Thursday, March 9, 2023

Review / Glenmorangie Amontillado Cask Finish 12 years old

This new whisky is the fourth bottling in the Barrel Select Release series from the north Highland distillery of Glenmorangie. The Glenmorangie Amontillado Cask Finish 12 years old is exclusive to Australia and the UK and has been crafted by Dr. Bill Lumsden, the Director of Whisky Creation at Glenmorangie. Initial maturation was in ex-bourbon barrels for eight years before being transferred to ex-Amontillado sherry casks sourced by Lumsden for a further four years. It has been bottled at 46% ABV and is non chill-filtered. The Glenmorangie Amontillado Cask Finish 12 years old is exclusive to The Whisky Club Australia and the visitor centre shop in Tain. It can also be purchased via A bottle will cost £75/ $AU135. 

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 Morangie and became Glenmorangie in 1887. It has an annual production capacity of six million litres. The stills are the tallest in Scotland standing at over five metres (16.5 feet). It also uses the hardest water of any Scotch whisky distillery in production, which comes from the nearby Tarlogie Springs. The distillery and brand are currently owned by Moet Hennessey. 
"I have always been a fan of and loved the nuttier, spicier tastes of Amontillado – my favourite style of sherry. It is such a delight to bring its cask influences to our whisky’s signature delicate style for this special release."
Dr. Bill Lumsden.
Our tasting notes 

The colour is deep gold and the nose is highly fragrant and expressive. Sweet aromas of golden syrup, sultana and ripe peach kick things off and are quickly joined a distinct nutty quality - think of hazelnut and walnut in particular - plus something floral. There is also a ginger-like spicy aroma lingering in the background.

On the palate this whisky has a lovely silky and sweet quality. Delicate honeyed notes join with those of vanilla custard to begin with. Then come some heavier notes - imagine the golden syrup from the nose, plus some hazelnut praline and a hint of orange oil. There is plenty of fruit too, especially canned tropical fruit and peaches, plus dried fruits such as juicy sultana and candied orange. The mix is delicious.

The early praline note then develops and takes the whisky in a drier and more nutty direction. Toasted hazelnuts and walnuts lead the way and are joined by hints of almond oil and cocoa bean. There is a growing spiciness also - think of gingerbread first and foremost, followed by clove and cinnamon. Some late savoury notes add further depth and complexity in the form of chamoix leather and old cigar box.

The finish is long and enjoyable. It gets drier, oakier and spicier with time and ends with a delicious mouthwatering quality. The combination between these notes and the sweeter fruitier ones is fabulous. The honey, expressive fruit and vanilla fades to leave the warming gingerbread and some toasted oak to linger.

What's the verdict?

This is a lovely whisky from Glenmorangie. Ex-Amontillado sherry casks are not commonly used to mature Scotch whisky, but this is a bottling that makes you wonder why. The sympathetic casking has married with and complimented Glenmorangie's light and fruity spirit superbly. 
The nuttiness and spiciness elevates the whisky to a new level and makes this an early contender to be in our Top 10 whiskies of the year. If you are in Australia or the UK, then you should grab it while you can. We will be.

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