It’s a good thing and a bad thing that whisky has to be made in batches. On the one hand, it does mean there is inevitable variation. On the other hand, it means there is a chance for redemption after tasting a dram that falls far from the mark.
Unfortunately this is just such a one.
Lasanta is ten year old Glenmorangie that has been finished (“extra-matured”, in their parlance) in Spanish Oloroso sherry butts. Generally speaking, this works quite well for the distillery. Most of their ‘bourbon meets sherry’ marriages are rather decent. In fact I’ve quite enjoyed this particular expression of Glenmorangie several times over the years. Sadly…this most recent batch doesn’t even come close to living up to the reputation. This bottle of Lasanta was opened as part of an extensive line-up of Glenmorangie for our whisky club, and even the ambassador at the front of the room noted it was ‘off’. That ‘off’ note, I hate to say it, is sulphur.
While I can – to a degree – overlook a touch of sulphur, I have to agree with Jim Murray on this one (and that in itself is a frightening thing): sulphur is a flaw. It is not simply another note in the whisky. It is a defect in the maturation process through poor barrel selection. I certainly don’t agree there are as many tainted casks as he suggests, but when I do find one…well…nine times out of ten I’ll not be finishing my dram.
Now for the good news: I’ve tried likely a half dozen bottles of Lasanta over the years, and never had a dud like this. Let’s hope the next batch is back up to par. (I’d expect maybe an 85 or 86 or so in terms of average score)
Nose: Oh dear. Sulphur-spoiled. A fair bit of spice (cinnamon, damp cloves and pepper). Putty. Bread dough. Burnt caramel and stretchy toffee. Raisin. Orange and sweet red chewy candies. Touch of clove and dried apricot. There is a fair bit of ripe fruit behind that sulphuric influence. Suisse mocha.
Palate: Tart and wine-heavy. Tight, dry l’il black currants. Spice. A bit of that sulphur burns the tongue here too. Somewhat bittering, to be honest. Don’t really want to drink anymore to suss out further flavours. Sorry.
Thoughts: This could have been great. Not sure if they thought they could bury a bad cask or three in this vatting or what the deal was, but…no dice. This is definitely flawed, unfortunately, as I don’t recall any notes of brimstone on previous batches.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt