Origin: Highlands (Scotland)
Typology: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Ageing casks: Ex-Bourbon and ex-Madeira
Additional Coloring: N/A
Average price: € 180.00
Official website: www.glenmorangie.com
For ten years, between 2009 and 2019, under the careful supervision of the Director of Distiling and Whisky Creation & Whisky Stock, the infamous Bill Lumsden (Dr. Bill to his friends), also responsible for Ardbeg, Glenmorangie has been releasing a series of distinctive offerings under the Private Edition label. a series of peculiar proposals, in which the classic maturation in ex-Bourbon casks of not (always) specified length, was accompanied either by a particular finishing, also of not (always) stated length, or by the use of entirely original raw materials.
Here is the list of releases, (almost) all at 46% ABV and not chillfiltered:
1 – Sonnalta PX: 11yo, ex bourbon + ex sherry PX;
2 -Finealta: slightly peaty malt, ex bourbon and ex oloroso sherry;
3 – Artein: 15yo, ex bourbon + ex Super Tuscan wine;
4 – Ealanta: 19yo, virgin American oak barrels;
5 – Companta: ex bourbon + ex wine Clos de Tart Grand Cru and wine from the Côtes du Rhône;
6 -Tusail: a specific barley, Maris Otter, was used here;
7 -Milsean: former bourbon + former Portuguese red wine STR;
8 – Bacalta: ex bourbon + ex madeira;
9 – Spios: ex American rye whiskey;
10 – Allta: here a specific yeast was used, Saccharomyces, ex bourbon casks 1st fill and refill, 51.2% ABV
It goes without saying that since these are limited editions, they are, for the most part, now difficult to obtain, except through auctions (where lots of several bottles are often offered) or private negotiations, always at vastly increased prices.
Today we have the opportunity to taste Bacalta, aged in Malmsey madeira casks ‘baked’ (this is the meaning of the Gaelic term Bacalta) in the sun of the island of the same name.
The colour is a light amber closely resembling that of honey.
The nose is very sweet, with distinct notes of brown sugar and honey, a string of fruity scents, from apricot to pear, melon to pineapple, all very ripe, a hint of spice reminiscent of nutmeg and a well-assorted floral bouquet in the background. Over time, a creamy side emerges, with a lemon custard fragrance and a sprinkling of milk chocolate, which welcomes an unpredictable drift into dry biscuits.
The mouthfeel is very spicy with notes of nutmeg and white pepper, while the palate is progressively enveloped by hints of dried apricot, yellow orange zest, meringue, wildflower honey and milk chocolate.
A hint of cappuccino leads to a finish of appreciable length, peppery and citrusy, with a touch of apricot.
As with any product on the market, marketing is a determining element and there is no doubt that LVMH, more so than other companies, puts a lot of emphasis on it (Ardbeg Commitee enthusiasts can confirm this). But at the end of the day, it is the result that counts: and if the outcome is a top-notch whisky, then even more ‘driven’ than average marketing is welcome. Here, the Glenmorangie distillate finds in the former madeira casks a real flavour enhancer, in a dram that minute by minute resembles an indispensable pampering.