Saturday, August 22, 2009

Glenmorangie Tasting

This is another in an occasional series of (OT) posts about whiskey. A whiskey tasting isn't wholly dissimilar to a wine tasting. You look at the same things, colour in the glass, aroma, taste, finish etc. And I would maintain there is as least as much variety in single malt scotch whiskeys as there would be in a given region of wine. Although there are only about 100 single malt Whiskeys in Scotland and...the metaphor breaks down so I'll stop now.

Anyway, myself, GS and Grandad D made our way to the Westbury on Thursday evening, after a quick pit stop in Waggamamma (Lots of Whiskey on empty stomach = recipe for disaster), where O'Briens had organised the tasting with Glanmorangie's master blender Rachel Barrie, one of two, I think female Master blenders in Scotland. After a quick powerpoint history of Glenmorangie the tasting finally began.

Tasting Note 1: On the night we were encouraged to taste the drams neat first then add I part water to 2 parts whiskey. I tend to drink almost all whiskeys neat almost all the time which is contrary to the accepted wisdom that a few drops of water "open up the whiskey". I prefer the strength and zing in the mouth the undiluted expression. I sometimes add water to Cask strength whiskeys as they are often just too big on their own. We did as requested anyway and in some cases it worked, in others, not so much.

Name: Glenmorangie Original
Age: 10 years
Colour: Golden
Aroma: Honey
Taste: Fruity, sweet and spicy. As Rachel said this is a very complex whiskey for the price (c€40). They analysed it using a Gas Chromatograph and found 143 distinct aromas. (not on the night obviously). I have a bottle of this at the moment and I love it.
Water: Didn't try

Name: Glenmorangie Lasanta
Age: 12 years - Standard 10 years plus 2 years in Oloroso Sherry casks
Colour: Dark Gold
Aroma: Sweetness, fruit
Taste: Quite fruity, but not overly so. Warming, taste all over the mouth and a very long finish. My favourite on the night.
Water: Didn't try

Name: Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban
Age: 12 years -Standard 10 years plus 2 years in Port pipes.
Colour: Copper
Aroma: Wood, nuts, oranges
Taste: Chocolate, mint, spices, clean aftertaste.Much narrower flavour in the mouth. This is an intriguing whiskey that I will return to, complex and unusual flavours.
Water: No - not a good idea

Name: Glenmorangie Nectar D'Or
Age: 12 years - Standard 10 years plus 2 years in Sauternes barriques.
Colour: Golden
Aroma: Sweetness, fruits
Taste: Quite sweet but a little soft and oddly zingy on the tongue. Not for me, this one.
Water: No - not a good idea

Name: Glenmorangie 18
Age: 18 years - 15 years in ex-Bourbon casks and 3 years in Sherry casks.
Colour: Deep Gold
Aroma: Oranges
Taste: Perfume, leather, oranges. A huge whiskey with a big full, complex flavour and a lingering finish.
Water: OK with a drop.

Name: Ardbeg 10
Age: 10 years
Colour: Pale
Aroma: Peat, lots of.
Taste: A big stonking peaty Islay malt. Salty, savoury and smokey. I'd like to taste this against 10yo Laphroaig and 16yo Lagavulin and see how it matches up to these (my fave Islays).
Water: Works well here.

Tasting Note 2: per Rachel - 60% of the flavour of the whiskey comes from the maturation/wood.

Tasting Note 3: per Rachel - When sampling neat whiskey you are really tasting the maturation, whereas when you add water you are tasting the flavous imparted by the distillation.

Last Note: I met Dave, I think, from the Irish Whiskey Society at the event, website here. If you are in Dublin and are interested in all Whisk(e)ys (not just Irish), this seems like the place to be.

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