pairs with a wide range of cigars, from oily maduros to spicy Nicaraguans to subtle Cameroon-wrapped Dominicans.

For me, the result is an excellent scotch that is best appreciated neat with a good smoke. It’s also a unique, gritty, character-filled blend; not at all peaty, but also not overly sweet or light. Beyond those admirable attributes, the proud connection with cigars certainly makes me inclined towards the Cigar Malt, even if the price might make it a rare indulgence.

Patrick S

photo credit: Dalmore

2 Responses to “Cigar Spirits: Dalmore Cigar Malt Reserve”

  1. Jake Wednesday, January 11, 2012 at 7:47 pm #

    Found these while getting lost on the web one day…

    This is also a really cool site. They sell by the dram almost everything they sell by the bottle. Come tax refund time I'm gettin' ripped in small doses =)

  2. lee Wednesday, June 6, 2012 at 7:11 pm #

    This scotch is over rated