A whisky that seems to split the whisky community in two: another love or hate dram. The 2012 re-release of the popular Cigar Malt, now called Cigar Malt Reserve got quite a lot of flak from the fans the old whisky.
Not sure what the history here is, why did Dalmore withdraw this whisky at the dawn of the NAS Single Malt? Was it simply because of the name and pressure from the anti-tobacco lobby? Anyhow popular outrage among the Dalmore crowd brought this whisky back from the death, but changed the recipe.
Maybe us whisky reviewers are just a bit too grumpy and unwilling to accept change. Or maybe there is some valid criticism here: the general consensus is that this whisky is maybe a tad too fabricated and the overabundance of caramel colouring is affecting the palate.
Nose: Sherry obviously, some citrussy notes: sugared lemon, notes of cherry snaps, chocolate and warm notes from the wood. Some slightly chemical undertones (some would call it artificial).
Mouth: Clean and smooth, overall superior notes of sherry, some subdued woody tones, hints of toffee and white chocolate.
Finish: surprisingly ever so slightly bitter and drying, but also zesty with a spicy edge in the tail.
Conclusion: Intensely smooth, a sherry monster without any rough edges, an easy sipper perfect in its simplicity,… blablabla. Its only sin might be that it is just a bit too boring. My educated guess is that the distillers were aiming for the perfectly balanced whisky, but by trying to do it all right, it turned into a whisky, that is simply a bit bland: no secret layers, no original flavours.
But still the better dram when compared to the 12yo entry level whisky, thumbs up.
@Pandemonium, It sounds inviting. A good friend gave me a 100 ml sample. I can't wait to try it, it smells fantastic.
Richard Paterson is the master blender for Dalmore. He has a knack for making well engineered whiskey. Paterson is trying to make a malt whiskey that goes well with a cigar. I'm not a cigar smoker so I won't be trying them together.