So sayeth the sages: this Dalmore Gran Reserva was a replacement for the Cigar Malt. If rumours are to be believed (and surprisingly, in the whisky industry, they often are) then the reasons for this replacement were due to a more politically aware viewpoint, forced or otherwise, suggesting that it was inappropriate to market the malt with ‘cigar’ on the label. Really? C’mon. Alcohol and smokes have always been tighter than Tom Cruise and crazy.
Further refutation may lie, I would argue, in the fact that the Dalmore website still offers up a Cigar Malt Reserve. A higher end version, yes, but obviously the naming convention is still in tact. Hmmmm. Can’t always trust the scuttlebutt, I suppose.
Moving on, and keeping our ears to the ground ’round the watercooler…further gossip suggests that this malt is simply a repackaging of the now obsolete standard Cigar Malt expression. I welcome correction here from anyone ‘in the know’, but I can unequivocably state that I have put these drams head-to-head several times now and there is no comparison. The Gran Reserva is rather balanced, spicy and pleasant, while the Cigar Malt I found pungent, malty, heavy and cloying. I should also note this release at 40% abv and the Cigar Malt at 43%.
Anyway…unless my bottle of the CM was a dud, these are most definitely entities unto themselves. And on record…this one kicks the piss outta the other.
Gran Reserva is a mix of Oloroso and Bourbon cask-matured malts, with the ration skewing more heavily towards the former. Logically you’d expect sweetness, dried fruits and spice. Check, check, check. This is all well met by a very typical Dalmore orange note. Component casks are between 10 and 15 years of age. Nice whisky. I like this one.
Nose: Doughy. Some cinnamon and creme caramel. Vanilla. Orange. Fruity Ju-jubes…and/or maybe a hint of Wine Gums. Nice spice profile. Pronounced, but not loud. More like ‘well-articulated’ spices.
Palate: Orange again. Very pleasant warm spices. Chocolate (both milk and white varieties). Wow…is this ever soft and pillowy. An easy sipper.
This is a ‘library malt’ to me. Armchair, Hemingway, Dalmore.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt