Glenmorangie are fairly reknowned for experimentation and creativity. Interestingly enough though, through all of their artful concoctions, they don’t often fiddle around with peat. This ‘Private Edition’ release, Finealta, is as exception to that unwritten rule.
Call it a mental block, if you will, but my mind immediately leaps to Ardmore or BenRiach when I think of mainland peated whiskies. Certainly not to Glenmorangie. However, whether through lightning in a bottle or adeptness at practice, Glenmorangie have managed to craft a rather remarkable dram. Great mix of sweet and savoury here. I imagine this is what it would be like to nose Glenmorangie 18 next to someone drinking lapsang souchong tea beneath the breeze-driven puffs from a smokestack. Or somehting to that effect.
Either way, the mix of cask play and a very atypical profile for this Highland distillery make for a fun ride, and one of the most immediately endearing and interesting Glenmo’s in quite some while. Like far too many great drams of late though…sadly, this is also a limited edition expression. If you can find one, grab it if for no other reasons than seeing the morphology this light and estery spirit is capable of. Chameleonic, really.
Nose: Earthy with some salty play-dough. More peat than expected, but not huge by any means. Leather and horse blankets. Slightly ashy. Orange and pear. Rather more farmy than expected. Cinnamon and mint. The peat influence is massive by no means, but pleasantly over-arching.
Palate: Ashy and smoky again. All of those farmy notes coming through here too. Flinty and mineral-rich. Peppery. Wet rock. Some wine notes. Lemon rind with orange influence. Like a drying tea in terms of effect, if not flavour. Decent, if not quite synchronized, connection between nose and palate.
Thoughts: Neat, if unexpected nose. A quirky offering that outshone most other Glenmorangie releases in a recent expansive tasting we held locally. Definitely a top three pick from the men of Tain.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt