Class: Highland (Coastal East) Single Malt Scotch
Reviewer: Andrew Owen
The Glenmorangie distillery sits on the east coast of the Scottish highlands north of the north shore of Speyside. Despite its proximity to the coast, Glenmorangie produces a gentle and unassuming malt with very little peat or maritime influence. Glenmorangie malt's signature mildness has much to do with the shape of the stills used, which have very long necks, causing the spirit to undergo a "reflux" which ultimately results in a milder distillate.
Glenmorangie has been around since the 19th century, but has undergone several expansions since its birth. Today, it is one of the best selling single malt whiskies in the world, and produces a massive amount of whisky using 4 wash stills and 4 spirit stills. Glenmorangie ages all of its whisky on site in 14 different aging warehouses (10 dunnage, 4 racked) which all still have earthen floors.
Currently owned by "luxury goods" giant Louis Vuitton-Moet Hennessy (LVMH), Glenmorangie produces a number of innovative cask finish and special release whiskies. Nectar D'Or (which is Gaelic for "golden nectar") is one such cask finished single malt, and is a year round release that uses French Sauternes dessert wine casks as part of its aging process.
- 12 year age stated, spending 10 years in ex-bourbon barrels plus 2 years in ex-Sauternes cask.
- Non-chill filtered and has not been artificially colored.
- Bottled at 46% ABV.
Nose: Thick clover honey, sweet grapes, and cane sugar sweetness. Some floral notes. Brings white dessert wine to mind. Its amazing that there is no added sweetening agents in this, just malt, water, and lots of time in oak. Decadent.
Palate: A rush of thick, unctuous, unprocessed honey and rich malty sweetness. Low entry burn that fades quickly to reveal additional white chocolate. A bit of nutmeg and the faintest hint of salt round things out. Luxuriously sweet but not cloying. Thick mouthfeel. This is dessert in a glass.
Finish: Fading honey, white grape, and malty sweetness that linger for a medium length finish, leaving a delicious whisper of the dram on the tongue.
Buying Recommendation: Buy it now!* I've put an asterisk next to my recommendation because I've started to see prices fluctuate wildly for this malt. When I purchased this bottle, it was $65, and at that price it's a must buy. But with some stores hiking its price tag up to $85+, well, that's a steep number for a 12 year malt. Nonetheless, this great stuff that should appeal to almost anyone.
The Rating Scale
At WBSE we use a true 100 point scale for scoring to allow whiskeys to further differentiate themselves (as opposed to a letter grade scale where 90% of whiskeys fall between 78-92). This allows you to more easily compare scores between different whiskeys. Here is how the scale breaks down:
1-49: Varying degrees of bad
60-69: Better than average
90+: truly exceptional
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