October 7, 2007

Glenmorangie's new finishes

Bill Dowd photos

They're doing very interesting things in the Glen of Tranquility, maturing some of their whiskies in non-traditional ways. Owner Moet Hennessy's changes to the line that produces the top-selling single malt Scotch in Scotland rely on different finishes for already-aged whiskies. I had the opportunity to try several 92-proof "extra matured" whiskies, as the company is calling the new offerings, at a special tasting at the British Consul General's residence in Manhattan.

Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban:

This premium Scotch whisky goes through a pair of maturation steps, and it shows in the final product.

The whisky has been aged 10 years in used bourbon barrels, then transferred for two years' extra aging in port pipes. The result is a lovely combination of the essences that make bourbon so unique as well as the additional smoothing from the port-soaked wood.

Quinta Ruban envelops the tongue in a warm, smooth coating then moves on to release notes of chocolate, caramel and even a touch of mint. The complexity of flavors and aromas make this a whisky worth lingering over.

Glenmorangie Nectar D'Or:

Sauternes is a sweet, delicate French wine, usually served as a dessert wine, made from Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle grapes that have been affected by Botrytis cinerea, the "noble rot." Thus, the characteristics it imparts to the 10-year-old Glenmorangie during the two-year extra aging process are truly unique.

The Nectar D'Or contains some of the distinct flavor notes of the partially raisined Sauternes wine, with a pleasing golden color. Fruit, honey, a touch of spice and a long, lingering finish make this a desireable whisky.

Note: Glenmorangie also is offering Lasanta, a 10-year-old Scotch matured for two more years in used sherry casks.

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