Glenmorangie at Wood&Vine (in partnership with BourbonBlog.com)

Arriving at 7:00 for a 7:30 tasting and education with Glenmorangie and Travis Tidwell, I stepped out of my Uber to walk into the restaurant Wood & Vine. This was my first time visiting but I’d heard of it before, as it was conveniently located just down the street from my favourite bar Lost Property.

Tonight was no ordinary tasting event, however, as it was a mini launch party of Glenmorangie 1990 Grand Vintage, which we will talk about a little further down the page. Leading up the 1990 Vintage, we tasted Glenmorangie the Original Lasanta, Quinta Ruban, Nectar D’Or, Bacalta, and 18 Year. Now this particular night my nose was a little stuffed up, so some of the aromas were harder to get. I’d met Travis briefly once before at Seven Grand for their 10 year anniversary, but it was such a crazy night that I didn’t get to talk much with him.

But before we get started on my review, let’s take a moment and jump back in time, to our sit down with Travis Tidwell, Glenmorangie’s Brand Ambassador about the event.

While Glenmorangie is a name most Whisk(e)y fans are going to know, they may not know why Glenmorangie is so famous. Hint: It has to do with they way they finish their whisky!

Glenmorangie The Original: The whisky that started it all! The Glenmorangie Original is a 10 year old Scotch whisky, though it’s technically an NAS or No Age Statement. This is their core product and it’s aged in first and second fill Bourbon casks. It was a good starting point for the rest of our evening.

Nose: It had some mellow malt aromas, as well as some fruit scents, and lastly there was an overall sweetness on the nose.

Flavour: Right away I got some white pepper spice/ethanol burn typical of a whiskey, but once past that it was a fruity, and malty expression, but required three drops of water to open it up.

Lasanta: The Lasanta is the first whisky, from Glenmorangie at the very least, with a documented reason to change the cask that it was aging in, thus kickstarting one of the unique aspects of Glenmorangie. It’s aged for about 70% of it’s life in Olroso Sherry casks, and then the last 30% of of it’s time is spent aging in PX Sherry casks to get the finish.

Nose: Strong vanilla, followed by malt, and fruit. It’s sweet, and vaguely reminiscent of a Cognac (and yes, my glassware was clean this time. No contamination from anything other than Glenmorangie).

Flavour: Not a particularly overbearing flavour, which I like. It’s sweet, and has a hot expression almost as if it’s a young whisky. I also picked up some of that malted barley shining through in the back.

Quinta Ruban: A 12 year old non-chill filtered scotch whisky bottled at 46% and finished in Ruby Port barrels for 2 years.

Nose: Not a lot on this one, I got some subdued aromas of malted barley, and sweetness that likely came off the port cask.

Flavour: This is where this whisky shone bright! The flavour was fruity and sweet, with a flavour that I can only describe as white bread, topped off with a bourbon taste, as well as taking note that this whisky was also quite hot!

Nectar D’Or: Aged in Sauternes casks which is translated loosely from Gaelic as “liquid gold”.

Nose: Sweet and fruity, follow by aromas that are reminiscent of Cognac.

Flavour: Sweet fruits, mango, and notes of caramel were found in this relatively mellow and light dram.

Bacalta: While officially it’s a NAS whisky, its creator has gone on record as saying it’s a 12 year old. They use “baked” ozark mountain casks for this one made with hogs head white oak and they bake madeira sherry inside the casks.

Nose: Sherry forward (surprise), but still mellow and sweet, with notes of malt and some fruits.

Flavour: A sweet and fruity expression, though not exactly sure which fruit, as well as subtle notes of chocolate and orange. This expression had an oaky finish that was hot with some malt.

Glenmorangie 18 Year: Aged in mostly Bourbon casks, then finished in Oloroso sherry. Can you tell Glenmorangie likes Sherry?

Nose: A really mellow and unimpressive nose, it was sweet, malty and fruity.

Flavour: There were subtle fruit notes, followed by some light Bourbon flavours, capped off with that white pepper heat.

Grand Vintage 1990: Ah yes! The crem de la creme of this tasting event, the one you’ve all been waiting for! The one I was quite excited to try; and yet it fell short of my hopes. Now I can tell you all about the distillery closing in the process of making this whisky, but surely you don’t care about all that and just want the tasting notes, right? So let’s get to it.

Nose: The nose was mellow and not overwhelming which I like with any whisky. It was sweet with some toasted or malted barley notes and a slight oak and pepper singe at the end.

Flavour: Starting off we got fruit, specifically peach followed by that ethanol/white pepper flavour again. As I sipped more I started to find some sweeter flavours, including Gummy Peach Rings (yes like the kind you’d get at a grocery store). It had a light and subdued sweetness to it, with a subtle fiery heat, capped off by cinnamon at the end of the glass and on the back of the palate.

All in all, it was a great tasting and I look forward to more from Glenmorangie in the future! The Grand Vintage Reserve retails for about $650 and as of the time of tasting there were only about 25 bottles in California to purchase, but at the time of publishing they’re likely all sold out. And lastly a big thank you to Travis, the entire Glenmorangie team, as well as David and K&L Wines for having us.

This piece was written in partnership with Tom Fischer and BourbonBlog.com, “The enthusiasts resource for all things spirited.”*

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