Pros: A fantastic accompaniment to fine cigars; highly-satisfying flavors.
Cons: Those who don't smoke cigars may find this scotch overbearing on it own.
Once or twice a year, my uncle from the Netherlands comes stateside. We share good laughs, big hugs, fine cigars, and expensive scotch until all hours, but his stay never seems to last long enough.
I make it a point to travel to the liquor store with him during his visits with the express purpose of picking out a scotch with which we can stoke the fires of our conversation and warm cheer.
During this visit, he presented me with a glorious cigar, a Zino Platinum (learn more about this outstanding cigar at http://www.zinoplatinum.com/) and I wanted to find the perfect accompaniment.
I know the Zino Platinum to be smooth-smoking and bold, so I knew the scotch had to be equally as robust. The Zino Platinum represents the best Davidoff of Geneva has to offer and, more than anything else, I didn't want to botch this pairing.
Enter The Dalmore Cigar Malt Single Highland Malt Scotch Whisky.
Far from being the flagship of The Dalmore stable, and often dismissed as somewhat of a gimmick, The Dalmore Cigar Malt Single Highland Malt Scotch Whisky is uniquely blended to pair with fine smoke. Unlike its more demure and refined 21-year-old relative, The Dalmore Cigar Malt Single Highland Malt Scotch Whisky is stalwart enough a scotch to complement the fine nuances of high-quality tobacco without backing down and losing its identity in the process.
At just south of $30 a bottle, there are certainly more expensive, and, dare I say, higher quality options, but what The Dalmore Cigar Malt Single Highland Malt Scotch Whisky offers is a necessary lack of nuance and bolder flavors in contrast to the other choices. Why pay for nuance that will only go unnoticed?
Trusting the quality I've come to expect of The Dalmore, I ensured Uncle Jerry that we'd not regret this purchase.
Upon our return to my brother-in-law's home, a home which reflects my brother-in-law's "Budweiser only" approach to drinking, and not without some searching, we ultimately settle on two suitable, thick-bottomed rocks glasses for the task.
To the pour!
With a clink-clink, Uncle Jerry drops a pair of ice cubes into his glass. I prefer to keep my scotch neat.
The Dalmore Cigar Malt Single Highland Malt Scotch Whisky pours a ruddy amber-to-mahogany hue with flecks of liquid gold throughout. It plays very well in sunlight. It is a syrupy, viscous malt that sheets the glass with every swirl.
The nose is stout and unflinching, as the phenols announce their presence in this malt. Beyond the unquestionable aroma of the 43% ABV, I am delighted to be treated to a host of sweet effluvia: vanilla, yeast, smoky peat, raisin, sweet black cavendish, and honeyed-citrus. It is the smell of the finest New York pastry kitchen; tremendously appetizing. The aroma is ultimately balanced by subdued tones of Bourbon and lingering notes of sherry from the Oloroso casks in which this single malt is aged.
We take our first sips and our countenances fall. There is far too much of a whisky character in this scotch. It is harsh and untamed on the palate, and the alcohol again asserts its dominance over the flavors I know are in here for their pronounced aromas.
Shooing away black clouds, I suggest that we smoke, and try the scotch in the manner in which it is meant to be enjoyed.
We take up refuge at a table in the grass, under a canopy of fake palm leaves, and delve into our smoke, first charring, then slow-burning the ends to release the true character of the Zino cigars. Our glasses sit on a glass table, awaiting our return.
Taste buds still in the billowing grip of the wonderous Zino cigars in our hands, we sip again, and are shocked at how much our opinion has changed of this scotch!
The viscous, syrupy nature of The Dalmore Cigar Malt Single Highland Malt Scotch Whisky, undoubtedly imbued by the oily sherry casks in which it ages, gives the scotch enough sweetness and backbone to stand up against the bold Dominican and Peruvian tobacco comprising the filler of the Zinos. The earlier phenolic sting is lost on the greater bite of the tobacco, leaving only the flavors of scotch behind. There is an absolute reemergence of the honey on the tongue and a silky sweetness that embraces the acrid smoke and dances a beauteous dance. The residual flavors of this scotch are buttery rich and honey sweet and beg repetition. The Dalmore Cigar Malt Single Highland Malt Scotch Whisky finishes with a silky, smoky finish that closes cleanly and with a pleasantly warming and lingering flavor.
It's one thing to live the good life, and another to realize the life you are living is good.
I'm glad I know the difference.
Uncle Jerry is back in the Netherlands as I type this review, but I know we've shared another moment in time that ties us closer, undaunted by ocean miles.
Tot volgende tijd, Oom Jerry!
Thanks for spending some time with your Mother!
And please drink responsibly! The world is better with you in it!