Whisky Advocate

Review: The Dalmore Cigar Malt Reserve

August 15th, 2011

The Dalmore Cigar Malt Reserve, 44%, $125

Back due to popular demand in the U.S., this new incarnation of the Cigar Malt sees the percentage of ex-oloroso ‘Matusalem’ sherry wood ramped up from 60 to 70 percent. Pass the Partagas! Spicy Christmas cake with rich sherry notes on the nose. Fragrant, with figs, cinnamon, ripe oranges, and glacé cherries. Robust sweet toffee and mango flavors, with oloroso sherry, vanilla, and lively spices. Medium to long in the finish, with ginger, treacle, and licorice. —Gavin Smith

Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 92

29 Responses to “Review: The Dalmore Cigar Malt Reserve”

  1. Peter D says:

    What could they possibly have done to justify a $75 price increase of this very average whisky? This was a mainstay of my collection for years and at roughly $40-50 it was priced just right for what it was – a pleasant sherried dram that did, indeed, go well with a cigar or after a nice meal. At $125, that’s only $9 cheaper than Macallan 18, which is by far my preferred whisky with cigars and second only to Corryvrecken for top-honours all ’round. I now prefer Glenmorangie’s LaSanta and Nectar D’or over the DCM.

    • It’s a new version. The old version was run of the mill sherry whisky for me. The ABV is up from 40% to 44%

      Dalmore has worked hard on branding their malts the last few years (premiumisation!). They have to with a “The” in from of the distillery name :-). With a range of 50+ yo’s at a price of 10000+ $£€ this is the next step

      So the price is probably a combination of a raised quality and this premiumisation.


    • Agreed. That price increase is gonna be hard to justify to former Dalmore Cigar Malt drinkers. Is there any word on the youngest/oldest whisky in it?

      • Red_Arremer says:

        The way I heard it (from Richard, a while back) was that the current Gran Reserva was the old Cigar Malt rebranded. Apparently there had been objections to the branding of the Cigar Malt coming from some quarter

        So, far from being “Back due to popular demand in the U.S.” (did the marketing people tell Gavin to say that?) this is just some completely new whiskey with a high ticket. Anyways, “popular demand” is never for whisky priced so high that most of the populous can’t justifty the buy.

        • Red, I had heard the same thing from Richard about the Gran Reserva. I actually had a customer who believed the whisky was made with tobacco somehow. But even the Gran Reserva is at a higher price point than the old Cigar Malt, falling somewhere between the 12 & 15 year.

    • B says:

      Not sure about the expected price point, but I saw this yesterday for $50.

  2. lawschooldrunk says:

    Their marketing department must think we have short memories for them to charge $125…

  3. brad says:

    what makes a whisky a “cigar malt”? is it that the whisky is intended to complement smoking a cigar? that it does in fact complement smoking a cigar? that some aspect of its production (e.g., use of sherry casks) or nose/taste/… profile, all else equal, makes it more likely to complement smoking a cigar? or perhaps something else altogether?

    • Lawrence says:

      ” makes it more likely to complement smoking a cigar?”

      That’s the general idea.

    • Peter D says:

      I think it’s because sherried whiskies flavours don’t overpower the palate and the two mate together nicely. You would probably never want a big Islay with a cigar (maybe Don “pepper” — er Pepin — Garcia) and anything in new oak or ex-bourbon barrels just doesn’t work as well IMHO. Of course there are as many tobacco blends as there are combinations of flavours is whisk(e)y, and finding the perfect pairing is something magical.

      A premium cigar like a Partagas Serie P No. 2 or Monetcristo No. 2 or No. 4, RyJ Vintage series or Padron ’64 pairs nicely with Macallan 18 (or 12), La Santa, Nectar D’or, Longrow/sherry, and several others of similar charachter, whereas Glenfarclas 21, Dalwhinnie and other highlands/Speysiders, as great as they are on their own, don’t mesh as nicely.

      To me, add one more ingredient for an evening of sublime decadent pleasure…a sherried single malt, the premium cigar of your choosing (under 47RG, please; be a gentleman after all!) and….a couple of pieces of orange-infused dark chocolate (60-65% dark). Savour these over the course of about 90 minutes. Once the cigar is finished top it off with a dram of your favourite strong Islay and the evening is complete, save for one thing (and that all depends on whether or not the other person involved can tolerate cigar-breath). 😀

  4. Robert says:

    Wow, this is a bummer. I used to buy the DCM for about $25 a bottle where I lived. Then it disappeared. Now, it’s back…and only 300-400% more expensive! That means we’re paying about $19-20 more per % for that additional 4% ABV. They are competing with some very good whiskies at this price point. I’ll think I’ll pass on this one.

    Dalmore should have looked more closely at the cigar market for inspiration. Due to the recession and general economic malaise, cigar manufacturers seem to have come out with a number of very good cigars at very reasonable prices over the last few years. There is certainly room in the whisky market for someone to do the same.

  5. David Bailey Jr. says:

    Doubt this will sell as well, despite the changes made. Way too steep of a price. Try again 🙂

    • Lawrence says:

      With the new price they don’t have to sell as much to make the same money at the lower price point. Having said that it does seem like a dramactic price jump; time with tell if it was the right move.

  6. David Bailey Jr. says:

    Those searching for another whisky/cigar dream pairing should try this. Cu-Avana Punisher complimented by Glemorangie Nectar D’or. Punisher is one of the more intense cigars on the market, so it isn’t for someone looking on the milder side. Pairs fantastically with Nectar D’or giving off loads of spice, and complexity.

  7. Ed Burton says:

    The ‘old’ DCM was a staple at ~$39. It never overwhelmed my milder cigars, yet could compete with the full body-full strength sticks.

    I’m going to miss it.

  8. Morgan Steele says:

    I find the return of the Dalmore’s Cigar Malt (“CM”) a very interesting development. I enjoyed CM years ago as it was my regular “go to” whisky. Back then, it was very reasonably priced and the first single malt that I drank with regularity. Candidly, in hindsight, it was underpriced at $30.

    I spoke with a Dalmore rep at an event recently and CM came up. It sounds to me that this expression will have less in common than the original CM then we might think. (The rep also told me that the company originally dropped the CM moniker, in part, because people thought that the whisky was steeped in tobacco leaves. God bless the marketing department!)

    I have no objection to the Dalmore going for “elite” staus at $125 assuming that the scotch is worth it. WIth a 92 rating, it soulds like they made it. But, I agree that the Dalmore’s going to have to work hard at convincing new drinkers, and old drinkers, of CM to jump on board. (Hopefully, they’ll explain that there aren’t cigars in the barrels this time.)

    • mongo says:

      i see. so they had an earlier malt they called the “cigar malt” that people allegedly were leery of because they thought it was steeped in cigar leaves, so they decided to release another malt at five times the price with the same name (with nothing else done to clear up this alleged misapprehension).

      this makes perfect sense….

    • Morgan Steele says:

      Also, if I recall correctly, there was a name change from CM to Grand Reserva at one point.

  9. D.Houston says:

    I bought a bottle of CM nearly 10 years ago and haven’t seen it since in my neck of the woods. These posts lead me to believe it’s been around for years in other markets. I have about 2 ounces left and can’t bring myself to finish them. If the new CM is anything like the one I have, I will gladly pay $125 and up and then I can enjoy the end of one of the best bottles of Scotch I have ever had!

    • Red_Arremer says:

      Money is no object huh, Houston?

    • PeteR says:

      Houston, it is extremely unlikely any whisky will be anything like the 2oz of 10 year old (after you opened the bottle) CM you have left. Unless you have been purging the headspace with N2 it is nowhere near what it once was either. Pour it tonight, finish that bottle and replace it with something else you can enjoy for years to come.

  10. D.Houston says:

    Money is an object, i have never spent more than $150 on a bottle of Scotch in my life and as for the quality of the remaining contents, it was still one of my favourites when i took a dram last month.

    • Red_Arremer says:

      I’m just saying Houston– Check out what Peter said. This is just a branding thing. Dalmore puts out a lot of heavily sherried whiskies. They decided to call this one the new Cigar Malt *only* because they thought that would interest you as someone who liked the old Cigar Malt– But if there was anything special about the old Cigar Malt it was that it was a fairly priced heavily sherried Dalmore– and this is not fairly priced.

      Before you buy this overpriced, over-hyped, new product, why not check out some of the old Cig Malts real siblings in the “fairly priced heavily sherried” category? Maybe start with Aberlour 12, c/s, or 16 and move on from there.

      • Red_Arremer says:

        Or Houston, as mongo notes– Buy the Gran Reserva, which is actually the cig malt at a lower proof with an allegedly slightly improved vatting or barreling or something– and it’s more expensive, but more like 60$…

  11. Chris P says:

    I tried this last week at a Dalmore tasting and I have to say, I wasn’t terribly impressed with it, ESPECIALLY considering the price point. Stacked up against the 15 and 18 yo, you could definitely spend your money better elsewhere.

  12. Coming to Canada too! We’re expecting some shortly before Christmas…

  13. D.Houston says:

    Unfortunatley the Gran Reserva in our fine Country is $82 but i will try a bottle . I have almost every sherried whiskey i can get my hands on in this area including all the Aberlours, and Glendronachs and except for an early 15 year old Glendronach years ago, the dalmore CM was my favourite. Great to hear it might be coming to Canada, hopefully it will be at my local Whiskey Festival this year!

  14. Tadas says:

    Is this some sort of a joke? Dalmore Cigar Malt used to be priced $28 couple years ago and now it is $125 WOW :O:O And it is a young whisky.

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