They say nothing rhymes with orange (or purple, or silver, for that matter) and that may still hold true – but some things do sound alike. Like the mellow golden brews of Glenmorangie (note the second soft ‘g’) to compliment its fluid glide across the palate.
A recent tasting at Woods introduced us to some of Glenmorangie’s finest: the Original, the Nectar D’Or, and the highly coveted and in-demand Ealanta, a 19-year-old bottle of pure joy.
Deemed 2013’s number one whisky by spirits guru Jim Murray – who rated it 97.5 points – Ealanta is Glenmorangie’s latest offspring. Incomparable in rhymes, it makes up for its alliterate shortcomings by brimming with toffees and vanilla’ed fruits. The rare and limited creation has sat in virgin oak barrels for 17 years. This is unusual for scotch, which has almost always been aged in used bourbon casks; although the American tradition was kept with wood used from Missouri and the Mark Twain National Forests of the Ozarks. The aging process is followed by two years in casks that once held Sauternes, the French dessert wine.
After a few sips, we are told by ambassador Ruaraidh MacIntyre (pronounced like Rory with a hint of rue) to let the scotch swish around the mouth for a good 10 seconds to: a) let the palate adjust to the subtle flavor esters; and, b) like the charring of bourbon barrels, burn off any lingering impurities and bacteria. (Okay, I’m joshing, but I’m sure this worked.) Equipped with droppers, Ruaraidh’s tool of choice, we add a precise 5ml of water to reveal a wider bouquet of flavours at our disposal. While some bars might have a tiny carafe at your disposal, precision is key, especially when dealing with the best!
Along with its soon to be legendary finish, notes of candied almonds and vanilla, I was left with a hint of smokiness on the end of my palate. This surprised me since we’d been told specifically how Glenmorangie is one of the few scotches that is devoid of peat; but it turns out the smoky tendrils emanate from the charred oak barrel – what a beautiful way to end.
Glenmorangie Ealanta has been available in Europe since 2013, but just made its debut appearance for $165.95 at the LCBO on March 6th. Scorned whisky lovers will be able to order via the call center, and for the first time ever will be able to skip the queue and purchase online via the LCBO’s direct sales website.
Photos courtesy of Alejandro Santiago.