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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

October 17, 2013


Tasting high strength Glenmorangie

Not many new ones around, and the independent bottlers don't get many - if any - so the Glenmo shelves at WF Towers are almost empty. I wrote 'almost' because we still had these two babies...

Westport 15 yo 1997/2013 (52.5%, The Whisky Barrel, Burn's Malt, bourbon hogshead, cask #3299)

Westport 15 yo 1997/2013 (52.5%, The Whisky Barrel, Burn's Malt, bourbon hogshead, cask #3299) Four stars If I'm not mistaken, Westport is the name of 'teaspooned' Glenmorangie, like say Williamson is the name of Laphroaig. Whether the teaspooning's really happening of if it's just a matter of papers, I'm not sure. What's sure is that officially, this is a blended malt. Colour: straw. Nose: typical bourbony Glenmorangie, with varnish, bubblegum, vanilla and broken branches right at first nosing, then a rather long development on fresh mint leaves, a little anise, green bananas and a whole bag of apples plus some beer and cider. It's a style that's instantly recognisable. With water: same, just smoother. Ah, smoothness... (that was useful, S.!) Mouth (neat): big and hot, crisp, well in line with the nose. Chlorophyll-flavoured bubblegum, curry, vanilla, cloves, nutmeg (big) and apples. A pleasant bitterness. With water: all rounder, sweeter and fruitier. Many tinned fruits, pears, apricots... I often find apricots in Glenmorangie. Sweet barley. Finish: quite long, a notch spicier again. Quite some cinnamon. Comments: excellent, 'a good example of the make', as they say. I like the natural, unseasoned side of it. SGP:551 - 86 points.

Glenmorangie 10 yo 1981/1992 'Natural Strength' (59.2%, OB, cask #946)

Glenmorangie 10 yo 1981/1992 'Natural Strength' (59.2%, OB, cask #946) Four stars Never tried this big old baby before. Colour: straw. Nose: similar and different at the same time. The base is the same (beer, cider, apple juice, vanilla) but the upper layer contains more caramel, café latte, fudge and then moist tobacco, tea and earth. It's a little bigger but that may come from the higher strength. With water: lovely, the earth and the tobacco are taking over, which comes unexpected. It's even a little mineral and smoky! Mouth (neat): huge, fruity and malty. Some kind of apple eau-de-vie? That's the very high strength, it's very strong whisky. So, with water: pure sweet barley in all its glory, with some mint-flavoured tea and drops of lemon juice for good measure. It's very crisp and pure. Finish: long, a notch grassier. Comments: even more au naturel than the Westport, but it's also a little simpler. Very good nonetheless. I mean, to my liking (I'm sorry, Mother). SGP:551 - 85 points.

BONUS: Republished tasting notes
Just like Macallan have already done several times in the past, this year Glenmorangie have rebottled/repackaged 50 bottles of their famous 22 yo 1963. The original bottle used to sell for around £600/800€ at auctions but the new 'reworked' bottle is sold for approx double that price (while quite unsurprisingly, some retailers seem to have have taken this opportunity to raise the prices for the old one as well.) Look, if the Distillers can rebottle whisky, I can republish some tasting notes, since the whisky's the same ;-)...

Glenmorangie 22 yo 1963 (43%, OB, one year Oloroso finish)

Rebottled Glenmorangie 22 yo 1963 (43%, OB, one year Oloroso finish) Five stars I believe this is one of, or maybe the earliest example of wine finishing made by Glenmorangie, as this nice baby was bottled around 1985 (obviously). Proof that wine finishing isn’t only a recent marketing stunt. It’s said to be quite rare and certainly expensive but I’ve seen that it’s available at several online retailers’ these days. Colour: deep gold. Nose: absolutely no Oloroso-ish nose, rather the same kinds of notes as in the new 18, only with much more oomph and expressiveness. Develops on more orangey notes (blood oranges, also pink grapefruit – not only because of the colour!), hints of pu-erh tea, something very pleasantly herbal (sorrel? Coriander?) and finally quite some stewed fruits that may hint a bit at sherry indeed. High quality, complex and fresh, reminding me a bit of the neighbouring Balblairs. Faint chalkiness and maybe a little sandalwood. Mouth: once again, this is much richer than the 18 but the profile is also rather different this time. Many more fruits including tropical ones (pineapples), a perfect oak, sweet spices, apricots, hints of tinned litchis and maybe Muscat wine, a little nutmeg… Quite superb, this combination of freshness and richness works very well (nope, I don’t think that’s antinomical). Finish: long, with more spices kicking in but the freshness remains. Comments: great, complex dram. No wonder they went on doing finishings after this success. SGP:561 – 91 points. (originally published on June 15, 2010)

More tasting notes Check the index of all Glenmornagie I've tasted so far







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