Last night was Glenmorangie’s first ever Twitter tasting.
If you don’t know what these are, they basically involve a community of folk on Twitter sipping whiskies at precisely the same time and discussing them. If you’re unlucky enough to be following someone on Twitter who’s in the middle of one, but haven’t quite caught up with what’s going on, then it’s a bit like watching the digital equivalent of Tourette syndrome – except for we’re all barking out whisky tasting notes into the ether. Timelines that have remained dormant or thereabouts suddenly spring into life, as if some old drunk in the corner of the pub has woken up with tales to tell. I wouldn’t be surprised if you were confused by it all, but I rather like these events, and I’m delighted to have been involved.
This tasting was in order to celebrate the launch of Glenmorangie’s first release in the ‘Travel Retail Legends’ collection – Glenmorangie Duthac. The whiskies available for the tasting were those that are available to buy at airports, a couple of which you can get elsewhere: The Original, Glenmorangie Signet, Glenmorangie Dornoch and of course the new Glenmorangie Duthac. Those involved in the tasting received a lovely box of samples beforehand, and it was all tremendously well presented.
On with the show:
Glenmorangie Original – 40% ABV, £32
Colour: pale straw. On the nose: very soft, with a few green apple ester notes. The classic citrus flavours are very pronounced. Lychees. Pineapple.
In the mouth: nothing outrageous here, but some very pleasant floral notes followed by apricots and vanilla. Fruity, though more of a breakfast fruit cocktail (with a dollop of cream) than anything specific. A vegetative, floral undertone and a slight maltiness. Nice rounded mouthfeel. Nice stuff for an entry-level dram.
Glenmorangie Signet – 46% ABV, £97
Colour: chestnut, sherry. On the nose: that’s a really lovely aroma. Tiramisu. Beautiful dried fruits here, soaked in brandy ready for Christmas. Molasses, almost.
In the mouth: not quite as promising as the nose, as the profile seems more citrusy than I expected. Dark chocolate, bitter wood or coffee notes. Leave it on the tongue and it’s much better. Hints of red wine perhaps, with almost tannin-like quality, and hidden beneath are some herbal notes. Very classy and velvety – lovely texture and yet I cannot love it. It doesn’t quite go the whole hog, and I’m not sure it’s quite worth £97. The ABV was a little higher here, which makes me expect more flavour. Looking back, I’ve written a lot about it, yet why do I feel disappointed? Such is whisky, a fickle mistress…
Glenmorangie Dornoch – 43% ABV, £49
Colour: old gold. On the nose: hazelnut chocolate. Almonds. Again that citrus tone that’s shared with the other whiskies. Toffee, lemon zest, cider. Not hugely complex, if I’m honest.
In the mouth: there really is a good mouth-feel here. Velvety, but it’s mostly just fine texture. A spritely peppery note, and there’s almost grain-like quality to this. Vanilla custard. A little honey. But everything else feels too distant. A warming finish. I don’t mean this in a negative manner, merely by way of comparison – but there’s almost a blend-like composition to this, so smooth is that texture. Pop a teaspoon of peaty stuff in it and you’d trick a few into believing it’s Johnnie Walker. (Might try that as an experiment one day.)
Glenmorangie Duthac – 43% ABV, £54
Colour: deep copper. On the nose: now this is more like it. It’s a step aside from all the others, which were rather too similar. Toasted nuts, almost honey-coated peanuts. Oily and creamy. Toffee. Leather chairs. Peanut butter ice cream. Milk chocolate. A touch of dried fruits.
In the mouth: yes. The balance of this hits the spot for me. Better than the rest, in my opinion; and with a velvety mouthfeel. Raspberries, crème brûlée. Almonds once again. Citrus once again! Quite a chocolatey malt, this one. Ovaltine and ginger. Absolutely worth the money – I really liked this one.
Well, Glenmorangies are all pretty consistent aren’t they? I guess this is the thing when you do vertical tastings sometimes – there’s a common thread that’s present throughout, and it becomes especially noticeable. And for this distillery, in my view, there’s a shared, consistently velvety texture and a splash of citrus throughout the range.
These are whiskies that are crafted for large volume sales, as Glenmorangie is a big brand; but despite that, the spirit remains good at all levels, from entry-level to the more high-end drams. The value for money is pretty decent across the range. You can see what everyone else thought if you follow the hashtag #GlenmorangieLive – but suffice to say just about everyone was impressed by all of these whiskies, and if the Twitter hive mind says that then it is true.
However, if you’re in an airport, I highly recommend the new Glenmorangie Duthac. At £54 it represents brilliant value.