Whisky Review: The Whisky Agency x The Nectar Secret Highland 1987 Aged 31 Years

Style: Sherry, Spicy and Complex

Nose:
Fragrant forest berries compote and waxy camphor build on a subtle but firm copper spine. Interesting combination. Vanilla sticks and vanilla cream with a little cranberry swirl. Cold pressed almond oil and strawberry yogurt; Peppermint growing strong over time. The spice is picking up a pretty good momentum in the middle, and the aroma does not feel tired at all. No way I would guess this is a 31-year-old if I am served blind. Icy, strong, sweet and dry at the same time. Quite unique, I like it.

Palate:
Begins with blotches of red fruits on the palate, the sherry influence is more apparent now. The tone gradually morphs back into forest berries while a delicious molten chocolate layer develops underneath. Excellent structure. Cranberries and strawberries floating on top of a tropical fruit punch. Camphor and peppermint continue to stay strong, then comes a moment of realisation that the copper has been hiding at the bottom all along… Vanilla slips to lower order while malt reverts back to barley, a rather dry tail.

Finish:
A sherry comeback as expected. Ruby grapes chorusing beautifully. Love it.

Thoughts:
This is not an ordinary 30 years old, mellow and integrated kind of dram. Instead, it feels there is plenty of power in this seemingly delicate distillate, which does not yield to the sherry despite a pretty strong influence from it. Together with the creamy texture, sweet matured fruits, drier malt and herbal elements, it becomes a spirit with distinct architectures that offers plenty to savour and contemplate. I was told that this is a Glenmorangie, and yeah, it feels like it. An excellent one as well.

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

[50.1% | Independent Bottling | 1987 Distilled | 2019 Bottled | Sherry Hogshead | Cask Strength | Single Cask | Non Coloured | Non Chill Filtered | **-]

-Esmond

Whisky Review: Glenmorangie Allta Private Edition No.10

Style: Sweet and Clean

Nose:

Fragrant white peaches and apricots gently wrapped around by distinct grainy notes – oat, multigrain bread, muesli, etc. Floral aroma in the form of beer hops, very yeasty, in a nice way. Pear drops lightly coated with vanilla cream, some hay and chartreuse, bit grassy, earthy and musky. Interesting. Dry spice and black peppercorn lightly roasted by fire. Not your usual Glenmorangie, but very nice.

Palate:

Ah, the house style returns. Glazed ginger, pear drops taking a hint of grassiness, all sweet and clean. Cereal thoroughly brushed around the core, beer hops and vanilla humming softly at the backseat. Honey mead and just a dab of lemon balm waxing and smoothing the edges. Followed by some Bourbon cask traits, vanilla and oak emerges towards the end. Fresh and delicious.

Finish:

Residues of candied orange and ginger continue to linger, faint hints of vanilla oat to finish.

Thoughts:

Blink of an eye and we have reached Private Edition Number 10, time flies, doesn’t it? Now Allta is slightly different to its predecessors – instead of cask variations, it has switched its focus to a local wild yeast which replaces the regular stuff that the rest of Scotland is using and bottled on at a slightly higher abv. Result? The impact is rather obvious, we have a Glenmorangie with extra “yeasty” presence, especially its aroma. The yeast is definitely doing something alright, but I wonder if the translation is that straightforward? On the other hand, the palate is more akin to the house style of Glenmorangie, maybe the casks utilized here are less active and intent to let the distillate shine. Probably a rather technical dram but it is rich, clean and sweet with nuances building nicely around the core. Solid drop.

☆ [Recommended]

[51.2% | Original Bottling | Limited Edition | 2018 Bottled | Non Chill Filtered | No Age Statement | *]

-Esmond

Whisky Review: Glenmorangie 19 Years Old

Style: Sweet and Bright

Nose:

Orange blossom powdered by icing sugar. A turmeric touch, ginger slices lifting the sweetness beautifully. Glazed pears and navel oranges tip-toeing on copper pipelines, peppermint drops falling on top of white timber. Fresh oakiness. Quite nice.

Palate:

Orange confectioneries with a zesty ring. Lemon quencher with a drop of rose water thinly dispersed on the surface. Pistachios ice-cream undertone somehow guiding the orange-ginger spices all the way up and beaming positively. Honey malt, vanilla milk and earthy spices knitting nicely together and form a beautiful layer at the back. Almonds and dried apricots to finish.

Finish:

A thin sheet of vanilla-fruits rolling out, apricots and barley slowly building on top of it.

Thoughts:

A delightful bourbon cask Glenmorangie – Sweet, bright and clean. Sometimes vatted expressions tend to lose a bit of roundness and finesse without the aid of a sherry component. But in this case, it compensates nicely with an injection of extra freshness which ties everything together and takes the spirit to another level. Another good showing of the distillate building on a neat structure. Impressive drop.

☆ [Recommended]

[43% • Original Bottling • Circa 2017 • Travel Retail Exclusive • *]

-Esmond

Dram Review: Glenmorangie 25 Years Old

[43%・Bottled circa 2015・Official Bottling・Discontinued General Release]

Nose:

Starts out with quite a lovely musk that is heavily Sherried, albeit obviously without that cask strength oomph one is used to with single-cask-Sherry-bombs. The juicy raisins and ripe orchard fruits give a lovely tone with the base notes formed of chocolate and oak along with hints of marzipan and freshly baked pastry, it’s certainly poised and restrained. In time though there is a wee sulphur note noticeable deep in the background along with some coffee ground notes.

Palate & Finish:

Raisin and brown sugar syrup with a generous splash of spices, cinnamon and ginger sifted atop poached figs and prunes and dressed with orange blossom drops.  It’s quite a stylish delivery.

A medium finish with a subtle blend of earthy espresso and cream. Bitter dark chocolate draws the focus from the sweetness of casks towards the elegant tannins of the oak.

Thoughts:

The dram is appealingly sultry in the sort of way Eva Green portrays a female fatale.. A very well executed flagship whisky that showcases Glenmorangie’s best features when aged gracefully.

[Recommended]

-Nicholas

Whisky Review: Glenmorangie Private Edition Spios

Style: Spicy and Sweet

Nose:

Delicate, graceful aroma of glazed pears with caramel popcorn. Almost sticky sweet for a moment. Perfumed tones, candied flowers melting softly. Orange blossom tightroping over a ginger field. More spices surfacing as you dig deeper, quick dab of raw grassiness at the back. Nice.

Palate:

Powerful ginger attack on the front. Candy floss side stepping and showing more glazed pear tip-toeing on melted toffees. Lemon marshmallows, nutmeg and a touch of five spices brushes on the side. The sweet core gradually contracts and shows the grassy facet of Glenmorangie. White chocolate, vanilla cereal notes. A swift ginger crawl-back whilst more dryness is shown at the back. Finish with tingling spices, a few mineral flicks and low-key malt.

Finish:

Vanilla grain, a small block of dark chocolate with ester fruits coming back. Ginger drop finish.

Thoughts:

A punchy but nicely balanced Glenmorangie. The candied fruit sweetness is intelligently utilized as the counterweight to the powerful ginger spice. I suppose ex-rye cask can be tricky to play with but the expression has been nicely manoeuvred to achieve a great equilibrium on every level. While it is banging strongly on the spicy and sweet theme, the distillate manages to shine through nicely. A classic Glenmorangie with a twist. Personally, I love a rich Glenmorangie, I am unsure that ex-rye is the perfect synergy cask type to bring out the best of Glenmorangie’s spirit. But I am just being picky here, it is a delicious, bright and fun malt.

✓ [Recommended if you like the style/ distillery]

[46% • Original Bottling • Limited Edition • 2016 Bottled • Non Chill Filtered • No Age Statement • ~Aged 10 Years • Fully Matured in ex-Rye Whiskey casks • Private Edition No. 9 • t]

-Esmond

Whisky Review: Glenmorangie Signet

Style: Sweet and Rich

Nose:
Semi-dry, caramel and coffee ground aroma on the nose. Java cake garnished with grated ginger, chocolate milkshake shaking up. Unhurried lemon and orange citrus floating up to the top, all bright and shiny now. Aroma started from a deeper level and brightens up overtime. Quite nice.

Palate:
A richer Glenmorangie than usual. The sweetness begins from solid, round, dark cherries, then the tone levitates to show more citruses, mostly blood orange with a casual few lemon drops on the side. Overripe fruits chip in, and the rhythm descends as chocolate malt cake enters. Spicy ginger candies walking in a parallel line. Roasted marshmallows finish with a hint of wood smoke.

Finish:
The roasted marshmallows now comes with Cappuccino while stewed fruits strapped on the back seat. Finish with molten milk chocolate. Elegant and satisfying finish.

Thoughts:
I love rich Glenmorangies and this is one of them, whether it is achieved by cask influence or chocolate malt. It injects an extra set/range of flavours and provides a nice depth to the expression. The under layer of chocolate, coffee and dark fruit notes supplement the spirit beautifully. Meticulous progression. I really don’t mind modern “experimental” whiskies, especially when the end result is so satisfying. Very close to 2 stars.

☆ [Recommended]

[46% • Original Bottling • General Release • Non Chill Filtered • *+]

-Esmond

Whisky Review: Glenmorangie Nectar d’Or Aged 12 Years

Style: Sweet and Delicate

Nose:
Warm vanilla lightly brushed with drier malt, which is nicely supplemented by the delicious honey apple core. Sweetness in the malt offers an incredible depth, within the creamy almond cake hides faint notes of copper, mineral and dry spices. While delicate peppermint nudges from behind. Bright, balanced and smooth.

Palate:
Nice injection of vanilla which teams up beautifully with sticky apricots. The balance between white grapes Sauternes and the Glenmorangie spirit is impeccable – Offering plenty of honey apple, lemon zest, almond cookies and delicate floral touches, very nice… Peppermint and ginger spice fires up. Creamy texture, while undertone slowly emerges. Earthy spices dusting up, copper with herbal kiss. Light, cereal finish.

Finish:
Restrained apricots honey, while cereal malt taking over with a bit lime zest. Lime soda finish.

Thoughts:
Nectar d’Or has been long regarded as one of the top quality malts from the house of Glenmorangie, and I agree wholeheartedly – Easy drinking on the front but also it offers marvellous complexity for you to savour and appreciate. On the surface you are presented with Sauternes sweetness which synergizes so well with the spirit, and the sweetness is not cloying at all. Underneath the fruity, candied presentation unwraps plenty of nuances for you to explore. Beautifully crafted.

☆ [Recommended]

[46%・2010 Bottled・Original Bottling・Non Chill Filtered・General Release • *+]

-Esmond

Dram Review: Glenmorangie Dornoch

[43.0%・NAS・Bottled Circa 2014・Official Bottling・Limited Release]

Nose:

Thin but likeable aromas of toasted oak, marshmallow, anise and pear sweets, in some ways highlighting the clean, soft distillate.  It feels young but has this rustic countryside charm with its faint floral notes and artificial vanilla essence.

Palate & Finish:

A pleasant mix of citrus and barley, light-bodied delivery bringing out rose petals and lavender essence, green apple pie and orange peels.  The mid-palate reveals the youthfulness of the whisky with some new make characters being quite noticeable though that’s mellowed out by some wee milk chocolate creaminess.

Some stewed granny smith apples in the finish, it grows slightly bitter.

Thoughts:

Quite a refreshing dram with the lightness of the distillate retained despite the Amontillado finishing, though this does feel a tad on the young side..

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Glenmorangie Grand Vintage Malt 1990

[43%・ Distilled in 1990・Bottled in 2016・Official Bottling・Limited Release]

Nose:

The nose is courteously restrained, mildly floral and showing its greenness.  Some faint suggestions of Oloroso amidst the more obvious caramelisation of the Bourbon barrels.  Green mango, Lotus Biscoff, golden honey and caramelised banana with a sprinkle of white pepper and cut basil.

Palate & Finish:

An uplifting delivery of soft white grapes on a buttery undertone.  The light top notes of the Glenmorangie spirit is on display as well as the fine minerals.  Tony declared that the dram reminded him of Tequila and there are indeed hints of smoked agave which help roping out the wee earthy notes.

Light finish, traces of brown sugar, burnt butter and white chocolate.

Thoughts:

Distilleries tend to play it safe with the first release of a new series, but the Grand Vintage Malt 1990 here is definitely atypical and I was pleasant surprised.  Certainly a charismatic dram with a display of these fine nuances that typically dip beneath the various cask finishes.  The whole experience is lifted by the bareness of spirit.

Thank you Mr. Foster, the LVMH team and EVH PR for the invite, and cheers to Meat & Wine Co Barangaroo for hosting us.

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Glenmorangie 10 Years Old (Bottled Circa 1980s)

[70° Proof・10 Years Old・Bottled Circa 1980s・Official Bottling・General Release]

Nose:

Chocolate coated caramel and red tea on the nose, the raisin influence is seemingly bigger than the current release. Vanilla and pear nectar with a delightful strawberry cream note that lightly sips out after a while.

Palate & Finish:

Plenty of strawberry fructose on the palate, brushed with vanilla sugar. It’s got this strawberry swirl lolly note, well complimented by some lemon twists.

The strawberry note fades into a mild finish.

Thoughts:

This doesn’t leave you in awe like some of the other whiskies back then but it is still almost unfathomable that this elegant little gem was just an entry level expression at that time..

-Nicholas