My guilty pleasure is a Dalmore. There are many reasons that I shouldn’t like it but I do. I do go into this a little more in my review of The Dalmore 15 so I’ll not repeat myself here.
The Cigar Malt has been around for a while in a couple of incarnations. It has never carried an age statement but I have heard that there are whiskies of up to 15 years old in its make up. If anyone has more information on this, or indeed, can correct me on this then please feel free to get in touch.
Previous incarnations retailed for around the £40 point but the newer version sits in the region of £70. The reason for this is apparently that the constituent whiskies are now much older than in the past.
Dalmore Master Blender (and pretty much the brand figurehead) Richard Paterson is himself a cigar smoker and talks about his love of cigars and whisky (amongst other things) in this great interview with UK Cigar Scene.
There is no surprise that with Dalmores position in the ‘Luxury’ end of the whisky spectrum that matching it with a Cigar makes branding sense. The Cigar Malt is however designed to pair with a specific cigar, The Partagas Serie D No4.
Unfortunately at the time of writing this review I had a different cigar from the Partagas range, The Serie P No2.
I have for the purposes of this review tried the Cigar Malt both with and without the cigar as this is after all a whisky website (even though I do randomly transition to some cigar rambles…)
There are a heady mix of finishes in the Cigar Malt. It is comprised of whiskies finished in 70% Oloroso Sherry, 20% American White Oak and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon casks.
Dalmore Cigar Malt, OB, 40% ABV, from my collection, available here.
On the nose it is classic Dalmore. Raisins, soft tannins, vanilla, burnt toffee and caramel, however in this expression there are stronger hints than normal of redcurrant.
The palate is dark chocolate, fruitcake, raisins steeped in tannic black tea and oranges (although slightly sharper in flavour than say the 15) as well as some toffee. It is reasonably simple stuff but rich and enjoyable.
The finish is buttery and spiced. Oranges, cloves and cinnamon are the main constituents. The finish is ever so slightly shorter than I have come to expect but fits in with the slightly dryer feel of the dram, probably the slight influence of the other casks used, under the blanket of the Oloroso.
Pairing it with the cigar? Its rather pleasant and definately overides the slightly dryer feeling of the finish of the palate. However I did make one observation.
Previously I have reviewed the Dalmore Regalis and on a whim I tried this with the Partagas also. Weirdly I think it went better. The nutty minerality of the Regalis (which is partly matured in Amoroso sherry casks) seemed to suit it a little better. The richness of the cigar malt just didn’t go as well with the P2 although the D2 is a much more full bodied cigar and a larger ring gauge (diameter) so probably needs that sweet sherry to combine together better.
As for the Cigar Malt? I’d say that drinking it without a cigar is not in any way to its detriment, and it has been interesting combining the two to help fully understand the complexities and subtleties of both.