Glenmorangie Astar has been a popular limited edition whisky in the past, but it’s not been available to buy for some time. However, it’s now back. There is – as is the way these days with just about any distillery – much romancing of the wood. I’m beginning to think that many marketing departments are riddled with closet carpenters who yearn for a simple life of forestry work.
We live in an age where we are bombarded by stories about the wood, and many major figures in the whisky community do nothing but recycle these wood-fetishes without a second thought. But we should examine what is being said.
Glenmorangie, which was perhaps among the first innovators of consciously tinkering with double maturations and finishes, today remains rather poetic about the wood.
“The Astar’s extraordinary casks are hewn from hand-selected slow-grown oak trees from the Ozark mountains of Missouri, and meticulously crafted to exacting specifications, to ensure they impart their maximum flavour to our delicate Highland spirit.”
Basically, it’s matured in ex-bourbon casks?
Fairly standard American oak, unless something can find a fact or two to hit me with. Missouri is one of the main states that supply wood to the big cooperages, too, so this is well and truly looking as if the wood is in the standard territory. Although there’s talk of “designer” casks here and there among the commentary, so I’m hoping someone can correct me.
I’m sure I’ve missed out a critical fact. Right? Maybe it’s all in the flavour.
Anyway, the new edition of Glenmorangie Astar is bottled at 52.5% ABV – which is a little lower than the previous iterations – yet costs around £75. No age statement is associated with this either.
Glenmorangie Astar 2017 Review
Colour: pale gold. Certainly is rather on the light side.
On the nose: citrus, almost warm lemonade. Custard cream biscuits. Grassy. It needs a lot of time to settle before some rather nice perfumed notes begin to show: jasmine. Rose fragrance, the kind that ladies of a certain age tend to wear. Then a creamy vanilla, lemon curd and custard. Very custardy, in fact, with touches of condensed milk.
In the mouth: very sweet, full of vanilla, golden syrup, floral honey. It’s insanely sweet (and I do like a sweet whisky). Light, oily (but dry on the finish). Stacks of citrus – lemon curd again, and biscuity. Slightly nutty. There’s a warming ginger, black pepper and cloves towards the end.
I find Glenmorangie quite frustrating. It can be capable of some really good whiskies at times (Glenmorangie Bacalta, Grand Vintage Malt 1990), and then there are those which are real wild cards, something that is a sharp contrast with the rest of the range.
This is definitely one of those that doesn’t work for me, though it has a pleasant mid-palate. It is – frustratingly – both enjoyable and has its rough spots.
But here’s the thing. I don’t think the wood has done the spirit many favours, if I’m being honest (and honesty is why you read this, after all). I find it particularly confusing to go on about the wood on the label in such a manner too.
£75 feels rather on the steep side, so this slips in the scoring department.