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Sipping Smoke

Richard Carleton Hacker

Cigars and single malts are a classic combination, and in 1998, Dalmore paid tribute to this perfect pairing by introducing the world’s first cigar single-malt Scotch. Unfortunately, it was taken off the market in 2009. Now, bowing to public pressure and championed by none other than Dalmore’s master distiller, Richard Paterson (an avid cigar smoker himself), this acclaimed Highland single malt has been brought back, with a new name and a more sophisticated taste geared toward today’s penchant for medium-bodied cigars.

Dalmore Cigar Malt Reserve ($125) is handsomely packaged in the distillery’s recently revamped bottle featuring a silver-headed stag, an indication that this is an updated version of an old favorite. The previous vatting of 60 percent Matusalem oloroso sherry-aged whiskies was increased to 70 percent by Paterson to provide more richness, and combining it with 20 percent ex-bourbon barrel-aged whiskies lent a floral smoothness to this single malt, which has been further refined by aging the remaining 10 percent of the whisky in barrels formerly used for Cabernet Sauvignon. The result is a harmonious blend of plump red fruit, cedar, citrus, and marmalade, a palate-pleasing combination perfectly matched to a Montecristo 75th Aniversario from the Dominican Republic, or any Nicaraguan puro from Padrón. (www.thedalmore.com)

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