Highlands region – 46%ABV – 750ml bottle – $65 | £58 | €68
I have few gripes when it comes to the wide world of whiskies. To name the top 3:
Gripe #1 — Cost. Yes, I understand that Whisk(e)y is a luxury item but still…
Gripe #2 — The issue of, or inability to import 70cl bottles into the US. Why oh why wont the US allow these slightly smaller bottles into the US – we’re missing out on easy access to some fine-ass malts!
Gripe #3 — Duty-Free Shop exclusive whiskies. Limited editions I can understand. Limited editions that you can only get in a Duty-Free Shop I can not. Sorry, from a consumer’s standpoint (a consumer that rarely travels outside of the US) it does not make sense — at least give me (and the thousands of others non-world traveling consumers) a chance to buy these limited edition whiskies.
Well, Glenmorangie did just that.
The Glenmorangie Sonnalta PX started off as Duty-Free 1 litter exclusive bottle. Being the Glenmo devotee that I am, I was upset right away. It’s like Dad brought home a new game for my Commodore 64 but only let my older sister play (wow, there’s some fun familial issues coming out – as made up as they are).
Thankfully, Glenmorangie (for one reason or another) changed this approach and released a 750ml bottle to the general public.
So, what in the heck does “Sonnalta PX” mean? Well, first off, the Sonnalta PX is a fine sherry cask finished whisky. The “PX” stands for Pedro Ximinez. If you do not know, Pedro Ximinez sherry is basically the chewiest, richest, most succulent sherry out there (imagine its influence on whisky!). “Sonnalta”, in Gaelic, means “Liberal”. In other words, there is a liberal, very generous amount of Pedro Ximinez sherry influence to the Glenmorangie. Not sure about you but my mouth is watering just writing this review!
So, should we taste it? Let’s go!
On the nose — Wow, a sherry finish done oh so right! 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!
Palate — Fantastic 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
Finish — Quite 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.
In sum — These tasting notes are from the last 5cl or so of my bottle. What’s strange is, when I first got the bottle my initial reactions to the whisky was that it was a **great** sherried Glenmorangie. The good news is, that still rings true. What’s different is that now, as I take my last sip, the spiciness is reminding of a grain whisky. I know this is a true malt whisky but it’s as if there’s slight grain influence (rye perhaps?). I’m sure it’s all in my head. Perhaps it’s just that the warm spring has arrived, maybe my brain is looking for it. Who knows.
I did love this malt, much more than the Glenmorangie Lasanta Sherry Cask (of course, I’ve liked most malts more than the Lasanta). Not trying to rub salt in the wound I left from my review of the Lasanta. Forget what I said about the Lasanta — these aren’t the droids you’re looking for…