The Dalmore Cigar Malt Reserve noses with strawberry tops, cherry sherry, candied root vegetables, and a Spruce Goose model made of marzipan, spruce,* and geese. If cherries could be composed of cigar leaves, cured tobacco, and four-leaf clovers, then those would be the low-hanging cherries we plucked in the Malt Cave. A grassy note, like oolong tea eaten, then biologically metamorphosed, by a remarkably amiable koala bear. There’s a metallic sherry funk that sophisticates itself, like a heartlands kid who moved to the city with his saxophone and managed to avoid being corrupted. His apogee was being part of a jazz trio playing Hot Cross Buns by a pinecone-bestrewed hearth in central Tuscany, while the scent of old linen bedsheets drying on the line outside, that were flapping, flapping, slowly in the wind, blew in the open windows.
The mouth is full and rich, lovely and attenuated, like an eggy custard pie with a smoked graham cracker crust. The feel is thin and tannic, like the cocoa served après-ski in the peak chalet of my dreams. We also got peppadew exported from Limpopo to the Pompidou Centre in Paris, where it was mixed with coffee syrup into a nouveau-riche flavoring for a salad crouton/meringue. (You guys got that too, right?)
It finishes long and wondrous, like a puzzlebox movie, each passing minute adding revelatory feedback to theories and impressions that are being modified on the fly. Tongue tinglings tartly tauten taste buds. Coffee basaltic pahoehoe oozing from a jittery volcano, fluxing and refluxing up and down my Jugulum.
On the scale of things that are better the second time around–
The Dalmore Cigar Malt Reserve is the 1997 multiple Oscar™ winning movie L.A. Confidential–Star-making turns for Russell Crowe and Guy Pearce; star-confirming turns for Kim Basinger, Kevin Spacey, Danny DeVito, and James Cromwell. The first time you see it is like traveling to a land of moral depravity which holds a promise of a ticket of redemption or death to emigrate. The second time is akin floating above the world like Nietzsche’s Übermensch, watching mortals act out a complicated puppet play—and you hold all the strings.