Showing posts with label Glenmorangie. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Glenmorangie. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

The Glenmorangie Very Rare 18-Year Single Malt Scotch Review & Tasting Notes


Whisky names and terms can be confusing. In an attempt to make them attractive and differentiate one from another, marketers can leave you scratching your head trying to figure out what the name or term means.

 

Take Small Batch as an example. It is a term meant to convey that only a select set of barrels were used in the blend. In reality, small batch has no definition whatsoever. It can be a batch of one barrel or a batch of thousands. Full Proof is another. Some may walk away with the notion that it is the undiluted contents in the bottle. Nope, it doesn’t have to be, and, in some instances, it is diluted to the original barrel entry proof before bottling. Then there are terms like Special Reserve or Limited Edition. They sound incredibly… well… special and limited, but they are just words with no legalese behind them.

 

Yet another market-speak word is Rare. To most people, rare means it is in limited supply or difficult to find. Some brands have the word in it, splashed in big, beautiful script. While the brand in question can be challenging to find at times, its name precludes the current market conditions.

 

What about Extremely Rare?

 

There are a handful of Scotch distilleries in the whisky universe that I fully expect what’s in the bottle to be very good. Why? Because they have a long, proven track record with me. That shouldn’t imply that something mediocre doesn’t come out here and there because nearly every distillery does. I still #DrinkCurious, and nobody gets a pass, but it sets in a particular bias. The Glenmorangie is one such distillery.  I’ve been a fan of the Highland distillery almost as long as I’ve been drinking Scotch. There are very, very few duds.

 

One of Glenmorangie’s regular releases is an 18-year-old whisky called Extremely Rare. Good or bad, the name implies this one is almost a unicorn. Except, it isn’t. It is simply the name of its 18-year Scotch.  Extremely Rare is a single malt Scotch, run through Glenmorangie’s taled very tall giraffe stills, then aged in former Bourbon barrels for 15 years. Then, about 30% of that 15-year whisky is transferred to former Oloroso Sherry butts for another three years, while the remainder of the 15 continues to age. At the end of 18 or so years, both parts are blended into a final product, then packaged at 43% ABV (86°).

 

Extremely Rare may make you think you’ll have to fork over a fortune, but it can be had for $110.00 at some larger liquor outlets.  



Is Extremely Rare any good? Let’s find out.

 

Appearance: In my Glencairn glass, this Scotch was the color of golden straw. A medium-heavy rim formed a wavy curtain of tears that raced down the wall.

 

Nose: Sweet nectarines blasted me in the face. Honey, apples, golden raisins, and vanilla followed. Not to be left out, almond, toasted oak, and citrus followed. When the vapor entered my mouth, apricot rolled across my tongue.

 

Palate:  A medium-bodied, oily texture coated every crevice of my mouth. The front of my palate discovered golden raisin, apricot, and honey, while the middle offered flavors of almond, vanilla, and orange peel. I tasted mildly-charred oak, walnut, toffee, and a touch of lemon on the back.

 

Finish:  Charred oak, lemon peel, toffee, and apricot remained for a medium-to-long finish.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust: Glenmorangie 18 Extremely Rare is a hell of a nice pour. No one flavor dominated; instead, they melded together as if designed that way. I'd want the finish to be drawn out longer if I had to come up with something – anything – to nitpick at.  For $110.00 or so, it is reasonably priced and well worth the investment. Buy yourself a Bottle; you won’t regret it, rare or not. Cheers!

 

My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It

 

Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.

 


 

Monday, January 24, 2022

Glenmorangie A Tale of Cake Single Malt Scotch Review & Tasting Notes




The Glenmorangie Distillery is located in Scotland’s Highland region. Unofficially founded in 1703, it began as a brewery on the Tarlogie Spring. In 1843, two former gin stills were installed, and it changed from a brewery to a distillery named, aptly, Glenmorangie. The distillery shuttered between 1931 and 1936, then resurrected until 1941, when it closed again until 1944. In 1977, it added two more stills, then doubled in 1990 and again in 2002, bringing the total to an even dozen. Glenmorangie claims ownership of having the tallest stills in Scotland.

 

Glenmorangie’s Director of Whisky Creation is Dr. Bill Lumsden. He probably doesn’t remember it, but Mrs. Whiskeyfellow, some friends, and I had dinner with him way back in September 2014. Never mind how dorky I look.




Dr. Bill has been developing new expressions while hanging out in The Lighthouse, which is the experimental venue for the distillery.

 

The 2021 release was A Tale of Winter, and as I stated in my review, I was impressed. The 2020 release was A Tale of Cake. I spent over a year tracking this one down. It seemed no matter where I went, I was told they had sold out long ago. And then, at some random store in Colorado, I found it.

 

“Some time ago, Dr. Bill found himself musing over how some of his most joyous memories came from cake – from the pineapple upside-down cake his daughter made for his birthday to baking with his granny in her kitchen. He devised this whisky to conjure the magic of a cake moment, finishing his favourite Glenmorangie Single Malt in the finest Tokaji dessert wine casks.” – Glenmorangie

 

Tokaji is pretty unique, and it was the main driver for my searching out A Tale of Cake. My 2020 Whiskey of the Year was The Dublin Liberties Murder Lane. It, too, was finished in Tokaji casks. That drove me to buy a bottle of Tokaji wine, which I found amazing.

 

A Tale of Cake is a single malt whisky – pretty much the standard Glenmorangie 10 aged in first-fill Bourbon barrels and then transferred to the Tokaji casks. It carries no age statement, is non-chill filtered, is bottled at 46% ABV (92°), and the retail price is $99.99. Finding a bottle, of course, would be difficult, although as recently as late November, I saw a few on the shelf in Chicagoland.

 

Was this worth my almost year-long quest? The only way to know for sure is to #DrinkCurious. Let’s get to it!

 

Appearance: Sipped neat from my Glencairn glass, this Scotch appeared as crystal clear copper. It formed a thicker rim which developed glazed, heavy legs.

 

Nose:  A deliciously-sweet aroma was made of honey, apricot, lemon zest, pineapple, and pear. It could have been a subliminal suggestion, but I thought I also picked up vanilla frosting. The pineapple and apricot were more prevalent when I drew the vapor past my lips.

 

Palate:  The texture was creamy and full-bodied. At the front of my palate, I tasted honeycomb, orange zest, dried apricot, and pineapple. The middle featured milk chocolate and, again, that vanilla frosting. I discovered almond paste, cinnamon sugar, clove, and dry oak on the back.

 

Finish:  A very long, warming finish began with pecan, almond, and milk chocolate, then moved to clove, cinnamon, and climaxed with dry oak.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  I guess I’m a sucker for things finished in Hungarian Tokaji casks because I loved every moment of this whisky. I’d describe it as heavenly. I’m a tad upset that I didn’t snag one of those extras I found on the store shelf in Chicago. I found A Tale of Cake to be an easy Bottle rating for me, and I believe it would do the same for you. 


Epilogue:  For what it is worth, both Cake and Winter were delicious. Of the two, I preferred Cake. Cheers!

 

My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It

 

Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.

 

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Glenmorangie A Tale of Winter Single Malt Scotch Review & Tasting Notes

 


On the Glenmorangie campus, there exists a building called The Lighthouse. It is where Dr. Bill Lumsden hangs out, dreaming up new concoctions which eventually lead to something hitting store shelves. The Lighthouse is the experimental sector of the distillery. It is made of glass walls and overlooks the world outside.

 

If you’re unfamiliar with Glenmorangie, it is located in Scotland’s Highland region. Unofficially founded in 1703, it began as a brewery on the Tarlogie Spring. In 1843, two former gin stills were installed, and it changed from a brewery to a distillery named, aptly, Glenmorangie. The distillery shuttered between 1931 and 1936, then resurrected until 1941, when it closed again until 1944. In 1977, it added two more stills, then doubled in 1990 and again in 2002, bringing the total to an even dozen. Glenmorangie claims ownership of having the tallest stills in Scotland.

 

Last year, the distillery offered a limited edition single malt called A Tale of Cake.  This year, the limited edition release is called A Tale of Winter.

 

“Snowed in at home, our Director of Whisky Creation, Dr. Bill, began dreaming of this whisky. His goal was to capture the snug and magical feeling of sitting in front of the fireplace as snow blankets the world outside. In pursuit of rich, radiant taste and wintery aromas. He finished the 13-year old single malt in Marsala wine casks from Sicily.” - Glenmorangie

 

This single malt weighs in at 46% ABV (92°) after spending 13 years in first-fill Bourbon barrels before being dumped and transferred to former Marsala wine casks. You can expect to pay about $100.00 for a 750ml package, and that’s also what I paid at a local Wisconsin bottle shop.

 

How did Dr. Bill do? The only way to know for sure is to #DrinkCurious, so let’s get to it!

 

Appearance: Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, this whisky presented as a distinctive copper. A medium rim vanished instantly and gave way to a falling ruffled curtain.

 

Nose:  Very fruity; the nose began with aromas of apricot, raisin, plum, orange peel, and green grape. There was also vanilla and nutmeg. When I drew the vapor into my mouth, I could swear I took a bite of a Dreamsicle.

 

Palate:  The texture was oily and full-bodied. On the front, I tasted orange, honey, and thick fudge. The middle formed almost a transition with plum, dark cherry, and butterscotch. Then, it was spicy with ginger, cinnamon, clove, and oak on the back.

 

Finish:  Clove, ginger, oak, and rum-soaked fruitcake formed a soft finish that slowly built warmth, very much like that fruitcake. The buildup was slow until it hit its crescendo and then fell apart.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  I can easily place myself in Dr. Bill’s shoes. A Tale of Winter is something you’ll want to enjoy in front of a warm fire, snuggled in a blanket, maybe even with a dog on your lap, while you’re watching a gentle snowfall. The sweetness of the Marsala wine shone through and made everything seem Christmassy. I can also see how some people will love this, and others won’t find it overly appealing. For me, I’m in the former category. I’d sip on this all day, given a chance. A Tale of Winter takes my Bottle rating, and I’m thrilled to have it in my whiskey library. Cheers!



My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It

 

Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.

 


Wednesday, October 6, 2021

X By Glenmorangie Single Malt Scotch Whisky Review & Tasting Notes

 


Scotch made for mixing. Scotch made for mixing? Oh no, is this going to be one of those awful things that need something else to make it tolerable?


I've had Scotch made for mixing before, and frankly, I enjoyed it neat.  A little over two years ago, I reviewed Auchentoshan "The Bartender's Malt" and it earned a Bottle rating. In fact, I said, "I'd buy this bottle all day long."  It was $49.99 and I didn't even bother using it as a mixer.


Today I'm pouring X by Glenmorangie, which is a Highland Single Malt made for mixing. Glenmorangie wants this description to be unmissed. It is on the bottle. It is on the hangtag. There is even a QR code on the reverse label so you can get mixing recipes. Full disclosure time:  I'm a big fan of Glenmorangie and I can't recall anything that was just meh out of this distillery. Dr. Bill Lumsden knows his stuff and he doesn't release whisky for the sake of releasing whisky. There is a ton of thought and consideration put into each bottling and if it doesn't meet his standards, it doesn't make it to market. 


As I stated, this is a single malt, which means that the whisky came from a single distillery and hasn't been blended with other whiskies. It aged in the normal ex-Bourbon barrels as the original Glenmorangie. However, another portion was aged in virgin, charred oak casks. It is bottled at a basic 40% ABV (80°) and a 750ml bottle will set you back about $25.00 or so. It carries no age statement. Wait! Don't roll your eyes. Read on, I beg you.


"Crafted with top bartenders, this is our single malt made for mixing. Pair its sweeter and richer taste with your favourite mixer to create delicious drinks." - Glenmorangie

 

Interestingly enough, that's pretty much the same story from Auchentoshan


I'd like to thank Glenmorangie for providing me a sample of X in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. But, before I do that, I want to talk about the presentation. Most distilleries send a bottle between 50ml and 750ml and maybe some printed material. A select few pour a lot of effort into what's sent out. Glenmorangie went above and beyond.





The box was huge. My Glencairn glass is there for perspective. When I pulled off the outer box, inside were five bottles:  X by Glenmorangie, Topo Chico Twist of Grapefruit, Fever-Tree Club Soda, Fever-Tree Ginger Beer, and Sanpellegrino Aranciata Rossa. It also contained suggested cocktail recipes. One of which I'm going to make (after I taste the X neat) is called X Ginger:

  • 1.5oz X by Glenmorangie
  • Ginger Ale

Fill a glass with cubed ice. Add X by Glenmorangie then top with ginger ale. Gently stir and garnish with an orange wedge.


Now, it is time to #DrinkCurious.


Appearance:  Poured neat in my Glencairn glass (because X is made for mixing and I judge all whiskeys, at the very least, neat), this Scotch presented as deep gold in color. I observed a fat rim that formed a thick, wavy curtain that slowly crashed back to the pool.


Nose:  The aromas of orange citrus and honeysuckle were unmistakable. It bordered on almost overwhelming. But, beneath those were pear, butterscotch, and something floral. When I pulled the vapor into my mouth, I could swear I was eating a macaroon. 


Palate:  The mouthfeel was thick and viscous. In fact, the more I sipped, the huskier it became.  The front featured raw honey, malt, and almond. Flavors of orange peel and crème brulée were next, and on the back, it was simply char and toasted oak. 


Finish:  My hard palate tingled despite the minimal proof. Virgin oak was evident and was joined by char, almond, and maple syrup. Like the mouthfeel, the finish was initially short, and subsequent sips elongated it to what I would describe as medium in length.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  Is Glenmorangie X made for mixing? Well, sure, because Glenmorangie says so. Is it made for drinking neat? You betcha. This was a sweet but simple Scotch that provided a pleasant experience. When you compare Glenmorangie X to many other $25.00 Scotches, this not only deserves a Bottle rating but also provides an opportunity to #RespectTheBottomShelf


Afterword:  For whatever it is worth, I made the X Ginger cocktail sans the orange simply because I didn't have one on hand. It did tame the ginger beer and give it a sweetness that complimented the expected spiciness.


My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.


Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Glenmorangie The Quinta Ruban Single Malt Scotch Review & Tasting Notes



It isn't too often when Fortune is kind as it pertains to whisky. Last year, Glenmorangie changed one of its staple Scotches, The Quinta Ruban. You see, the good Dr. Bill Lumsen, Glenmorangie's master blender, who has a long track record of doing things right, opted to add another two years to what was a 12-year whisky. So, why is Fortune kind to us? Because the discontinued 12-year expression is still out there and, while supplies are dwindling, it isn't overly difficult to find.


If you're not familiar with Glenmorangie (a/k/a Glenmo), it is a Highland distillery that was founded in 1843 and located in Tain, Ross-shire. Mothballed twice, first from 1931 to 1936 and then again from 1941 to 1944, Glenmo has the tallest stills in all of Scotland, which are nicknamed giraffes. Hard water, high in mineral content, sourced from the local Tarlogie Springs, is used in the distillation process. The giraffe concept is so important to Glenmo that it pioneered a partnership with the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, with the goal of saving these animals from becoming further endangered.  


The Quinta Ruban 12-year used Glenmo's base single-malt distillate and aged it a decade in former Bourbon barrels. Those barrels came from Jack Daniel's, where they rested four years before being dumped and subsequently shipped to Scotland. Then, Glenmo placed the whisky in ruby Port pipes, where it matured another two years. These pipes, which are tapered barrels, came from the Quintas of Portugal. Quintas is Portuguese for wine estates. Ruban is the Gaelic term for ruby. Hence the name.


Bottled at 46% ABV (92°) and non-chill filtered, when you stumble upon it, you can expect to pay about $46.00 for a 750ml.


What can you expect from this Scotch?  The only way to tell for sure is to #DrinkCurious


Appearance:  Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, this Scotch presented as deep mahogany in color. It formed a medium rim that created thick, watery legs that fell back down the wall.


Nose:  Fragrant and a bit challenging to nail down, aromas of honey, raisin, vanilla, cinnamon, and dried fig wafted from the glass. When I drew the vapor into my mouth, the dried fig slammed across my tongue.


Palate:  Creamy and full-bodied, The Quinta Ruban offered smoked oak, clove, and roasted nuts on the front of the palate. As it moved to the middle, it became a fruity assortment of fig, date, raisin, and blueberry. Then, on the back, I tasted dark chocolate, caramel, and marshmallow that could have made for a tasty candy bar. 


Finish:  Medium-to-long and mostly dry, the finish left flavors of charred oak, caramel, chocolate, raisin, and honey.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  Do yourself a favor. When you see The Quinta Ruban 12-year on the shelf, perhaps in that clearance section of your local liquor store, grab it. Take two if you can. This is an excellent Scotch that features a beautiful nose, plus a delicious palate and finish at an attractive price. Yes, that's a Bottle rating from me. Cheers!


My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System
  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs that you do so responsibly.