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Dalmore Cigar Malt Reserve

Words: Ndumiso Mngadi

The legend of The Dalmore dates back to 1263, when Colin of Kintail, Chief of the clan Mackenzie, saved King Alexander III of Scotland from a charging stag.

As a reward the grateful King, granted Colin of Kintail the lands of Eilean Donan, the motto ‘Luceo Non Uro’, which translates to ‘I Shine, Not Burn’ and the right to use the 12-pointed Royal Stag as the Mackenzie clan crest. The distillery itself was established many years later in 1839 by entrepreneur Alexander Matheson, who after 28 years decided it was time to pass the distillery on to new owners. Andrew and Charles Mackenzie came forward, and as members of the clan Mackenzie they brought with them the iconic 12-pointed Royal Stag emblem, the caberfeidh which has adorned every bottle of The Dalmore.

The Dalmore Distillery Single Malt Scotch Whisky is produced from plump, golden barley sourced from the rich, coastal soils of the Black Isle. Once the barley has been harvested, it is milled and mashed before being fermented with water drawn from the Cromarty Firth. Prior to reaching the firth, however, the water travels from Loch Morie through a number of peat bogs and limestone quarries, and this contributes to a slightly mineral and chewy mouthfeel to the whisky.

Once the barley has been fermented, the wash is distilled twice, first through The Dalmore Distillery’s copper-pot wash stills and then again through its copper-pot spirit stills.

The wash stills have an unusually flat-top, while the spirit stills are equipped with cold water jackets. This unusual equipment — the water jackets rinse cold water near the top of the still — makes it difficult for the lighter elements of the whisky to pass through the still, and ultimately results in a more opulent and richer whisky.

Following distillation, The Dalmore Cigar Malt Reserve Scotch Whisky is fractionated and matured in three different types of casks.

While a portion of the whisky is allowed to mature in used bourbon casks, another portion is matured in Thirty Year-old Matusalem Oloroso Sherry butts, and the remainder is matured in casks that were previously used to mature Cabernet Sauvignon from the Saint-Estèphe appellation of Bordeaux.

After the whisky has matured in the various casks for 10 to 15 years, Richard Paterson — The Dalmore Distillery’s third generation master-distiller — blends the whiskies together to create The Dalmore Distillery Cigar Malt Reserve (Richard Paterson is The Master Distiller at The Dalmore whose career has spanned 50 years. On a lighter note his nose was recently insured for £7 million).

Tasting Notes

Nose: Caramel, shortbread, biscuits, coffee & chocolates. Simple, clean & moreish.

Palate: Yet more toffee, caramel edging towards the burnt cinder-toffee side of things. Flamed orange-zest, & perfectly integrated sherry.

Finish: Reasonably simple, Christingles (orange Zest & clove with a touch of cinnamon), more mid-palate than palate-coating.

Overall: Definitely meets the criteria of pairing with a ‘BIG’ cigar.

So as we celebrate the month of love and the joy of love which better way to do it than celebrating with a Dram of The Dalmore Cigar Malt in one hand and a beautiful Cuban Cigar in the other to compliment the aromatics of the whisky.

This February stand apart from the rest, do things differently and enjoy a Dalmore Cigar Malt.

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