Monday, April 11, 2011

Glenmorangie Tasting Notes

Last Thursday evening, Wine Chateau Piscataway hosted a spectacular tasting of Glenmorangie single-malt Scotch. It was, as expected, a de facto master class in the range and expressive power of some of the best single malts, a tutorial in how different woods affect the finished product, and a reminder--as if we needed one--of what makes single-malt Scotch, and Glenmorangie itself, so exciting. My tasting notes are below.

Glenmorangie Original 10 Years Old

Moderate smoke and cocoa notes on the nose, a touch of seaweed, and warm cream. On the palate, it’s bracingly fresh and spicy, with dried fruits and a finish that speaks of smoke, grilled bread, and spice.

Glenmorangie Lasanta 12 Years Old

More brown spice, cinnamon, and a hint of nutmeg aromatics. With air, creamy, nutty milk-chocolate emerges. On the palate, it’s sweeter initially, but then the spice comes around. There’s an appealing finish here with an unexpected whiff of red berry behind the salty, spicy Sherry flavors that linger nicely.

Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban 12 Years Old

Nose of sweet cream and hints of the vaguest sensation of Raisinettes, honey, and toffee float above the glass. These lead to sweet-souled flavors of honey, just-baked pralines, and cloves. A great single-malt for a cold day.

Glenmorangie Nectar d’Or 12 Years Old

Very pure and clean on the nose, with a linearity to the honey notes, as well as a hint of orange blossom, orange oil, and lemon-jelly candies. The flavors here are so overtly delicious that it’s difficult not to throw back the first glass as a shot. It sings with toasted multi-grain bread on the finish, orange creme brulee, lemon honey, and fresh nuts. Effusive.

Glenmorangie Astar

Smells just like cinnamon cream and the burnt-sugar top of a perfect creme brulee, cut nicely with a touch of dried tropical fruit and iodine. Smoky seaweed defines the palate, and leads to a salty and iodine-y finish livened up with a touch of caramel. Very complex and rewarding.

Glenmorangie Finealta Private Edition

Looks like liquid amber. Really peat-y on the nose, with a touch of nori and rubber (but in a very good way). There’s nothing flashy here, just a beautifully self-possessed single malt. This broad-shouldered Scotch is wildly complex once you get into it, with everything from smoke and seaweed to honey nougat and pink peppercorns. All of these more masculine notes, however, are given a reprieve with a pronounced florality on both the mid-palate and finish, as well as dried pineapple and orange blossom. Just amazing.

Glenmorangie Signet

Very fruity nose, yet with a sense of restraint born of long cask-aging, just like the best long-aged Ports and Sherry. The perfume of dried tropical fruit, whole-grain bread with honey warmed up in the toaster oven, as well as warm cream, leap to the fore, and lead to a fresh, wildly complex palate of brown baking spices, whole vanilla pod, cardamom, and honey-whipped butter. There’s a touch of seaweed on the finish, along with milk chocolate, toasted nuts, and praline. Gorgeously balanced, subtle, and dangerously easy to drink.


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