In preparation for the recent Universal Whisky Experience at Encore, I got an audience with Richard Paterson, master blender for The Dalmore, makers of exceptional single-malt scotch whisky since 1839. The entire portfolio is impressive and memorable, but one in particular struck me as the ideal scotch for culinarians. The Dalmore Cigar Malt Reserve ($130, Khoury’s Fine Wine & Spirits; TheDalmore.com) was previewed last March at Cigar Aficionado’s Big Smoke and now (finally!) is available in Las Vegas. “Once tasted, never forgotten,” says Paterson of the blend of 10-15-year-old scotch that is finished 70 percent in Matusalem oloroso sherry casks, 20 percent in American white oak bourbon casks, and 10 percent in premier cru cabernet sauvignon casks. The triple finish takes something already luxurious “and puts a mink coat on it,” Paterson jokes. Something of a cult spirit, it’s highly sought-after by cigar lovers for the ease with which (thanks to all that delicious cask-finishing) it pairs with an array of smokes. However, Paterson says, foodies should try it with crème brûlée “and hot, hot coffee,” or a 72 percent cocoa chocolate bar. Let it melt in your mouth, he suggests, then take a sip of the Cigar Malt Reserve. “It’s the fusion of flavors” that makes this such an exceptional culinary pairing, an art at which Dalmore thinks women in particular excel. I, for one, am inclined to agree.
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