Pairing Cigars & Alcohol – Stalla Dhu Cask Strength Linkwood 13 Year Old Reserve

Pairing Cigars & Alcohol – Stalla Dhu Cask Strength Linkwood 13 Year Old Reserve
Date: October 2023
Author: Inspector X

Cigars and alcohol. Two luxury products that go hand in hand, and sometimes even meet on business level. Aging tobacco in whisky, rum, or cognac barrels is a practice several brands do to achieve extra flavour to the wrapper for certain lines. The famous bourbon brand Maker’s Mark has their own cigar, sold in tubes with the signature wax coating. Drew Estate works with Pappy van Winkle and used to make Kahlua cigars. Mombacho used to have the Diplomatico series but Mombacho no longer exists. General Cigars works with Sazerac, which resulted in Fireball cigars, Weller by Cohiba and collaborations with Buffalo Trace. And there is the Diesel Whisky Row, a collaboration with Rabbit Hole Distilleries. Fratello Cigars also sells craft beer. Most famous are probably the Cuban collaboration between Martell Cognac and Cohiba. Dominique London, the European retailer with more than 20 shops in the UK, Belgium, Switzerland and the Canary Islands takes it one step further. They bought a distillery in Wales and produce whisky, gin, rum, vodka and liquors.

Stalla Dhu Cask Strength Linkwood 13 Year Old Reserve

Linkwood distillery is a whisky distillery in Elgin, in the Speyside region of Scotland. It is owned by the British drinks giant Diageo. The distillery was built in 1821 by Peter Brown with two stills, and started production in 1825. The distillery was operated by James Walker until Brown’s death in 1868, after which the distillery went under the control of his son, William Brown. After William Browns death, the Linkwood-Glenlivet company was created by Browns family in 1898 and brought to the stock exchange.

The Stall Dhu Cask Strength Linkwood 13 year old reserve is a limited edition, single cask cask strength release. The liquid for this release comes from a specially selected reserve cask nurtured by Mr. Morrison to create a fine, balanced, and well-structured whisky. It is bottled at 57.3% ABV it the whisky was aged in a hogshead cask with number 209/310734. The spirit was distilled in 2009 and bottled in 2022.

Neat

In a Glencairn glass, this spirit has an aroma of toffee, caramel with plenty of almond and a bit of apples. Sweet and appealing, you might expect lots of ethanol from a cask strength whisky, but on the nose there is none. Warm, sweet and minty are the first senses, followed by sweet nougat, wood and tobacco. You can taste this is a strong whisky but it does not burn. It does need a powerful cigar to stand up to the strength though, Alma Fuerte by Plasencia for example, Casa Magna, or a Partagas.

In a rocks glass, there is some ethanol on the nose, but not much. The same aromas as in a Glencairn glass, just milder due to the shape of the glass. The caramel sweetness is a bit stronger, but the whisky feels warmer. This is a perfect spirit for a cold winter day. Getting home from shovelling snow for the elderly neighbours, and then reward yourself with a glass of Stalla Dhu Linkwood 13 year old reserve and a nice, strong cigar. Asylum 13, Tatuaje Cojonu, strong and thick will go well with this spirit.

Old Fashioned

Sweet orange on the nose, as expected. The caramel and toffee of the whisky shine through. The sweetness of the sugar add to the flavour profile while the Angostura bitters add depth and even more character to the drink. The caramelized almonds, nougat and apple are still noticeable, but sweeter with a bit more edge. This cocktail needs a strong flavourful cigar to pair with. A Sin Compromiso by Dunbarton, Liga Privada, Bolivar if you want a Cuban, Cain F, cigars like that.

And now for the Old-Fashioned recipe:
1 sugar cube
3 dashes of bitters
2 oz or 60 ml of whisky
orange peel
Put the sugar cube in a highball glass, add the dashes of bitters and a splash of water. Muddle the sugar cube. Add ice and the whisky. Stir for 10 seconds, then add an orange peel.

Morning Glory Fizz

I don’t know anything about the history of this cocktail, but I recently got my hands on some absinth, and I googled a whisky and absinth cocktail. This one showed up, but without any history. The head of the cocktail should rise like a souffle, but I failed. Still I’ll drink the concoction and will give my opinion.

The red absinth I used gives the drink a bit of an orange tone. The herbal and liquorice notes of the absinth are also most dominant in the nose, with a bit of the citrus as well. The aromas of the whisky are completely overpowered. The mixture of lime and lemon are too strong, with the absinth providing a herbal component and the whisky gives the cocktail body. The soda makes everything smooth and very palatable. This is not my favourite cocktail and because of the strong citrus, I would not recommend this with a cigar. But if you do happen to drink this cocktail and you want to light a cigar, pick something heavy, full bodied, full flavoured. A bold Nicaraguan cigar would be my pick.

And now for the Morning Glory Fizz recipe:
2 ounces or 60ml of whisky
1/12 ounce of 2 ½ ml of absinth
2/3 ounce or 20ml of lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1/3 ounce or 10ml of lime juice, freshly squeezed
½ ounce or 15ml of rich simple syrup (2:1)
1 egg white
Soda water to top up
Add the ingredients, except for the soda water, in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake. Then strain into another shaker and dry shake without ice. Slowly pour 2/3th of the content in a highball glass but from a height, while simultaneously with the other hand you pour in soda water. The soda and the mixed spirit should form 1 stream when they reach the glass. Let the glass rest in a cooler, a freezer or a fridge for at least a minute before pouring in the remainder of contents of the shaker in the glass. The head should rise like a souffle.

Inspector X

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