December 2, 2011

Dalmore Cigar Malt Reserve

Put a good Scotch whisky in a mixture of 70%-30% Olorosso Sherry and American White Oak casks, and you come up with this winner.

I haven't smoked in a quarter-century, but I still fondly recall the aroma of a fine cigar accompanied by a fine whisky. Sampling the Dalmore Cigar Malt Reserve put me back in those more carefree, and careless, times.

The initial slight cigar-smoke nose, with backnotes of lighter tobacco, loamy soil, caramel and spice, promise the palate a good time. Then, true to that promise, comes an alluring, rich taste experience.

A surprising number of fruit notes emerge as one lets the amber liquid loll on the tongue -- pineapple, mango, kiwi -- along with the expected toffee and vanilla.

This whisky is matured for most of its life in Oloroso Matusalem sherry butts and bottled at 44% alcohol by volume (88 proof). Even without a cigar, it's a fine, fine dram. So fine, in fact, that it earned a gold medal in the Beverage Tasting Institute's global competition in June.

Suggested retail price: $125 for the 750ml bottle.

Go to Dowd's Spirits Notebook.

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