Cigar Review: Dram Cask No. 4

Cigar Review: Dram Cask No. 4

Orleans Group
Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: USA (Connecticut Broadfleaf)
Binder: Ecuador (Sumatra)
Filler: Nicaragua
Size: 6” x 54
Strength: medium to medium-full
Price: $10.50

Overall Rating: 8.3

A good beverage pairing can make or break a cigar. Sometimes a great cigar can be ruined by uncomplimentary notes in a dram, while an average cigar can be made great by the interplay of flavors between it and a wonderful single malt. The Orleans Group has created the Dram line of cigars to make the process of pairing a cigar with whisky a much less daunting task. With the suggested whiskey type right on the cigar’s band, it reduces the trial and error normally associated with the pairing process. So, I was quite excited to try the Dram Cask No. 4, both with and without the suggested woodsy/smoky whisky it suggests pairing with it.


Pre-Light: What stands out most about the Dram cigar line is the band, which is reminiscent of the label on a bottle of Balvenie or Macallan. However, I am disappointed that the makers of this cigar decided to use the offensive “e” in the spelling of the word whisky, especially since the theme evokes a Scottish feel to it. (See my side note below for more thoughts on this.) The white and blue band stands out wonderfully against the dark chocolate colored wrapper of the cigar. Some prominent veins and darker spots occur on the oily Broadleaf wrapper. There’s a classiness about the look of the Dram that is quite appealing. The Dram No. 4 is very firm to the touch with a nice oily sheen to Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper.


Leather and earth aromas are noticeable from the broadleaf wrapper of the Dram Cask No. 4. Notes of chocolate, earth and oak can be detected from the unlit foot of the cigar. A firm cold draw allows through wood, chocolate, oak and nut flavors.


Burn:  Of the three cigars that I smoked for this review, the draw is was on the firm side on two of them. The burn on the Dram Cask No. 4 is even throughout. The grey ash clings well to the foot of the cigar.


Flavor: The Dram Cask No. 4 begins with flavors of earth, oak and nuts. There’s a some very mild pepper that begins to enter after the first quarter inch of the cigar. The flavors are all very pleasing, but very mild. During the transition to the second third there’s more of a grassiness that comes to the forefront. Oak, mild cedar, leather, nuts and earth all mingle together with nothing really coming to the forefront. On the retrohale there’s a mixture of pepper and wood. The final third has a very small amount of spice that joins leather, smoked wood, nuts and earth. There’s a lack of overall complexity to the Dram Cask No. 4, but when paired to with a smokey or peaty single malt the cigar really comes alive.


Overall: Normally, I would simply say this is a good cigar that’s worth trying or picking up a five pack of, but there’s a to more to it than that. The Dram cigar line was meant to pair with whisky, and when that is done the cigar becomes a whole different beast. Much like the Chinnock Cellar Terroir, which when paired with red wine goes from very good to exceptional, the Dram No. 4 goes from good to great in much the same way. While my overall rating is based on the cigar itself, the rating increases substantially when paired with different whiskys. On its own the cigar is a pretty good medium to medium full bodied Connecticut Broadleaf cigar. Personally, I have gone through a good deal of the Dram No. 4. I’ve tried pairing it with all kind of whisky, and find it a great compliment to the kinds of single malts I’m personally drawn to. The fan of Islay single malts will definitely want to seek out this cigar, but when smoked on it’s own it may be slightly lacking.


Pairing: The cigar is meant to be paired with peaty or smokey whisky. I suggest sticking with this suggestion. Island malts (especially those from Islay) pair very well with the Dram Cask No. 4. Different single malts bring out different flavors in the cigar and vise versa. Being Scottish, and so obviously a single malt drinker, I decided to try this cigar with a wide variety of single malts. While I stayed mostly with what the band recommended, I did occasionally try something slightly different. With various whiskys the overall rating of the cigar goes up significantly. Here’s the single malt scotches I paired with the Dram No. 4, and the effect on the rating: Lagavulin 16 (9.0), Tobermory 10 (8.7), Ledaig 10 (8.8), Ardbeg 10 (8.9), Oban 14 (8.4), Isle of Arran 14 (8.5), Bunnahanhain Toiteach (8.8) and Talisker Storm (8.8). I also tried the Connemara Peated Single Malt Irish Whiskey (8.7).



On a side note: Throughout this review, I’ve used the spelling “whisky” rather than “whiskey” (except when mentioning the Irish single malt). The reason for this is that “whisky” is the proper Scottish spelling of the word, and you will find this spelling on all Scottish/Welsh/Japanese bottles. On Irish and American bottles, the word will appear “whiskey”. There’s a great article that New York Time writer Eric Asimov called “Whiskey versus Whisky” that explains the fallout when one chooses the wrong spelling. Like most single malt fans, or Scotsmen for that matter, I take my spelling of the word “whisky” very seriously. Whenever you read about whisky on this site it will always be spelled properly (unless spellcheck messed up somewhere). Sláinte!


Reviewed by Jonathan David (@JonDavid1210)

Tobermory photo taken exclusively for Toasted Foot by Sinners and Saints Studio in West Palm Beach, Florida.