The latest (and very special) release from Glenmorangie had its first Australian outing on 17th October when it was showcased as the Welcome Dram at the Spring Tasting of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society in Sydney.
As attendees entered the room for the tasting evening, they were handed a dram of this deliciously-amber looking whisky, but were not told what it was.
A short while later during the official welcome and introduction for the night, a quick straw poll was taken with the question, “Who liked this whisky?” Every hand in the room went up, and it was then that its identity and story was told.
Glenmorangie Taghta (pronounced too-tah) is being billed as a crowd-sourced whisky. It’s not all too dissimilar to what Glenlivet did with their Guardian’s release late last year. The difference on this occasion is that the crowd (the so-called “Cask Masters”) came from 30 different countries and participated in every part of the process: The bottle design, the labelling, the photography, and – most importantly of all – the selection of the whisky.
Overseen by Dr Bill Lumsden, Glenmorangie’s head of distillation and whisky creation, three different whiskies were trialled for this project, all of them cask finishes, or “Extra Matured” as Glenmorangie prefer to term it. Imagine taking three separate batches of Glenmorangie The Original, and then giving each one a second maturation in casks of Grand Cru Burgundy, Grand Cru Bordeaux, and Manzanilla sherry, respectively. It’s a tantalising prospect, and all three were great whiskies. (Sydney members of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society got to try all three when Dr Bill Lumsden presented them at an SMWS tasting during his visit to Sydney in April, 2013). However, there can be only one winner, and it was the Manzanilla cask that got the green light.
Glenmorangie’s whisky is a complex and feature-packed spirit by itself, and the marriage with Manzanilla has taken this in a wonderfully spicy, salty, juicy, and flavoursome direction. It’s sweet and fruity, yet with enough spice, oak, and texture to satisfy your tastebuds and assure your palate that this is a seriously good whisky. It’s the salty tang, however, that I find the most intriguing and appealing. In serving it as a welcome dram, the Society almost did it a disservice by presenting it as an aperitif. However, the whisky’s body and depth of flavour makes this a perfect dram for matching with food or simply for unwinding with as a digestif at the end of the night. Bottled at 46% and non-chillfiltered, it’ll keep the serious maltheads happy.
Being an extremely limited release (just 12,000 bottles worldwide), it’s simply not possible to distribute this through the usual retail channels, and any Aussies wanting to add this to their cupboard will need to purchase through the Moet Hennessy Collection at www.moet-hennessy-collection.com.au at $174.
I grabbed a few quiet moments to myself and spent some time with this whisky to produce the following tasting notes:
Nose: Signature notes of Glenmorangie’s sandalwood, vanilla, spice, and orange citrus. There’s also raspberry jam (bordering on jam doughnuts with cream) and a fragrant flower bed ripe with gardenia.
Palate: A thick and juicy mouthfeel carries malt, cinnamon quills, more orange (some choc-orange, perhaps?), tea buns, and – again – that teasing saltiness. It borders on chicken salt, such is the savoury nature of the dram.
Finish: Some injection of oak arrives on the scene, adding a touch of dryness and perhaps a hint of bitterness.
Comments: Immensely complex, and if you’re the sort of person that likes to get lost in the nose of a whisky, then this one will keep you entertained for ages. If a distillery is going to come out with a new or different expression, then you want it to be a different shade or colour (figuratively speaking) to its stablemates. This whisky does exactly that – it takes the Original and adds new nuances and experiences, without ever treading on the toes of the rest of Glenmorangie’s Extra Matured range.