Glenmorangie 18 Year Old
Taste Score: 94
Category: Single malt scotch, 18 Year Old
Whisky Cabinet Score: ★ ★ ★ ☆
Glenmorangie rarely needs an introduction. This is a beautifully packaged luxury product wrapped around a traditional distillery that's capable of making an excellent single malt scotch.
The land the distillery is located on has a history of making alcohol that goes as far back as the early 1700s (before whisky was legal). In the mid-1800s, a legally recognized distillery started making whisky. In 1918, the distillery was purchased by The Macdonald family that owned it for just under ninety years.
During that era, the distillery made whisky, but lacked the luxurious branding. In 2004, MHLV (Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton) purchased the distillery from The Macdonald family. MHLV did what it knew to do, and proceeded to elevate the whisky with luxury brand.
Glenmorangie is one of two distilleries (the other being Balvenie) that popularized finished single malt scotch. A finished scotch is one that's aged primarily in American oak barrels (typically), and later finished in barrels of another type of oak (usually ex-sherry Spanish barrels). Finished whiskies are sweeter and smoother.
As described on the website, Glenormangie 18 is fully matured for fifteen years in American oak. A third of the whisky is then transferred into Spanish Oloroso barrels. The remaining two-thirds are left in American oak barrels. The whisky is split into these two tracks for three more years, and then blended and bottled as an eighteen year old scotch.
Glenmorangie specializes in finishes and blended single malt scotch. They hit the light whisky enthusiast market perfectly, and sometimes overlooked by large collectors. I found the 18 year old to be brilliantly made whisky with all of the elements that I'm looking for at this price point.
Nose: Saucy caramel, honey, and butter with spice and lemon zest. Like ginger soda in the distance. Heavier orange zest comes out as you let the glass sit.
Palate: That balance of vanilla sweetness, peppery spice, caramel warmth, and buttery dark chocolate notes is beautifully done. When we talk about a well formed whisky, we talk about flavor to carry you through from start to finish. Chewing on Glenomrangie 18 is a wonderful experience. It's like eating the finest steak or the most complex dessert. This scotch breezes through the flavors effortlessly. Truly wonderful whisky.
Conclusion: Sometimes I drink a single malt scotch, and I think "typical" in terms of flavors. Vanilla, citrus, malty sweetness, etc. This bottle of Glenmorangie 18 Year Old is exquisite. It steps beyond the common flavors. Whether it's worth the price (it was given to me as a gift), is all dependent on your personal interest in this flavour profile. It's not outlandishly fabulous, but subtly wonderful.
*Whisky Cabinet Rating Explained:
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ Not recommended
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ Good whisky, but not a ‘must-have’
★ ★ ☆ ☆ Your great regular rotation whisky that'll come and go
★ ★ ★ ☆ Excellent, a near must-have
★ ★ ★ ★ Extraordinary, memorable, and original