Distillery/Brand: Glenmorangie | Region: Highland | ABV: 43% | Color: Young Sauternes
Nose: 23 | Taste: 24 | Finish: 24 | Balance: 23 | Rating: 94
Glenmorangies rate consistently high on my scale and there’s no reason why they shouldn’t. It’s generally year after year of solid whiskies even if they’re putting out experimental wood finishes like the recent Burgundy, Madeira and Sherry offerings.
I was, though, a touch disappointed with both the Ealanta and the Companta but only because I expected them to knock me out. However, I am told they need to be revisited some time after opening them so maybe that opinion changes as well.
Ok enough chit chat and on to, what is truly a scrumptious dram, The Glenmorangie 18. It’s my first time tasting this and all those who call it the stuff of legends, well, they’re bang on.
Now I’m not a huge fan of Oloroso Sherry maturation largely because it has a tendency to overshadow the actual spirit if left long enough. And I suspect it is a trick oft used to mask otherwise substandard spirit. I won’t point fingers at anyone but there’s a certain well known distillery that’s made a fortune out of doing that. You know who you are.
However, the Oloroso Sherry here is used so expertly that it transforms the beautiful American Oak spirit into a gorgeous sherried dram.
And how it’s done is a testament to poise and control.
Once the spirit has spent fifteen years maturing in American white oak casks approximately 30% is transferred into Spanish Oloroso casks to spend a further three years maturing. Then, when both elements have reached 18 years, they are blended together.
The result is a beautifully controlled spirit that hits all the high notes in perfect harmony.
Nose: Delicately floral with lovely sweet candied oranges. Tropical fruits and peach sweets sprinkled with rose water. And the strongest most vibrant of sweet melons I have ever come across.
Palate: Crisp, gorgeous delivery with just the right amount of sherry to pucker up your mouth. Lovely black and white peppers with that sweet melon chocolate. But the fruits are king here. Papaya and passion fruit with a touch of aniseed. Such controlled grace.
Finish: Long chocolate wood spices with a touch of fennel.
This is truly a masterclass in elegance.