Glenmorangie, a distillery dating back to the mid-1800s, holds the title for consistently having the best selling Scotch in Scotland (the Glenmorangie Original). Their proposition is unique: first, the water they use is a mineral rich hard water from the Tarlogie Springs, unusual as most whisky makers use soft water.
Second, they favour American oak and actually own a forest in the northern part of Kentucky for use in their barrels (after which they use the barrels to make Kentucky bourbon).
After being purchased by the French company Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton in 2004, Glenmorangie was repositioned as a more luxury brand, most evident via the naming of their Scotches: Nectar D’Or Scotch, Sonnalta PX, LaSanta Highland, The Quinta Ruban. The curved bottles also help distinguish the brand versus their competitors.
The LCBO offers a fine selection of Glenmorangie Scotch starting at just over $60 and up to $100. I selected the LaSanta Highland Malt as it was aged in American oak and finished in a Spanish Sherry Cask, which promised enough sweetness that it could be drunk as a dessert Scotch. I wasn’t disappointed, although my initial impression was that it was too sweet. Over the next few occasions, the sweetness mellowed on my pallet and I began tasting the greater complexity present.
On the nose there’s a fine scent of honey, dried fruits, and woody oak. It’s a very promising start, suggesting a smooth finish. The pallet matches the nose, though the flavours explode where on the nose they’re mild. The honey sweetness hits you first and then the dried fruit finish, with hints of toffee, follows. Some might find this Scotch too sweet at first (as I did), but the warming bite of the alcohol is still very much present. The woodiness comes through from start to finish, and you’ll have a nice lingering taste before you enjoy your next sip.
Out of the Scotches selected thus far, Glenmorangie is definitely sweeter and without detectable peat. Its rich colour sits well in a glass, and the flavours are plentiful. Having had other Scotches from Glenmorangie in the past, I would say that you really can’t go wrong with a purchase from this distillery. It’s also a good gift idea.
Note: Originally published on Spotlight Toronto