I recently reviewed Glenmorangie Original, a wonderful whisky, and a great value. Although the 10 yr. Original is the most well-known of the Glenmorangie range, Glenmorangie also crafts a series of finished whiskies, which are offered in the standard range as well. As I discussed in my review of Angel’s Envy, the process of finishing a whisky simply means that the spirit’s final aging process occurs in a different type of wood than its primary aging. In the case of Glenmorangie’s range, they produce three standard 12 yr. editions of finished whiskies, all of which are aged 10 years in American Oak casks, and finished in their respective casks. Without further ado, let’s get into the whisky.
The three Glenmorangie whiskies I am discussing today are The LaSanta (sherry-finished), The Nectar D’or (Sauternes-finished), and The Quinta Ruban (port-finished). All three whiskies are bottled at 92 proof, and are usually available between $55 and $70 (The Nectar D’or is typically a few dollars more in my experience). All three whiskies start with a lot of the Glenmorangie profile, especially orchard fruits and sweet malted barley. However, each different finishing cask brings its own influence to the spirit.
The LaSanta (finished in ex-sherry casks) brings some darker, sweet flavors to the Glenmorangie spirit. There are more nutty notes, and there is definitely a lot of sherry present, especially on the nose. The Nectar D’or (finished in ex-Sauternes casks) brings the wine influence in very well. It brings out the sweetness of the spirit, and also rounds out the whisky with some oak spices. The Quinta Ruban (finished in ex-port casks) incorporates many of the flavors of a young port, with a lot of red grape sweetness, and a drier mouth feel.
Overall, my personal opinion in sampling the three whiskies over the span of a few tastings was that The Nectar D’or was the best of the three. It added the most to the Original. I felt that The Quinta Ruban altered the Glenmorangie profile the most, and brought the most difference to the table. I was the least impressed with The LaSanta, but it is still a very quality whisky. All that said, none of the three finished whiskies that I tried made me salivate enough to warrant the $15 price jump over the Glenmorangie Original. The standard 10 yr. bottling is still the best value in the range in my opinion. Just because a whisky is finished, is two years older, and is more expensive does not mean it is the better spirit. Let your taste buds decide. Of course, if you want to get experimental and see what finishing whiskies does to the spirit, I highly recommend picking up a Glenmorangie sampler pack, and giving it your full attention. In the meantime, let it ride!