Glenmorangie Companta

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Distillery/Brand: Glenmorangie | Region: Highland | ABV: 46% | Colour: Old Sauternes
Nose: 18 | Taste: 18 | Finish: 17 | Balance: 15 | Rating: 68

Review
Now let me tell you this. I first heard of sulphur in whiskies from Jim Murray a few years ago and he made such huge deal about it that I was literally looking over my shoulder to see when sulphur would attack.

But then as I kept tasting ‘tainted’ whiskies I couldn’t really tell if they were truly sulphured or not. Jim certainly seemed to think so but I wasn’t too sure. Then after doing some research I found out that you had to be genetically inclined to be sensitive to sulphur and more than a third of the worlds’ population was not so.

I, therefore, assumed that I was one of the third and if I could not detect sulphur then so be it. In fact I was kind of glad. What spoilt whiskies for some would have no effect on me.
That is, until now.

After sitting for a month in an open bottle with no hint of anything sulphured (even though Jim in his 2015 Bible murdered this expression) I took it out to finally write this review.

This was an absolute disaster. What seemingly tasted decent when first opened had taken on the air of a spent canon. So strong was the sulphur that I barely had the chance to identify anything else.

OK, enough about the sulphur. Here is some info on what this whisky constitutes.

Vatting of standard 9 year-old ex-bourbon Glenmorangie finished for 5 years in red Grand Cru Burgundy wine casks from Clos de Tart (from Pinot Noir grapes), with a similar 10 year-old Glenmorangie finished for 8 years in a sweet fortified wine from Cotes du Rhone called Rasteau, made from Grenache grapes. The vatting contains 60% of the first, and 40% of the second.

My sample is from an open bottle and served at 46%

Nose: Underneath the flint, gunsmoke and spent matches there is some chocolate and red grapes. But that is all lost to the spectacular smell of a grand fireworks display.

Palate: I couldn’t finish this dram. Something metallic coated my mouth and would not let go.

Finish: Metallic.

I am really shocked at how this whisky had turned after a month oxidizing. The sulphur, I guess, was always there and just needed a bit of air to bring it out.

At least now I know I am part of the two-thirds majority that can smell sulphur. And I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

Rating: 68

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Glenmorangie 18 Years

Glenmorangie 18

Distillery/Brand: Glenmorangie | Region: Highland | ABV: 43% | Color: Young Sauternes
Nose: 23 | Taste: 24 | Finish: 24 | Balance: 23 | Rating: 94

Review
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.

Rating: 94

Glenmorangie Companta

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Distillery/Brand: Glenmorangie
Region: Highland
ABV: 46%
Colour: Old Sauternes

Nose: 22
Taste: 22
Finish: 22
Balance: 22

Review
Glenmorangie’s been getting a bit of airtime recently thanks to a certain Mr Jim Murray for naming their Ealanta his whisky of the year. Now let me tell you something. I don’t mind Jims’ choices but this one was way off the mark.

Then I heard about the Companta doing the rounds and getting some rave reviews. So I was excited when one of the members of my whisky club decided to serve this at one of our tastings.

Inspired by Dr Bill’s travels across France’s greatest vineyards The Companta is a result of a mix of spirit extra matured in Grand Cru casks from Clos de Tart and those of a sweet fortified wine from Côtes du Rhône.

Nose: It’s quite interesting. Carries a lot of tannins to begin with. And with it a bunch of cherries served atop a sponge cake and drizzled with rose water infused with crushed black peppers. Initially there is a dry yeasty aroma which dissipates with time and oxygen.

Palate: Could have been sensational but it chose not to. Lots of red fruits, dark berries and fortified cherry liquor. This is accompanied by woody black pepper and clove spices.

Finish: Decently long and lingering with a woody chocolate tannin quality.

Once again I am a victim of over hype. I had convinced my self that this spirit was going to be sublime. Instead it was quite good, at best.

Rating: 88

Glenmorangie 1993 Ealanta 19 Years Old

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Distillery/Brand: Glenmorangie
Region: Highland
ABV: 46%
Colour: Deep Gold

Nose: 22
Taste: 22
Finish: 20
Balance: 21

Review
When I was young and impressionable (not too long ago) I happened across a certain gentleman by the name of Jim Murray. His opinions and reviews left me riveted. I would swear by him and ridicule people when they disagreed with him.

Then I met him and he lost some credibility in my eyes. A bit of a perv and slightly irritating. But that’s just his personality. He still knew his whisky. Then I started noticing some scores in his Bible which I couldn’t wholeheartedly agree with. But I chalked that up to personal preference. We are, after all, all entitled to our opinion. And then I found out that he named the Glenmorangie Ealanta as his whisky of the year.

Jim, we need to talk.

Nose: Matured exclusively in virgin American oak for 19 years the nose is quite bourbony with a touch of spicy exotic. Sickly sweet chocolate vanilla meets squishy tropical fruits and soft orange apricots with a healthy dollop of dark breakfast marmalade rounded off with toasted nuts. The nose is different alright but is far too sweet for my liking.

Palate: The same tropical fruit basket of papaya, apricots and papaya arrives on the palate covered in maple syrup and some cardamom pods. It’s borderline tasty but fails to truly excite.

Finish: The finger snap finish is a truly disappointing cinnamon oak.

Now I don’t want to accuse any one of selling out but those Whisky Bible sales and whisky workshops must surely be on the decline.

Rating: 85

Glenmorangie Burgundy Wood Finish

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Distillery/Brand: Glenmorangie
Region: Highland
ABV: 43%
Colour: Gold

Nose: 23
Taste: 22
Finish: 22
Balance: 22

Review
Here’s another solid distillery that seldom puts a foot wrong. After all some old guy thinks this distillery produced the Whisky of the Year! Bloody hell! Who am I to argue with that?

Anyway, so I picked up this expression not really knowing anything about it other than the fact that I generally like Glenmorangies and the Burgundy Wood finish seemed quite an interesting prospect.

Nose: Quite sweetly layered and I like it. Marzipan, sliced apricots sit atop a sweet plate of creme brulee (minus the caramel, mind you). As the sweets fade there is a slice of minty celery accompanied by a floral whiff. And then, to add mystique, a pinch of black salt.

Palate: The burgundy wood comes cascading through on the palate (a little too strongly in my opinion) with notes of fruity wine, citrus and some nutty cinnamon.

Finish: The decent finish is oaky with a hint of spicy toffee.

I think this is another dependable expression from Glenmorangie. And if someone were to gift it me I wouldn’t complain.

Rating: 89

Glenmorangie Traditional Cask

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Distillery/Brand: Glenmorangie
Region: Highland
ABV: 57.1%
Colour: Chardonnay

Nose: 22
Taste: 22
Finish: 22
Balance: 21

Review
The Glenmorangie Traditional Cask is basically the 10 year old at cask strength, un-chill filtered and without any coloring. This is as raw as a Glenmorangie will get.

A bit like new-make the nose is flush full of tropical fruits like mangoes, papaya and apricots enveloped in a, not-so-unpleasant, cloud of brine. Oxidization brings out woody chocolate citrus overtones which sit nicely atop all the fruits. (Note: a drop of water made the spirit sweeter and more biscuity / malty).

The palate is quite intensely spicy with a white pepper burst. Let it traverse your palate and the spirit mellows down to a honey pudding sweetness. (Note: a drop of water made the mouthfeel creamier but did not add to the flavor profile).

The finish is a touch chalky without being bothersome.

Am I impressed? Let me get back to you on that.

Rating: 87

Glenmorangie Finealta

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Distillery/Brand: Glenmorangie
Region: Highland
ABV: 46%
Colour: Full Gold

Nose: 22
Taste: 23
Finish: 22
Balance: 22

Review
There are few whiskies that you can seldom go wrong with and Glenmorangie is one of them. So when I picked out the increasingly rare Finealta off a friend’s shelf I already had fairly high expectations.

The nose is soft smoke with sherry undertones mixed in with vanilla and fruit drops. This is followed by a touch of honey and some crushed red grapes. Finally a handful of roasted chestnuts give the nose a nice layer of complexity.

The full bodied delivery is cinnamon spicy at first and then a nice caramel and treacle sweet next. The slightly smoky oak then weaves in quite expertly and brings with it a deft minty touch.

The medium dry finish is a very nice mix of minty leaves and oak shavings.

Rating : 89