Highlands Region – 43% – 46% – Glenmorangie Collection – (4) 100cl bottles – $49 (could not find sources outside of the US for this collection)
So yes, I write this fun and fancy blog and I have a lot of fun doing it. Lots of great whiskies to taste; friends I’ve met, great comments, criticisms, etc… So far, it’s a grand old ride. In addition to writing this blog, I founded and manage a Malt Whisky Society called: The Jewish Single Malt Whisky Society (I’m not only the president, I’m also a client).
In our most recent tasting event we explored the Glenmorangie range (or at least 4 expressions from the Glenmorangie range).
We had a total of 7 people (including myself, though not pictured) that night and it was a total blast! The group may have been a smaller one but, what a group we had! These people are “the salt of the earth”.
While we did not taste the full range, we did get to sample the “Original Ten Years” Expression (at 43%) as well as “The Lasanta” (12yr sherry finish), “Quinta Ruban” (12yr port finish) and “The Nectar D’or” (12yr Sauternes finish) expressions; all at 46% abv.
The last three expressions are “finished” which means that they spent 10yrs in standard bourbon casks then were transferred for an extra 2yrs in their respective sherry, port or sauternes cask for “finishing”. Basically, the whisky, having spent an extra 2 yrs in casks that have matured these different wines will have imparted to them some of the characteristics & flavors of each type of wine.
For instance, one can expect from a “sherry finish” to taste flavors that range from chocolate to dried fruits (think dates, figs, raisins, etc…). A “port finish” imparts spicy qualities (think spiced gum drops, cloves, things like that). Lastly, a “sauternes finish” should impart incredible sweetness (sauternes, being a fine, uber-sweet dessert wine) with flavors of honey & nuts, apricots, oranges, etc…
Glenmorangie is known for it’s soft elegant qualities. Lots of honey & citrus, butter, etc… So, imagine some of the above flavors on top of that! Yum!
Let’s see how it all played out shall we?
The notes below are combined notes from the group as we were on the same page (for the most part) with all of these expressions. Any stray from consensus will be noted accordingly.
Initial whiff — Cirtusy, honeyed citrus candies, slight smoke & pineapples, grassy, vanilla bean ice cream.
On the mouth – Lemongrass, more honey, a bit thin but has a bit of an attack (“softens a touch with a drop of H2O” — John), pecans & oaky vanilla
Finish – (Here’s where tended to differ) One of us thought the finish was surprisingly long while another thought it was “shorter than an oompa-loompa churning cream & sugar” (Ok, I threw that analogy in. It was better than just saying it was a short finish, right?). I found the finish to be medium in length, a bit effervescent and with the slightest twinge of smoke (hugely slight!).
I’m going to be blunt and upfront about the Lasanta — I am not a fan in any way. Maybe it’s my taste buds, maybe not, but… each time I nose & taste this whisky, all I get is sulfur. While other people got that too, they seemed to get past it and find other things and ended up enjoying it. I, however, could not. I’m not the only one who found this to be a sulfur-bomb, if I remember correctly, Jim Murray did too in his Whisky Bible 2009 edition. For those of you who know me, you will be very surprised to hear that there’s a Glenmo out there I did not like. Well, there you go, its out in the open. Let it stand, too, that this is the ONLY Glenmomorangie I have not enjoyed (and I’ve tasted more than 12 Glenmorangies so far) so, finding one I did not like was bound to happen. The notes below will be the groups notes, minus my notes:
Initial whiff — Cinnamon, caramel, black plums, pleasant & fruity, a bit sulfury, dark chocolates.
On the mouth – Caramel, figs, a big bite to it, tobacco, not very pleasant (this is not my note), “I think this one needs a bit of time to open up”, “Needs time & water, then, it’s lovely”.
Finish – A spicy finish. Longish and tannic.
Initial whiff — Spiced Oranges, Cloves, honey & vanilla, “this one will tickle your nose thinking that’s it’s actually Elmo” (Ok, so I threw in another little analogy… it is a nose tickler, very spicy stuff).
On the mouth – More tannic than I expected, spiced citrus stuffs, honey and vanilla, some good nuttiness follows the nose here, oily mouth feel, coating and chewy.
Finish – Short, left you wanting more, off balance compared to what the nose & palate delivered, though with the addition of a bit of water, a creaminess stays with you.
The notes listed below are my notes from a previous tasting as we were all on the same page here. The Nectar D’or really delivered and it was quite amazing to see the change in the group once we poured and tasted this stuff. It truly is call a “Nectar” for a reason.
Initial whiff — Apricot jam, actual Sauternes (no initial whisky scents, pure Sauternes wine; delicious!), loads of vanilla, some coconut and a tad bit of smoke, more like apricot jam on burnt toast (after having scrapped off the burny parts with a butter knife).
On the mouth – My G-d, my mouth instantly started watering. Very fruity, apricots again, pecans, oak and coconuts. A bit peppery and some gobs of honey, sugared honey.
Finish – Long, this stuff coats your mouth quite well, in the way back of my tongue the pecans came back. Quite lovely stuff.
In sum – What a night and ride this was. I have to say that, in the end, the Original and Nectar D’or shined for the evening. We tasted these in the order you just read and it was nice to see how this line was built using the basic 10yr fluid then building different flavor profiles on top of that with the different casks. I don’t think, however, that this collection is a balanced one with the addition of the Original Ten Year bottle. What I would like to see is a collection of the 10yr, 18yr & 25yr (and, I know this is a pipe dream because the 15yr doesn’t exist anymore but, the addition of the 15yr would be grand!). Then, in another grouping, the colleciton should be the Lasanta, Quinta Ruban, Nectar D’or and Signet – this does not include a few other current Glenmorangie expressions but, hey this is just my wishlist.