“Would you like a piece of candy?” the young clerk behind the Kohl’s checkout counter asked the children.
The line wasn’t long, but it was long enough that a well-behaved foursome of children listening to their attending parent while waiting had surprised and drawn the attention of even this high school student. With the little cup of assorted candies in hand and extending it only after receiving an affirming parental nod, each of the children chose just one, offering a polite “thank-you” and then retreating to unwrap the prize — all but one, that is.
“Would you like to choose a piece of candy, too?” the young girl asked six year old Harrison directly.
“No thanks,” he said, “I don’t like candy.”
“Well, what do you like?” the clerk pursued.
“I like to draw Scotch bottles.”
“Umm. Oh. Okay.”
“Have a nice day,” the blushing parent smiled and whisked the well-behaved Scotch whisky artist away.
This all started over the Easter break. I had a bottle of The Dalmore Cigar Malt Reserve edition sitting on my cabinet. This particular whisky is unlike many others in that is isn’t amber in color (although I have seen a few reviews saying that it is — I question the integrity of those reviews), but rather it is a deep ruby-red concoction within a crystal clear bottle adorned by a silvery medallion of The Dalmore stag. The color is a result of the whisky’s maturation in Sherry and Sauvignon casks. The iconic emblem is reminiscent of the legendary stag deer that is noted to have nearly killed King Alexander III while he was hunting in the highlands. The king’s life was saved when the stag was speared by Colin Fitzgerald (the chieftain of the Clan Mackenzie — the namesake clan of the man who would eventually purchase The Dalmore distillery) before it could strike.
Harrison was sitting at his little craft table in the kitchen drawing pictures when the bottle caught his eye. He came to me and asked if I would set it on his table so that he could draw a picture of it. As I was carrying it over, I commented to him that many of the different whisky bottle and label designs throughout the world were often the result of an artist’s work and that perhaps he would one day be such an artist. He agreed and got to work. When he was done, I gave him high praise for his colorfully swimming image of abstraction. It looked nothing like the bottle, and yet, it is nothing less than what I would expect from this highly creative and imaginative boy. Well done, young sir. It looks just like…um…just like…well…a bottle of The Dalmore Cigar Malt Reserve. (I have included the portrait for your enjoyment.)
I think that when Harry was drawing this bottle, whether he realized it or not, he was attempting to visualize its sensational aroma. The nose is an incredible bouquet of sweet sherry and chocolate, with perhaps an additional undetermined spice.
The palate is as sweet as the nose, offering subtle hints of nuttiness and a revelation as to the particular spice — cinnamon — or perhaps even more elaborate than that — cinnamon on an apple strudel.
The finish is swift, but as it unhesitatingly departs, it sprinkles tads of “sweet” to remind you of the joyful moment and anticipates that you will offer a return invitation.
I suppose that I can understand why this would be a great whisky with which to enjoy a cigar. I have a humidor. It is currently empty because I’ve grown less fond of the palate involved as well as the hefty price I pay with regard to spousal intimacy. Nevertheless, The Dalmore Cigar Malt Reserve seems as though it would well-compliment a spicy Don Tomas. Perhaps I’ll give it a try.
And although Harry continues to go through my cabinet choosing bottles for his sketch pad, I have no intention of letting him draw a picture of a cigar. Who would do something so ridiculous?