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

Akashi 5yo ‘White Oak’ (45%, OB, 500 ml)

Next up a Japanese 5yo Single Malt Whisky from the Eigashima Distillery. Please don’t confuse this with the 5yo Akashi “Blended Whisky”. This peculiar blend is not a blend as we know it. The Malt Whisky isn’t blended with Grain Whisky but with a Spirit. The Malt Whisky itself is not only Malt Whisky from Eigashima, but also contains imported Whisky. Altogether there is 34% Malt Whisky in this Blend. The Spirit part (66%) is made with Spirit from molasses, partly barrel aged. There is some controversy about the Spirit used, and calling this a Blended Whisky. Alas no controversy about our 5yo Single Malt. Besides both 5yo Whiskies, there is also a 12yo Akashi Single Malt. Code on the inside of the front label is: 112102.

Akashi 5yo 'White Oak' (45%, OB)Color: Gold, with a tinge of ocher (dandruff)

Nose: Worcestershire sauce. lactic acid and right after that virgin oak and cigarette tobacco. Cooled off warm milk. Extremely funky and yeasty. This Whisky oozes aroma, and you have to sniff it all out to get to the woody part and the feeling you are nosing a Single Malt Whisky. Warm dry forest floor and the fruitiness comes from ripe apple skins. This apple note is connected to a powdered sugar sensation. For best results let this breathe for a while. Small hints of menthol and spicy wood tends to play a greater role.

Taste: Extremely malty and after that paper and oak. Dried leaves. Some sweetness from sweet tree sap (I imagine). Very naturally occurring sweetness like stevia. The wood becomes slightly bitter and next comes a slightly peppery attack. Tiny hint of burnt plastic and the bitterness stays. It tastes a bit like sake. The finish disintegrates leaving you with the bitterness and a funky kind of acidity, in part cow dung. The finish is definitely the weakest point of this Whisky.

Very simple, immature and straightforward Whisky, that doesn’t come to us without flaws. Some strange aroma’s in here that to me seem like distillation faults. Having said that I don’t dislike this, but I most definitely like the first half better than the last half.

Points: 71