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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tuesday Review: Glenmorangie Sampler Pack

The four whiskys reviewed here are available on their own for around $40 to $60 per bottle. Siciliano's Market is currently offering a 4-pack sampler containing one 100ml bottle of each whisky for the price of $31.48.

Glenmorangie Sampler Pack, $31.48
By John Barecki

In Gaelic, Glenmorangie means "glen of great tranquility." The whisky produced at this distillery comes from the home of Scotland's tallest stills, which contribute to lighter, purer spirits. In the 1990s, after changing hands a couple of times following their recreation as a brand, Glenmorangie became the best selling single malt in Scotland. The single malts from here are painstakingly crafted, with some benefitting from the use of extra maturation in specifically produced and exotic wood barrels.

Glenmorangie distillers start the whisky process by traveling to the Ozark mountains in Missouri, searching out oak trees that grow on the north-facing hills. These are chosen because the trees grow slower, leading to wood with a finer grain which in turn allows for the whisky to render even more flavor from the wood. The wood is then cut into staves and allowed to air dry (as opposed to kiln drying). The staves are loaned to the Jack Daniels distillery to obtain bourbon-aged qualities.

Glenmorangie are true pioneers of maturing whisky in different types of wood. By combining their flagship single malt with everything from port wine pipes to Sauternes barrels, they create a whole spectrum of flavors, many of which I've tried to document in my reviews below.

The original Glenmorangie 10 Year has a crisp sweetness leaning on citrus and soft nutty toffee. It is quite creamy, with great lemony citrus and slight caramel that gradually moves to honey in the background. A slight spice accompanies the medium-length finish, followed by some nice vanilla tones ringing out at the end. It makes a great first impression that will cater to Highland whisky fans. The next three styles have the original 10 Year as their base. The finished whisky is put into various exotic barrels and left to slumber for an extra two years, achieving a cacophony of different flavors and aromas that tantalize the senses.

Lasanta in Gaelic stands for warmth and passion. As you consider the work and patience it takes to create sherry, you start to understand the intricacies of this malt. The distillers use Oloroso sherry barrels in the second maturation, allowing the spirit for two years to dig into history. The color is one that a lot of single malt consumers drool over, even though that shouldn't be a deciding factor in your purchase. In the first couple of sniffs there is the ever-present nuttiness found in sherry, and this moves into a light cinnamon with red raisin. On the tongue, the Lasanta is creamy, medium-spiced going to nutty toffee and dark fruit. As this one finishes the sweetness recedes to a slightly spicy dry finish, citrus and hazelnut.

The Quinta Ruban is matured in port pipes, the barrels used in the manufacture of port wine. Spending the extra time in the wood creates a dram like no other. The honey and citrus that are present in the 10 Year are accentuated by the fruitiness imparted by the port wine. It has a fresh and fruity nose and in the mouth you'll find a minty chocolate, followed by a slightly nutty character that envelopes the tongue with a creamy smoothness. The Quinta Ruban lingers like liquid silk, leaving dark chocolate and traces of light orange behind.

Last but not least I come to the Nectar D'Or, which is extra matured in French Sauternes barrels. Sauternes, a dessert wine, is made by selecting Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle grapes that have been infected by botrytis cinerea, also known as noble rot. This "rot" causes the grapes to concentrate flavors and aromas, creating a symphony on the palate. The effect the barrels have on the spirit is intoxicating to the senses. Scents of citrus rind and dates swirl around slight coconut. You are drawn in on the first sip, with a luxurious mouthfeel that contains candy ginger and almond. Nectar D'Or has a deep, syrupy complexity containing lemon, honey, and vanilla creme. It lingers on the palate with a luscious sweetness, as all the flavors gently subside into a smooth finish.

Please visit Siciliano's Market to browse the whiskey and whisky department, which it seems is growing more exciting all the time. 

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