Thursday, February 10, 2022

Review / Glenmorangie The Accord, The Elementa & The Tribute

These three whiskies form the core range of travel retail exclusive single malts from the north Highalnd distillery of Glenmorangie. They were launched in Autumn 2021 as the world began travelling again following 18 months of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions. They are available now in airports globally and have been created by Dr. Bill Lumsden - the Director of Distilling, Whisky Creation & Whisky Stocks at Glenmorangie.

The Accord is bottled at 12 years old and 43% ABV, and is a classic marriage of ex-bourbon and ex-Oloroso sherry barrels. It costs £59/ $79 US. The Elementa has been predominantly matured in ex-bourbon barrels before being finished in charred virgin oak casks. It is also bottled at 43% ABV and costs £68/ $92 US. The Tribute is the oldest at 16 years old and has been created from a 'heritage spirit batch' matured in ex-bourbon casks. The spirit is lightly peated. It is bottled at 46% ABv and costs £85/ $115 US.

Glenmorangie is one of the biggest selling single malt Scotch whisky brands in the world and was founded in 1843 by William Matheson. It is located in the north Highland town of Tain. The distillery was originally named as Morangie and changed to Glenmorangie in 1887. It has an annual production capacity of six million litres and the stills are the tallest in Scotland. They stand at over five metres (16.5 feet) tall. It also uses the hardest water of any Scotch whisky distillery in production - this bubbles up from the nearby Tarlogie Springs. The distillery and brand are currently owned by Moet Hennessey.


Our tasting notes

Glenmorangie The Accord 12 years old
The colour is deep golden yellow with a hint of amber and the nose is rich and fruity. Aromas of toffee, caramel and dried fruits (especially raisin and candied orange) rise first. They are followed by further aromas of dried apple, cereal bars, heather honey and a hint of almond. 
On the palate this whisky follows a similar path to the nose. It is rich and fruity. Juicy dried fruits (think of raisin and sultana), crumbly brown sugar and caramel notes lead the way. These are joined by candied orange peel and hints of marzipan and milk chocolate. There is also a background green vegetal note that is difficult to pinpoint. A distinct woodiness comes through early on and evolves well. This gives grip and a drying oaky quality, which is accentuated with a pinch of baking spice. The finish continues on this theme and this aids the length.


Glenmorangie The Elementa 14 years old
The colour is pale gold and the nose is delicate, sweet and woody. Aromas of dessicated coconut, vanilla and honey mingle with those of white chocolate, icing sugar and candied lemons. Hints of jasmine, orange blossom oil and fresh sawdust sit in the background. 

On the palate this whisky is equally as delicate, sweet and woody. It has an immediate freshness and uplifting vibrancy. Notes of vanilla, coconut and freshly sawn oak lead the way and offer a delicious introduction. Further notes of green apple, white chocolate and a good pinch of baking spice follow. Underneath are hints of candied lemon, marshmallow and that orange blossom oil from the nose. The finish is slightly short and becomes quite dry and oaky. It also becomes a little hot and peppery, especially at the end.


Glenmorangie The Tribute 16 years old
The colour is pale lemon yellow and the nose is full of sweet cereals, vanilla and a whiff of earthy smoke. Further aromas begin to develop - think of lime marmalade with a hint of tropical fruits, especially pineapple and peach. 
On the palate this whisky is initially sweet and sugary but the earthy peat smoke undertones quickly develop. The smokiness has a softness and sweetness to it as it gently licks around the other elements. It sits in the background and becomes increasingly savoury with time. Notes of vanilla, white chocolate and cookie dough are prominent and joined by hints of walnut, lime zest and dried pineapple. The finish is of decent length and sees the sweetness fade slowly. The background smoke then comes to the fore and gives a pleasant warmth and dryness.

What's the verdict?
This travel retail range is interesting as it pushes Glenmorangie in three different and very distinct directions. The Elementa is classic Glenmorangie - bourbon cask (although with the twist of virgin oak on this occasion) and packed with vanilla and oak notes. The Accord is much richer and shows the distinct influence of good sherry casks, and is reminiscent of the Lasanta expression from the core range. The Tribute offers the rare chance to taste a smoky Glenmorangie. 
Which is our favourite? That is a difficult call as one of us chose The Accord and the other The Elementa. We would definitely recommend checking these whiskies out next time you are passing through an airport.

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