Glenmorangie's Library of Finishes

I only recently discovered the fine work of the The Sixteen Men of Tain in the form of Glenmorangie: The Original (their ten year expression) and was impressed by the depth of flavors. It stood up quite nicely against my “daily” dram of Glenlivet 12 (I don’t drink it daily… but I easily could!) and was comparably priced, so it was nice to discover something I could enjoy if I wanted a slight change of pace.

So this weekend, in a trip to New York, we stopped by Viscount Wines and Liqours with some friends to pick up wine for their wine tasting party. As they shopped for wine, i wandered over to the scotch section and took a look. I wasn’t specifically looking for Glenmorangie but when I saw the unmistakable amber box, I noticed there were several right beside it.

As it turns out, Glenmorangie has about half a dozen special finishes:

  • Lasanta – Finished in Spanish Oloroso sherry casks
  • Quinta Ruban – Finished in Portugese port pipes/casks
  • Nectar D’Or – Finished in Sauternes casks, Sauternes is a French dessert wine
  • Sonnalta PX – Finished in Pedro Ximenez Sherry casks
  • Astar – Matured entirely in “Artisan casks”

Several other distilleries offer finishes in sherry and port pipes, after years in a bourbon cask, but Glenmorangie is the first one I’ve seen that offers a version finished in Sauternes casks. (upon further research online, I see now that several distilleries offer Sauternes finishes)

(Photo: rollanb)

Scotch Night: Jura, Laphroaig, Glenmorangie, Chivas Regal, Macallan, Highland Park

I mentioned last week that having a Scotch Night was a great way to sample a wide variety of scotches without spending a wide variety of dollars. I must admit, the idea to write the article come from the fact that my friends and I would be having one of these Scotch Nights the very next day! (1/16/09)

So, the roster was:

  • Jura 18
  • Laphroiag 10 & a quarter casks version
  • Glenmorangie 10
  • Chivas Regal 18 (our only blend)
  • Macallan 15
  • Highland Park 12

Jura-18yo-bottle-and-cartonThe Jura 18 was a bottle I picked up coming back from England last Thanksgiving and I was eager to try it because it wasn’t available here in the United States. The Isle of Jura 18 Year Old is a 40% abv scotch and the only scotch from that island. My memory of the Jura is that it’s sweet and very soft, no doubt a product of its age, and it definitely captures the mood Jura tries to invoke, which is a celebration of the island life.

The Isle of Jura itself is 16 miles off the coast of Scotland, near Islay, and measures only 30 miles long by 7 miles wide, a population of only 185. The main settlement on Jura is a village known as Craighouse where they distill Isle of Jura. What’s most interesting is that there is no ferry connection to mainland Scotland, travel must be done through Islay, though that connection, or its heavy peat, doesn’t come through in the whiskey!

chivas_regal_18The Chivas Regal 18 was the only blend of the bunch and headquartered in Speyside. My novice palate had trouble with the Chivas Regal 18 because the spiciness tripped up the fruity flavors, having both really threw me for a loop. I could definitely taste both but I couldn’t get past the spiciness to really enjoy the fruit (I love spicy food) and spiciness isn’t something I typically taste in scotch, further confusing me a little.

A little bit of history, Chivas Regal is produced in the oldest working distillery in the Highlands of Scotland, the Strathisla Distillery.

Those were some notes I had from our Scotch Night. With each night, I’m slowly developing a better palate and a better sense of the scotches that I enjoy. In prior scotch nights, I discovered I enjoyed peatiness and smokiness in moderation (Laphroaig and Lagavulin!) but liked the fruitier and more vanilla-y scotches for longer stretches.

Oh, one other thing we did during scotch night, besides eat and drink, was watch The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly… which was a lot longer than we thought it was. 🙂