Category Archives: Glenmorangie

Glenmorangie’s 2016 Special Edition “Milsean”


Region – North Highlands – ABV – 46%

I’ve got very little time today to preamble before tasting.  However, let me tell you a Knock-Knock Joke:

Joke Teller: “Knock Knock”

Joke participant: “Who’s there?”

Joke Teller: “Control Freak. Now, this is where you say ‘Control Freak who?'”

Joke participant: “…”

…and laughter fills the room!

Today I’m tasting Glenmorangie’s Milsean and, spoiler alert, it’s fantastic juice.

Glenmorangie Milsean

On the nose — Quite crisp, almost piercing on the nose, all without being hot.

Fresh off the press, and wet, copper pennies. Peach – hard but not underripe. Some nice wood effect that tricks you into thinking there’s a bit of peat in here.

Glenmorangie MilseanAfter a few minutes the nose really softens to ripe peach, banana and strawberry taffy, candied orange peels and a Mai Tai on a beach in Honolulu.

After another few minutes I detect this wonderful sour sugared candies note (think Sour Patch Kids), vanilla and a hint of shaved coconut.

In the mouth — Boat loads of chewy and citrusy candies.

Glenmorangie MilseanAlso, fresh fruits such as honey dew melon, Santa Claus melon, and nectarine. Cover these in Wagamama chili oil and you’ve got something here!

Vanilla fondant, more chili oil, cooked butter with brown sugar over vanilla ice cream. Great mouthfeel here, folks. Just great.

Finish — Nice long finish with a handfuls of of melon Hi-Chews and sweet cream.

In sum — Surely not a whisky for all occasions but one to go for when you’re looking to celebrate and indulge yourself. It’s both dangerously easy to drink and gives you a lot in your glass to dissect. I’ve always been pro-Glenmorangie and this does not change my position, it only strengthens it.

Well done, Billy Lumsden!

Many thanks to DAMB for the sample!
Special thanks to IA for the joke!

Glenmorangie Companta – Private Edition release #5 – 46% ABV


GLENMORANGIE COMPANTAIf I had a million dollars for every time Glenmorangie came out with a Special Private Edition whisky, I’d be five million dollars richer! Also, I’d use a good chunk of that cash to purchase more of these Private Edition Glenmos (though they tend to be fairly priced between $79-$99 whenever they’re released so I’d still have a good chunk of change left over for, well, more whisky!).

This bottle will run you about $99, maybe a little more depending on who you buy from.

So yes, this is the 5th release of the Glenmorangie Special Private Edition whiskies and **spoiler alert** this one is my favorite from the bunch.

A little unnamable birdie told me that this whisky is made up of:

60% of the vatting = 1999 distillate aged in ex-bourbon casks until 2008 then finished 5 years in Clos de Tart casks. Total age = 14yrs

40% of vatting = 1995 distillate aged in ex-bourbon casks until 2005 then finished in fortified Rasteau casks for 8 years. Total age = 18yrs

So, while this is an NAS (no age statement) bottling, it’s not immature whisky by any stretch of the imagination!

Furthermore, this is bottled at a respectable 46% ABV and non-chill-filtered.  Kudos to Glenmorangie for sticking to these quality requirements.

Let’s give is a taste now…

Glenmorangie CompantaOn the noseSo far it smells like my Tuesday morning: massive presence of red wine gums and hazelnut coffee grounds. (Please don’t tell my wife I sneak some wine gums for breakfast or my tea-snob friends that I indulge in the occasional flavored coffee.)

Burgundy soaked peach halves are an obvious and welcome note but I did not expect the presence of Spanish olives, pimento and all (am I sensing manchego cheese too or just getting hungry?).

Glenmorangie CompantaDeep and dark chocolate with some fresh cut roses. Was Dr. Bill Lumsden thinking of a Valentine’s Day whisky when he created this one?  Hollow out those dark chocolates and fill them with raspberry jam.

Not sure if you’re getting it yet but, boy, this is a decedent dram!  At least on the nose it is.  Time to put it in my mouth. (Hey Hatton, keep it clean!  Pfft.)

Glenmorangie Companta

On the mouth —  Mouth-filling-ly dense, rich and oily.  Wow, this is a big whisky!  The heart is pure Glenmorangie but it’s layered so elegantly with flavors of citrus and clove, sugar cooked pecans, a touch of dark caramel and a dash of toasted and spicy oak.

The scents and flavors are very well integrated.

Glenmorangie CompantaLet’s sip again (no water needed here, folks!): That raspberry jam from the nose is still here and the oil on the tongue only helps.  Add some cranberry to that raspberry mix and perhaps a little more spice.

Loads of stewed red fruits and warming potpourri.

FinishMy one complaint: the finish is a bit on the short side however the final flavor is that of red wine soaked blood oranges and, boy, that’s a nice way to end the experience.  Well I suppose you can just take another sip, right?  Right.

In sum I know there were some people that went Ga-Ga over the last special release (Ealanta) but this is, in my honest opinion, a far superior whisky.  This is a whisky that is very sure of what it is supposed to be.

The story stays true from beginning to end and the experience on the whole was a whole lot of enjoyment and fun.  If you can get a bottle, get a bottle.  You will not be disappointed.  This is perfect as an evening or morning warmer-upper.

**Special thanks to DB for the sample and to Billy Lumsden for another fine creation.  Well done, sir!

Glenmorangie’s Ealanta – a 19yo Scotch whisky matured in heavily charred Missouri oak


glenmorangie-ealanta-private-edition-american-virgin-oak-19-year-old-single-malt-scotch-whisky-highlands-scotlandjpgHighlands region – 46% ABV – $109 – $129

Most of my whisky friends know all too well that I am a Glenmorangie junky.  Some might suggest I have a bias toward their whiskies.

Replace “Halfling’s leaf” with Glenmorangie’s whiskies in the following audio clip and you’ll see what I’m getting at:

While I’ll admit that Glenmorangie whiskies are among my favorite (though I’ll bol, I would submit that I have no issue announcing when I do not like a whisky they release.

The Ealanta is the fourth is their Private Edition range as well as the oldest in the series (it’s also the priciest one on the series).

Glenmorangie has access to some of the most premium slow-growth oak trees in Missouri and they usually cut the wood, season it for two years, make up casks, send them to Jack Daniels and Heaven Hill so they could make their whiskey THEN those distilleries send the casks to Glenmorangie so they could mature their whisky.

What’s different here is that Glenmorangie sent themselves the new wood and did the full 19 year maturation of their malt whisky (after having charred the casks heavily).

Something tells me that this might be one for the folks who also enjoy good, high end bourbons.  Let’s find out..

glenmorangie-ealanta-private-edition-american-virgin-oak-19-year-old-single-malt-scotch-whisky-highlands-scotland-1On the nose –  New charred oak goodness!

Actually, what strikes me the most is that there is a zingy zestiness in here that is very rye-like.

Perhaps a little dill, rye seed and fresh cut grass.

glenmorangie-ealanta-private-edition-american-virgin-oak-19-year-old-single-malt-scotch-whisky-highlands-scotland-3That classic Glenmorangie ripe peach note is still present (you can’t beat great spirit).  Pencil erasers.

Toasted tangerine skins (sort of like a tangerine black pu’er tea I have).

glenmorangie-ealanta-private-edition-american-virgin-oak-19-year-old-single-malt-scotch-whisky-highlands-scotland-2On the mouth –  Insanely silky mouthfeel and, flavor wise is much like that tangerine black pu’er tea I noted above.

Vanilla (slight) and honey (heavy).

glenmorangie-ealanta-private-edition-american-virgin-oak-19-year-old-single-malt-scotch-whisky-highlands-scotland-4Sweetness is to this whisky as a wall of death is to a late 80’s/early 90’s mosh pit.  Powerfully sweet, verging on cloying (but not quite there, thankfully).

A touch of salt and black pepper as I chew this one a little more.  And now we have some extra dark chocolate as we reach the finish.

Finish – Drying, long and darkly sweet with a mix of tangerine and more dark chocolate.

In sum – While this has obvious characteristics of a whisky from new oak, it also has some other element in here that I just can’t explain.  The label says heavily charred oak but the color seems light — maybe there’s a mixture of lightly toasted and heavily charred oak?

Either way, it’s another Glenmo that pushes the envelope again with its focus on different types of cask maturation.  Well done.

This is a mid-summer dram for me.

Special thanks to Mr. David Blackmore for the sample!

You may also enjoy the following reviews on this whisky:

Guid Scotch Drink

Malt Impostor

Whisky For Everyone

Tasting five SMWS bottlings

Back in October, 2011, I had the pleasure of attending the Boston Single Malt and Scotch Whisky Extravaganza which is held by the Scotch Malt Whisky Society of America.

If you’re not a member of the SMWS(A) then the Extravaganza would be the only place you’d get to try their Single Cask, Cask Strength whiskies (they always 5 of their bottlings to sample from at these shows).  And while that’s all fine and dandy, not being a member means you are excluded from access to their 60 or so whiskies they release on a yearly basis (about 5 per month).

Being upfront, I am not an employee of the SMWS and do not receive any compensation to tout their goodness.  I’m just a proud, card carrying member of the society and have been wowwed enough times by the whiskies they release (and I buy) that I feel comfortable in saying that you should consider becoming a member.

Again, with being upfront, I will tell you that not all of their whiskies are winners.  I’ve have had a few bottlings, here and there, that were just not up my alley.  We all have different palates so it makes sense that I’m going to find one that the society loved and I just did not.

Last disclaimer – the whiskies being reviewed below were samples given to me by the SMWS – special thanks goes out to Gabby for the samples!

“Pass the Flapjacks” – 50.42 – 18yo – Refill ex-bourbon Hogshead – 56.9% – Bladnoch$130/bottle

On the nose –  A sweet, yet light nose.  Fresh honey crisp apples, cotton candy and cola barrels (those brown hard candies).  Unbaked sweet buns; heavy on the sweet unbaked doughy notes.  Not a super complex nose but very warming/inviting.  With water, those buns start to bake a bit but that apple sweetness goes away.  Milk chocolate fudge.

On the mouth – Very hot, alcoholic and sweet.  More apples and honey.  I think it needs water.  Celery and salt (but not celery salt – I’ve gotten this mix before from other whiskies).  Cinnamon and cinnamon red hot hearts (with that added sugar from the candy).  Water calms it down a bit and brings out more of the honeyed quality.

Finish – Medium in length, some slight drying and an apple sweetness comes through.

“Chutney on hot wood” – 71.33 – 20yo – Refill sherry butt – 57.4% – Glenburgie $140/bottle

On the nose –  I think the SMWS notes provided on the bottle (which I read afterwards) hit it on the head with the French onion soup note – beef stock, onions and sharp cheese all wrapped into one.  Cooked ginger and heavy sweet rum cakes.  Spiced & cooked nuts and dirty socks – reminds me (a bit) of the SMWS Macallan 24.111.  I think it’s the type of sherry cask (Amontillado perhaps?).

On the mouth – Very sweet and savory with combined notes of liver and onions and hoisin sauce.  This is an odd duck that shouldn’t work but does; and in a very cool way.  No water needed here.  The attack is welcome and the flavors are aggressive.  Nice drying effect toward the end.

Finish – Warming, savory and woody yet not overly so.  Long.

“Old Fashioned Tea Chests and Maple Candy” – 125.48 – 12yo – Dechar/rechar ex-bourbon hogshead – 52.1% – GlenmorangieAs of Dec 14, 2011, this is yet to be released.

On the nose –  Very very sweet.  Scents of ice wine and Halls cough drops – menthol and all.  Under ripe stone fruits.  Danish butter cookies (I love butter cookies!) and an old shalalee.  White berries (gooseberry mostly).  With time, the Glenmorangie character really comes through.  Like and intense and spicy Glenmorangie Original.

On the mouth – Woody (as expected with a dechar/rechar cask).  I’m getting notes that I’d usually associate with a sherried whisky like dried fruit and leather yet there’s also flavors I’d normally find in an ex-bourbon barrel like vanilla, pencil shavings and cinnamon.

Finish – Short finish.  Tannic and leathery.

“Alice in Wonderland whisky” – 27.90 – 10yo – Refill ex-bourbon Hogshead – 50.6% – Springbank$90/bottle

On the nose –  Smoldering beach fire with wet drift wood (think of thick salty smoke here).  Not unlike and ashtray.  Peppery as well.  Excuse me while I sneeze.  Hidden, way in the background is something sweet… Pixie stix?

On the mouth – Sweet and smokey and sooty and burnt and doused fires and burnt sugar on creme brule and motor oily with a side of brazil nuts.

Finish – Insanely long – imagine enjoying this at a construction site while a parking lot is being laid while you are eating bit-o-honeys.

“Desperate Dan whisky” – 127.9 – 9yo – Refill ex-bourbon Barrel – 56.9% – Port Charlotte$90/bottle

On the nose –  A bit of a shy nose but unmistakably peaty – not smokey, peaty.  Also, extremely medicinal and… sterile and things that should remain sterile like old folks homes and hospital beds.  Also some dried cardboard in here (perhaps more of the tails cut in the original spirit run?).  Dried pineapples.

On the mouth – Tropical fruits all around – pineapples, star fruits and ever a floral quality to it.  Spicy too.  Burnt microwave popcorn.  Did I mention that the mouthfeel was big, oily and lush?  Very nice.

Finish – Long and hot and drying.

In sum – This was a wild ride.  Five completely different whiskies from the same bottler.  While I’d not reach out for every bottle here, as one who loves to explore whisky, I could do this again and again.  In the end, was there a winner (other than me or you, should you try something like this)?  It’s got to be the 71.33 – Glenburgie.  I loved the mix of flavors, balance and complexity.

Happy dramming!!

Day 4 – Video tasting with Glenmorangie’s Global Ambassador David Blackmore – Tasting the “Private Editions”

Finally, we are at the finish.

But before we got here, yesterday we discussed Glenmorangie’s Quinta Ruban and Nectar D’or (Port and Sauternes finishes, respectively) and the day before that we lead off talks of their “Extra-Matured” range with the Glenmorangie Lasanta which is a sherry finished whisky.

We began this entire video series a few days ago with the flagship Glenmorangie – “The Original” (here is a link to that video)

So what will we discuss in the end?  The first two of Glenmorangie’s Private Editions: Sonnalta PX, which is a Pedro Ximenez sherry finished whisky and the Finealta which is a replication, they think, of what Glenmorangie’s whisky might have tasted like back in the very early 1900’s and is lightly peated.

As with the others, the below videos are more than just tasting videos.  David Blackmore does a great job teaching us about the whiskies, process and more.

David, thank you very much for doing this series with me.  I look forward to our next shoot when we cover the Ardbeg line.

And thank you to all who’ve follow the series!  I hope you enjoy the videos below.  Cheers!

 And now to video number two:

Jewish Single Malt Whisky Society’s official tasting notes on the Glenmorangie Sonnalta PX & Finealta

Sonnalta PX (as reviewed in April 2010) – 46% ABV –$65 – $90 | £56 | €75

On the nose Banana peels & cinnamon, Banana chips, candied oranges (strange, even orange Jujubees, sort of a soapy quality but good), The nose really reminds me of the palate on the Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey with all of the yummy banana-i-ness to it.  A very un-Glenmorangie nose.  Wait, I sniffed after typing that and I take it back, notes from The Original Ten Years are popping through honey, apples.  It’s all hiding there waiting to sneak up on you!

On the mouthFantastic mouth feel!  Oh, G-d, that’s just so chewy…  Like salted taffy or caramel.  Nuts and root veggies, a touch of chocolate here (sort of like chocolate shavings if you’ve ever had them, a very different taste than a chunk of chocolate), wine soaked raisins.

FinishQuite long.  Chocolate covered leather (oh, so slight with the leather quality), raisins and fresh fruits.  Huh, slight nutty oak after about 45 seconds or so.

Finealta (as reviewed in December 2010) – 46% ABV –$65 – $75 | £61 | €75

On the noseBig cherry presence on the nose along with something minty.  An earthy quality to it – fresh potting soil, new ferns.  The peat in here is very light.  Toffee & caramel.  Cadbury fruit & nut bar.  Some soy sauce.

On the mouth Spiced orange gum drops.  Red ones too.  Lots of nuttiness and now some coffee tones in there.  Solid mouth feel here, folks!  Creamy, ooey – I love it.  Peppery and more soy sauce notes.  Again, lightly smoked & very elusive.

Finish Now quite tannic.  Quite long too.

You can view days 1, 2 and 3 of this video series, here, here and here (respectively).