Had a tasting today with Eddie Ludlow, the brand ambassador for Glenmorangie and Penny, our lovely Moet-Hennessy account manager. The purpose was to introduce us to the newly re-branded Glenmorangie range in our capacity as Glenmorangie Embassy in the North-West. As you may come to see in the next few months Glenmorangie has undergone a complete transformation, new bottles, new labels and a re-structuring of the line extensions. Gone are the old wood finish ranges and in are three "new" incarnations - Lasanta - which replaces the Sherry wood finish, Quinta Ruban - which replaces the port wood and Nectar d'Or which replaces the 15yo Sauternes wood. The Madiera wood has been abandoned. The 10yo has been re-designed and is now called the Original. Dr Bill Lumsden, Glenmorangie's Master Blender, has also adapted the "blend" of the 10yo to incorporate more of the Artisan cask whisky into the mix, giving the whisky a slightly creamier mouthfeel and a certain richness.
The changes dont end there, the Extra Mature range (Lasanta, Quinta and Nectar) are all sporting a slightly higher ABV (46% up from 43%), they are all non-chill filtered now as well, meaning the whiskies have an added richness and textural body. This is a measure of appeasement to whisky afficianados. Im sure, to make ammends for the drastic redesign of the bottles. Gone are the traditional bottles, and in are more flared, almost cognac like bottles, giving the range an added sexyness that Im sure they hope will make it appeal to a younger, hipper generation of drinkers. In all the products are designed to create a new deluxe market - an area that owners LVMH are well familiar with. Whether this is a good thing, or spells the beginning of the end for the malt category remains to be seen.
Now Im not a whisky drinker, although there are more and more that I am finding myself comfortable with. The highlight of the tasting for me however was the 1990 Single Cask whisky, which isnt part of the new line up, but a very limited bottle that will be made available to Embassies exclusively. Coming from Bourbon cask 5932 it was specially selected by Dr Bill to be bottled for a very limited release of only 288 bottles. Coming in at a whopping 54.7% abv this is bottled directly from the cask without any form of treatment or dilution. It was absolutely fantastic - quite light on the nose, no nose-tingling alcohol, which was quite surprising. On the palate it had a bit of a burn at first, but it finishes with a really smooth fresh mint leaf flavour that was soft and clean. When I added a small drop of water to it, the flavours really opened out. Im going to try and get my hands on a bottle for myself, but its not cheap (apparently only three specialist outlets have access and retail is £100+). Strings will have to be pulled!