Glenmorangie 25yo “Quarter Century” (43%, OB, Circa 2012)

And here is another entry-level malt. Anyhow, it is when you give your wife a Luis Vuitton bag very month. If you’re more middle class, or like me, no class at all, you might want to get the 18yo “Extremely Rare” which isn’t actually extremely rare but compared to this 25yo is extremely affordable and quite nice. The 18yo scored a quite nice 87 Points. The 18yo has spent all of it’s time in Bourbon casks, save for 30% of the Whisky which was transferred into Oloroso Butts (or Puncheons) after 15 years, to get a three-year Oloroso finish. This 25yo is a blend of Whisky from Bourbon and Oloroso casks, but also contains Whisky from casks that once held Burgundy Wine. Pinot Noir (red) and/or Chardonnay (white). It is unclear if the Burgundy part is a full maturation or only a finish, well the same goes for the Oloroso Sherry as well.

Glenmorangie 25yoColor: Orange gold.

Nose: Waxy, dusty with old wood. Old bottle. Well if anything, this does show its age.  A sharpish winey note. Burnt oak and a distinct sweetish toffee note. Very creamy mocha and milk chocolate with hints of creamy latex paint. Duo Penotti. Hints of oak, cigarette smoke and wine acidity. paper dust. The aroma’s seem to weaken with time. Fragile.

Taste: Strong sweet entry. Red sweet and sugared cherries, so quite some wine influence. Toffee is in here too. Liquid candy. Light, slightly too low in ABV if you ask me. Similar burnt note to the nose. Old wood. Easily recognizable is the American oak ageing. Creamy vanilla and mocha coffee. Slight hint of oaken bitterness. Easily drinkable. Seems simpler that I initially thought and the finish has medium length.

This proves is for me. If you want a Glenmorangie from the current range, I prefer the ones with an age statement, the older ones that is, over the ones that are named after Hyundai cars. The secret here is that the 18yo is maybe a better and definitely much affordable Whisky than this 25yo. Sure, this 25yo is a great piece of work and compared to the 18yo is slightly more complex, but the 18yo seems to be the better balanced Whisky of the two. Did I mention the humongous price difference between the two?

Points: 86

Glenmorangie 10yo “Traditional 100 Proof” (57.2%, OB, 1 Litre, 2005)

Next up an oldie from 2005. A cask strength Glenmorangie. We don’t see many of them these days, especially one that isn’t touched by any special cask. The back label mentions that this unchillfiltered Whisky came straight from the cask made from mountain oak. So what kind of wood is this? My guess is American Oak from the Ozark Mountains, Arkansas USA. Hinting that this is a 10yo Glenmorangie fully matured in Bourbon casks and bottled at cask strength. Nothing more and nothing less. My most avid readers will know that I am not a very big fan of Glenmorangie but got quite a surprise when I reviewed a recent 18yo

Glenmorangie Traditional 100 ProofColor: Light gold.

Nose: Aromatic and spicy yet closed, or maybe there isn’t a lot going on? Vanilla and typical bourbon cask notes. Slightly soapy and fresh and obviously high in alcohol. Vegetal and woody. It almost smells like it looks. It does smell a bit of sackcloth and oak. Dusty and powdery. Not very complex.

Taste: Sweet. Vanilla and pudding. Sweet alcohol. Mocha and vanilla pudding. Hints of Cappuccino and vanilla ice-cream. A woody bite, almost cigarette like, but also a short-lived fruity sweetness. Sugared raspberries and half-ripe forest strawberries. Thick toffee to hold it all together. Nice coffee-ish finish. Well balanced. This reminds me a bit of a young Bladnoch. That one has more butter, is softer and is a bit more vegetal, but that may very well be the only difference.

At first, a simple Whisky, but it grows on you. Give it time to breathe and it develops nicely. Nevertheless, this is actually an example of why I didn’t like Glenmorangie back in the day. (Let’s say, 10 years ago). It looks great, promises a lot, but this particular Whisky is simple and un-rewarding on the nose. It may very well be the reason I stopped buying Glenmorangie for a whole decade. The taste is a lot better though. I only picked up the fruity bits, when tasting this in the morning before breakfast. Last night after a very tiresome day, I didn’t pick up on the raspberry and strawberry at all.

The recent and “extremely rare” 18yo I tasted a while back, somewhat restored my faith in Glenmorangie and made me buy that very 18yo. Today, and tomorrow can be different, you can get three of those 18yo’s for the price of this cask strength Glenmorangie. A no brainer if you ask me.

Points: 83

Glenmorangie Signet (46%, OB, White Oak, Oloroso Sherry Finish, Circa 2012)

I never was a big fan of Glenmorangie. Early on in my explorations of Single Malt Whisky I came across the litre bottle of the 10yo. Good value, looked great. Wow a litre bottle even. I didn’t like it. I had bought some other expressions but when I had the chance to taste them elsewhere I was quick to sell them off. Never regretted it since and in fact never came across a Glenmorangie I really liked. Well one I did like, a 30yo 1972/2004. Rare stuff. Ten years I didn’t look back and never got interested in Glenmorangie again. Just one of those malts that didn’t suit my tastes I thought. Recently I got a sample of the extremely rare 18yo and yes, that one was so nice and drinkable that I got myself a bottle of that. Great golden box too. If you ever going to bury a small pet, look no further than Glenmorangie 18yo. After that I accidentally had a blind tasting of the new 10yo and again didn’t like it. Back to the Whisky. Glenmorangie’s Dr. Bill (Not Dr. Phil) was experimenting a lot at Glen Moray, and when all lessons were learned, Glen Moray got obsolete (and sold off). Maybe not entirely for that reason. Glenmorangie started to churn out great designer Malts. Maybe not the 18yo, which still has an age statement and is more old school I guess, but probably true for this Signet. Just look at the design of the packaging here! Signet is a NAS Whisky and besides the white oak and the Oloroso finish, is known for the usage of heavily roasted chocolate malt. Glenmorangie SignetColor: Light copper gold. Nose: Malty and fresh. Citrus lemonade with a burnt caramel twist. Fruity and very likeable. Am I going to be surprised with another decent Glenmorangie? The white oak is discernible, but not very up front. Also some toasted wood, or maybe the toast comes from the chocolate malt? The white oak is masked just like the peat in good old Laphroaig 10yo was masking the heavy sweetness of the Malt. The masking agent in this Glenmorangie being sweet-smelling Oloroso Sherry. I have to say it is what you would expect considering “the ingredients”. Well crafted stuff. I hope this is what it is by design then and not trial and error at Glen Moray. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge. Taste: Sweet Sherry, petrol and nice warming wood. Fresh untreated oak (not the toasted oak from the nose). Vanilla creaminess grows stronger in the finish and has great staying power, where the body seemed to be light at first. Silky burnt notes or silky tannins, are accumulating in my cheeks and are a pretty nice complement to the creaminess. Better finish even as the 18yo, which should have been bottled at 46% too. Both the nose and the taste are nice and both are about aroma. However if you are looking for development and/or complexity, not the case. You quickly understand how this Malt tastes and that’s where it stays. probably the reason this is a NAS bottling. Don’t get me wrong, Dr. Bill did a great job making this, designing this Whisky. It is really good and a must try if you get the chance. Its different from the 18yo and twice the price. I hope one day a Signet with more age will see the light of day. A version with more complexity and foremost more development in the glass.

Points: 88

Glenmorangie 18yo “Extremely Rare” (43%, OB, Circa 2010)

I’m not to sure what I think about the NAS (No Age Statement) craze at the moment. Sure the number is not important, but the taste is. So why did the scotch (marketing) guys were indoctrinating us (the consumer) with the slogans that “age matters”, and “older is better” and so on. We’ve come to live with age statements, and now they want to make us believe that “age doesn’t matter”. NAS gives them the freedom to blend without restrictions, any age goes as long as its 3yo, otherwise they can’t call it Whisky, and thát still is a word they would like to use on the labels.

We are now living a while with NAS bottlings, and yes, the Whiskies got younger, but not necessarily better, if you ask me. And by the way, I still prefer age statements. I’m more inclined to buy something that is good and has an age statement, like Benromach 5yo than something that doesn’t have an age statement like Tomatin Legacy or Laphroaig Select. But maybe that’s only me. In the end I do believe that age matters.

Time for another 18yo, this “Extremely Rare” Glenmorangie. What’s up with the funny name? It already has an age statement and it seems to be a blatant lie, since I see this in every shop and nobody tells me there is a shortage of this. Stop it! Great packaging though (it’s from their “Prestige Range” you know), and for an 18yo it’s not very expensive to boot. The whisky was aged for 15yo in Bourbon Casks and finished for three years in Oloroso Casks.

Glenmorangie 18yoColor: Gold

Nose: Fruity and spicy wood. Nutty and sweet. Honey. Hint of smoke and cask toast. Dried sweet orange skins. Lots of sugared yellow fruits. Almond dust. Quite a full aroma for a Glenmorangie. Reine Claude’s, wax, some smoke again and vanilla. Chocolate.

Taste: Matches the nose. Marzipan and lots of yellow fruits. Figs and toffee with the sweetness kept in check. Waxy as older malts tend to get (nice!). Easily drinkable, immediately nice. Not a lot of wood actually. The wood impairs milk chocolate, yet hardly an oaky sensation. Just like the Highland Park, 43% is too low, 46% probably would have been better. There is enough going on in this one to not let it get hot. Especially the finish, again just like the Highland Park 18yo, is the weakest link.

You see that age matters. Just like the 18yo Highland Park, this again is a perfect example how Whiskies do need quite some ageing, especially in a cold climate as Scotland has. Although there are some nice examples of NAS Whiskies, I do like my 18yo’s

Points: 87

Glenmorangie 30yo 1972/2004 (44.3%, OB, Oloroso Cask Finish, 4548 bottles)

Founded in 1843 by William Mathesen, but whisky was distilled on site as early as 1703 (or 1738). Glenmorangie is now known for their stills with very tall necks that ensure a very light and clean spirit that had to reach incredible heights. Glenmorangie are also known for their Dr. Bill Lumsden, a man who doesn’t fear innovation and experimentation with his grains and woods.

This particular bottling consists of whisky that aged from 1972 to 1989 in Bourbon Barrels and was finished from 1989 to 2004 in Oloroso Casks. We only don’t know what casks they were. Butts or Puncheons, American of European oak.

Color: Orange Gold.

Nose: Waxy and cherry liqueur and black fruits. Nice old whisky smell, old wood. The combination of casks worked quite well for the nose. Perfumy. Butter on toast. Bakery shop. Hints of mint. Fades into something plant like, sweet rhubarb with raisins. Great nose.

Taste: Wood and spice, with clay and chocolate. The taste of clean white sugar. Sourness from the oak. Tastes thin. cappuccino, mocha with cream. Toast from the cask in the finish, and again some light esters and sourness. Pastry, hint of tar and dry altogether. Red lemonade and almonds.

The whole is pretty balanced. It’s easy noticeable that this is from light spirit. The nose is great, and the taste is very nice. The only two things that let this down is its lightness. And a Glenmorangie should be light, that’s one of their pillars. Personally I like a bit of body to it, like yesterdays Glenkinchie which also has a higher proof. The second thing that lets this whisky down is it’s slightly unbalanced finish. It breaks down a bit.

Points: 86

P.S. This comes in a very nice wooden box.