A Journey to the World of Glenmorangie, Finest Scottish Whisky

At a presentation held for the press on May 4 at the Tbilisi Marriott hotel, Karen Fullerton, global brand ambassador for Glenmorangie, introduced Glenmorangie Original, Glenmorangie Lasanta, Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban and Glenmorangie Nectar D’OR. The exhibition and tasting was organized by GD Alco.

The brand name Glenmorangie comes from the Scottish Gaelic “Gleann mor na sithe,” meaning “valley of tranquility”, a perfect description of the peaceful setting of the distillery near Tain. Glenmorangie is the 4th best premium malt whisky in the world, first made in the highlands of Scotland by William Matheson, a local highlander, who back in 1843 converted his brewery into a distillery at the Morangie farm he owned, making Glenmorangie one of the earliest distilleries in Scotland.

Over the years, Glenmorangie has won 18 Gold Best in Class medals by IWSC, making Glenmorangie the most awarded among other single malt Scotch whiskies.

As Karen Fullerton described the elements that go into making Glenmorangie, Scotland’s favourite single malt whisky, she mentioned that Scotch whisky is the most complex spirit in the world; stimulating all our five senses. “The moment you take your glass, pour it into your glass, taste it- that’s when all the flavors and aromas explode in your mouth and take you on a liquid journey”. Karen went on to explain that in order to be classified a Single Malt Scotch whisky, it must only be made, distilled and aged in Scotland for a minimum of 3 years using three basic ingredients: water, malted barley, and yeast.

“By definition, every single drop of Glenmorangie can only come from the Glenmorangie distillery, Fullerton said. “We have 120 licensed distilleries in Scotland and in every single distillery we have a unique size and shaped still that produces a slightly different character of spirit”.

She explained that brands like Chivas Regal and Ballentine use another type of whisky, called grain whisky, which uses less expensive materials like wheat and corn, and the reason why single malts are more expensive than blended whisky is because from a continuous still where single grain comes from, you can make 19 bottles of spirit, while in a single malt distillery, the amount of spirit produced is less than 1/10th of a bottle.

When it comes to production, Glenmorangie claims to have the tallest stills at 8 meters high (26ft 1/4 inches) with their long copper necks standing at 5.14 meters (16ft 10 1/4 inches), equivalent to the height of an adult giraffe, using only the finest oak casks to mature the whisky.

“Everything about Glenmorangie is indigenous to Scotland and the area. The key thing that makes us unique to any other distillery is the height of the stills, and what this means is that we get only the lightest, the smoothest, the purest taste of spirit,” Fullerton, going on to talk about the extra maturation techniques and wood management, as wood is said to be regarded as a major provider and contributor to the taste of whisky.

After ten years in first fill and second fill casks, Glenmorangie Original is ready to be bottled. After two more years finished in very specific ex-oloroso and Pedro Ximenez sherry casks, it becomes Glenmorangie Lasanta; finished in Port pipes for the same two years, it becomes Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban; and with Sauternes barriques, it becomes Glenmorangie Nectar D’Or.

The first whisky presented was Glenmorangie Original. By adding just a little water to it, “to open up a character” as Fullerton recommended, we were able to enjoy the citrus notes of mandarin orange, peach, apples and pears.

“Glenmorangie is as great for someone who’s never had a whiskey before as it is great for a connoisseur,” Fullerton told us. “At Glenmorangie we’re known for being pioneers in extra maturation, the idea of it being to add different layers and complexity to the liquid journey. We really re-vitalized the Scotch whisky category.”

We moved on to Glenmorangie Lasanta, Lasanta meaning warmth and passion in Scottish Gaelic. Glenmorangie Lasanta turned out to be richer, fruitier and spicier; it also has a stronger and darker in color with the floral notes of Glenmorangie Original wrapped in sherry sweetness, it’s slightly mouth drying with lots of concentrated sun-dried fruit, with a spicy ginger aftertaste, ideal for a chilly winter’s day.

The third on the range Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban. According to Fullerton, Quinta Ruban is both velvety and voluptuous, with a complex balance of sweet and dry flavors and an intriguing contrast of smooth and crisp, cooling textures.

“For me, it’s like a Turkish delight wrapped in dark chocolate. Everything within a Glenmorangie range will take you on a different journey, depending on your mood,” she said.

Last one was Glenmorangie Nectar D’OR, having, as Karen beautifully described during the tasting, “a creamy white chocolate, lemon tart tatin, lovely sweetness of honey and freshly sliced almonds,” the sweetness in its flavor profile, “almost reminding you of walking into a French patisserie”.

The name Nectar D’OR means golden liquid of the gods in Scottish Gaelic, and it makes a great aperitif and a fantastic digestive.

For someone who’s just starting to get to know the taste of Scottish whisky, Fullerton recommended to “first know how to nose it, by placing your nose into the glass and inhaling gently through your mouth, this way you’ll be better able to uncover and appreciate all the fabulous aromas within the whisky. Secondly, the best way to enjoy Scottish whisky is to add some water to it and drink it the way you like best- there are no set rules to whisky drinking, “it’s a personal experience,” Fullerton emphasized.

Nino Gugunishvili

18 May 2017 18:36