Old Elk Cigar Cut Island Blend Whiskey Review

You'll find Cigar Cut Island so easy to sip that its 111 proof will have you in its grasp before you know it, so watch your portions!

Old Elk Cigar Cut Island Blend Whiskey Review


  • DISTILLER: Blended and bottled by Old Elk Distillery.
  • MASH BILL: A three-whiskey blend consisting of:
    • Old Elk High Malt Straight Bourbon finished in sherry casks (2 years) and port casks (6-10 months)
    • Old Elk Straight Rye finished in rum casks (8 months)
    • Old Elk Straight Wheat Whiskey finished in Sauternes casks (6 months)
  • AGE: Primary age minimum of 6 years / Secondary age up to 2 years
  • YEAR: 2023
  • PROOF: 111.7 (55.85% ABV)
  • MSRP: $129.99


SHARE WITH: Any whiskey fan, especially those who want to taste an expertly blended dram.

WORTH THE PRICE: Mmm, it's a little pricey, but it's arguably flawless and deftly blended.

BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: If you're up for a little splurge, I can't imagine someone ever regretting it. I've seen some reviews say, "I love it, but not for the price," and I understand, but you bought it, so, too late. Just love it!

OVERALL: I'm rarely fond of press releases that drone on about brand tradition and inspiration, but I love ones that talk about rising stars whose talent you can taste. We're told high up in the release that this "second annual release of Old Elk Cigar Cut, (was) crafted entirely by Old Elk’s production manager, Melinda Maddox." OK! Let's read why this is pointed out. "Cigar Cut Island Blend was inspired by ..." ugh, there's the gratuitous inspiration story! Let's dive down and see where Maddox reappears. Oh, here we go:

"As production manager, Melinda Maddox manages Old Elk’s blending, bottling, and Single Barrel program. The Cigar Cut program showcases Melinda’s increasing role with liquid development. She has orchestrated every step of Cigar Cut’s journey, and this launch marks her debut into creating her own whiskey.

"Melinda is on the path to becoming Old Elk’s master blender. She has been an apprentice to Master Distiller Greg Metze for the past three years, learning his practice and innovating his formula and quality liquid."

Now we're talking! Keep your eyes out for liquids she's blending. She sure has a fine mentor in Metze. Now, let's discuss what's in the bottle.

I've written before about multi-cask blends that try too hard to achieve ... I don't know ... someone's "inspiration"? (Oh, sorry, I need to play by my own rules!) In other words, what would be a good spirit on its own gets bogged down in the right, left and U-turns of flavor guidance from too many casks. The really clunky ones taste like someone said, "Use 'em barrels if you got 'em," which can create a spirit bereft of direction, nuance and, worse, a tasting panel. But not in this case.

This one juggles three whiskeys finished in four distinctly unique barrels to become a supple and elegant whole. This is something I could sit with all night.

You'll find Cigar Cut Island so easy to sip that its 111 proof will have you in its grasp before you know it, so watch your portions! Both nose and palate are coddled in an array of aromas–baking spices, lavender, jasmine–and flavors–raisins, dates, Marcona almonds, toasted oak, grilled corn, toffee, honey–that, despite all those whiskey and wood influences, the blend is never over-assertive or confusing. I found myself wanting back off and study it from a few perspectives just to discern the nuances from every angle of spirit and cask. This is a delicate, balanced and unified blend that would impress even old school Scotch blenders.

Pairing recommendation. Sip this with an orange accented chocolate. My gosh, it's good!


Cigar Cut Island Blend is a carefully selected combination of Old Elk’s Cask Finish Series, blending Old Elk’s base whiskeys, including the High-Malt Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Straight Rye Whiskey and Straight Wheat Whiskey, before finishing them in Port, Sauternes, Sherry or Rum barrels. Cigar Cut base whiskeys are aged a minimum of six years before their second maturation, which lasts between two months and two years. The liquid leads with honey, spice and notes of pear on the nose. Stone fruit, pear, vanilla and honey grace the palate, for a layered tropical finish. Excellent paired with your favorite cigar, or standalone as your new favorite nightcap.

  • Aroma: Honey and spice, with notes of stone fruit
  • Palate: Sweet melon, dragonfruit, tangerine, honey and a rich peppery finish

Disclaimer: Bourbon & Banter received a sample of this product from the brand for review. We appreciate their willingness to allow us to review their products with no strings attached. Thank you.