Thursday, November 5, 2015

Review - Glenmorangie 'A Midwinter Night's Dram'

The famous north Highland distillery of Glenmorangie has announced a limited edition single malt designed for the winter months. A Midwinter Night's Dram has been crafted by Dr. Bill Lumsden, the Director of Whisky Distilling & Creation at Glenmorangie, and is a marriage of ex-bourbon casks made of American white oak and ex-Oloroso sherry casks.  The bottling pulls inspiration from the tradition of Glenmorangie giving its distillery staff a bottle of whisky on St. Andrew's day at the end of November to help them through the tough winter months in the Highlands.

Glenmorangie was founded in 1843 by William Matheson and was originally named as Morangie. It is located in the town of Tain, which is about an hours drive north of Inverness, and took its current name in 1887. Glenmorangie is one of Scotland's larger single malt distilleries with an annual production capacity of six million litres. The copper pot stills are the tallest of their type in Scotland and stand over five metres (16.5 feet) tall. The distillery and brand are currently owned by Moet Hennessey, who purchased them in 2004. Glenmorangie is currently the fourth biggest selling single malt in the world.

A Midwinter Night's Dram is bottled at 43% ABV and will only be available in the UK, initially exclusively in the Sainsbury's supermarket chain before wider distribution in mid-November.  It will also be available via  The recommended retail price is £40 a bottle.

Our tasting notes
The colour is deep golden yellow and the nose is initially quite lively and fresh.  There are immediate aromas of dark dried fruits (especially raisins and apple), bitter oranges and burnt caramel or treacle.  It feels warm, sugary and sweet.  Underneath are further aromas of malted cereals and cinnamon.

On the palate, the warmth and sweetness from the nose are the first elements to hit the tastebuds.  There is an earthy and peppery spice (think of a combination of cinnamon, ginger and white pepper) that mingles with an obvious note of brown sugar.  This evolves to become more reminiscent of butterscotch with time.  Then the fruity characteristics come through - there are notes of soft, almost stewed, pears and apples and these are complimented by hints of malty cereals and dark dried fruit, especially raisins again.  A lasting bitterness rounds the palate off and this is reminiscent of burnt orange and unripe banana.

The bitterness carries through to the finish, particularly the orange, and it is this and increasing malty and ginger notes that dominate.  The sugary sweetness, pear/apple and dried fruits fade and this makes the finish feel slightly short.

What's the verdict?
This whisky is an interesting offering from Glenmorangie.  The famous distillery has put a fresh and easy-drinking single malt on the market, which has elements of Christmas-like flavours (dried fruits, orange, ginger and cinnamon etc) and will suit the upcoming festive season.  This gives consumers something different and at a decent price without going up a price bracket in the core Glenmorangie range.  An enjoyable dram.


liam said...

Well,that's a bit odd.
High West has been releasing port/limosine finished version of their rendevous rye called...A Midwinter Night's Dram.

Anonymous said...

Is it going to be like Budweiser (US) vs. Budvar Battle over the name rights, but with reversed continents of origin ( of David vs Goliath)?
One of many links discussing it is here: