Posts from the ‘Glenmorangie’ Category

Phil’s Favorite Highland Single Malt Scotches

The Scottish Highlands is the biggest geographical region of Scotland in terms of whisky-making, but it is a diverse area with lots of land between distilleries.  Some Highland distilleries resemble Speyside whiskies, while some resemble Islay whiskies, while others create something wholly new altogether.  But, you already knew all that.  Before more dallying occurs, here are the nominees for Phil’s favorite Highland Single Malt Scotch.

Name: Glenmorangie Astar

Age: No Age Statement

Proof: 114.2 (57.1% abv)

Price: $70-80/750ml

Notes: The Astar was a limited release from Glenmorangie aged in ex-bourbon casks and bottled at cask strength.  It is a relatively young whisky; there is no age statement listed, however Glenmorangie has stated that most of the whisky used for Astar is between nine and ten years old.  This is a rich, creamy whisky with white wine flavors, vanilla sweetness, and rich orchard fruits.  Astar proved definitively that age is just a number and excellent whisky can occur at any age.  This was a limited edition bottling, but I have heard rumors that bottles can still be bought.  The problem is that the price is not the affordable sub-$100 mark that it was 5 years ago when this whisky was first released.

Name: Glenmorangie Ealanta

Age: 19 Years

Proof: 92 (46% abv)

Price: $125-150/750ml

Notes: Glenmorangie has created a plethora of wonderful whiskies in their Private Edition series, and I could have chosen a number of them, but this one is my favorite to date.  This wonderful whisky was the fourth annual release of the Private Edition series, and what makes it unique is that it is aged entirely in virgin oak casks.  The wood was toasted and seasoned for 2 years, but the first spirit to ever come in contact with it was Glenmorangie.  The result was a mixture of rich and creamy fruits and vanilla flavors, rolled together with fresh oak and floral notes.  The flavors were flavors I recognized, but arranged in an entirely different manner.  Truly a special whisky experience.  Unfortunately, this whisky was released four years ago, so finding a bottle of it floating around now may prove both difficult and costly.

Name: Glenmorangie Signet

Age: No Age Statement

Proof: 92 (46% abv)

Price: $225-250/750ml

Notes: This is another unique whisky experience from Glenmorangie.  The whisky in the bottle contains several components, but the two primary components are 30 year-old whiskies from Glenmorangie’s warehouses and younger whiskies distilled from a proportion of “chocolate” barley, most likely roasted in a similar fashion to roasted barley used to make dark beers, such as stouts and porters.  It’s something of a mysterious process, but the result is magnificent.  Flavors of rich mocha and dark fruits ooze seductively from this whisky.  The whisky is sweet and bitter and delicious all the way through.  This whisky is still part of Glenmorangie’s Prestige Range, and is commonly available provided you are willing to shell out the price tag for this gem.

Name: Oban 18 Year-Old

Age: 18 Years

Proof: 86 (43% abv)

Price: $100-125/750ml

Notes: This malt comes from the west coast of Scotland, right on the water.  There is a big honeyed note that rolls through the whole Oban experience in this whisky, but it is supplemented by a damp, earthy peat smoke.  Water brings a little more brine and salt into the whisky to work with the sweet and smoky flavors.  This is a smooth, seductive, complex whisky.  Oban 18 is a continually released whisky, but only on a limited basis.  It is certainly available if you know where to look and whose palms to grease.

Name: Old Pulteney 21 Year-Old

Age: 21 Years

Proof: 92 (46% abv)

Price: $125-150/750ml

Notes: Old Pulteney is located on the Northeast coast of Scotland, and the whisky from the distillery drinks like its location.  You can taste the salt of the sea right from the start of this whisky.  However, it is supplemented by rich orchard fruits, cinnamon sticks, and fresh cut heather.  This is an older whisky that still drinks like it’s got some youth and vibrancy to it, which makes it a pleasurable pour.  It is by no means drowned in its age, rather enhanced very much by it.  This is a continual release from Old Pulteney, but it is still a rare find, so your best bet is to get in good with your local liquor store manager because for a 21 year-old whisky, there are not too many better deals than this one.

Some Thoughts on Glenmorangie’s Finished Whiskies

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!

Glenmorangie Original Scotch Review

Glenmorangie OriginalWell, I have to admit that I’ve never been a huge fan of Glenmorangie.  A few years back, I had the Glenmorangie Original in a bar, and didn’t care for it.  Of course, that was casually in a bar, and I suspect that it wasn’t my first drink of the evening.  The point being that it was hardly the ideal conditions for tasting a whisky.  So, when my roommate offered a sampler pack of 200 ml bottles of Glenmorangie whiskies to me as a graduation present, I was ecstatic to give Glenmorangie another look.

Glenmorangie is a Highland Scotch distillery perched on the northern part of the East coast of Scotland on the Moray Firth.  Glenmorangie has always been known as an innovated whisky company, a tradition which continues with their staple lineup of 12 year-old finished whiskies.  Nevertheless, the signature whisky of the Glenmorangie line remains the 10 year-old Original, aged in American oak and bottled at 86 proof (43% abv).

On the nose, the Original is heavy with barley notes, sweet heather, honeyed sweetness, a note of sweet potpourri, and a wee bit of smoke.  The palate is well-balanced, with a great combination of pears, honey, and the strong backbone of barley.  The finish is medium length, and rather oily as it works its way down the throat.  There is a hint of smoke that weaves in and out of a flavor profile of sweet pears, apples, and a bit of floral airiness.

Overall, this is a fine single malt and one quite worthy of trying.  It is a great way to get interested in single malt Scotch, especially because of the great price and the soft, accessible character of the whisky.  My grade: B-/B.  Price:  $40-45/750ml.  This is a whisky emblematic of the mission of Bargain Bourbon, in that it provides a wonderful whisky experience at a great price.