One of the first few single malts my family introduced me to was the Glenmorangie 10 Year Old (Original). It was delicate, well-balanced and definitely a delightful change from the Jack Daniels I had been guzzling the night before. It was my first step into whisky-snobbery — well, among my friends at least. Whisky and coke? Pfft. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
Years later, I had the opportunity to meet the great Dr Bill Lumsden for a special tasting of the Glenmorangie range. It was a simple session, but it was interesting to hear things from a distiller’s standpoint, and of course, the stories that take place behind Distillery doors. The art of whisky blending is a craft that one needs to really understand before being able to fully appreciate it, I believe. Otherwise, your appreciation is lost in the age statements, price and other misguided reasons that people invest in whisky for.
Ok, perhaps that’s too bold a statement. But you catch my drift…
A more recent experience with Glenmorangie was with their latest Private Edition release: The Glenmorangie Bacalta. The brand has been known to release some limited edition whiskies under their Private Blend range now and then, and this was the first time I’ve ever been able to sample one (price being the main factor). Needless to say, I swooped immediately at the opportunity!
The Bacalta is the 8th release under the brand’s Private Edition range, with a name that means “baked” in Scots Gaelic. The reason for this name is due to the bespoke cask used to mature the whisky further after its initial aging in ex-Bourbon casks. These bespoke Madeira casks were baked under the sun to contribute to the baked fruit and honeyed sweet flavours of the whisky.
I unfortunately have no other Private Casks to compare it to, but you definitely taste the richness in flavours compared to the Glenmorangie Original and Lasanta that were also served that night.
In terms of the nose, it wasn’t as fragrant as expected for me. Just seemed a bit more robust than the Lasanta.
On the palate, the apricot flavours stole the limelight, followed by bits of nuttiness, and some toasted or baked fruits — almost as if the fruits had just fallen out of a pie. The sweetness hit me at the finish: a rich, caramel finish but still with lingering hints of fruits.
I preferred the Bacalta neat as opposed to over ice or with 1-2 drops of water. It seemed like a pretty easy whisky to drink and didn’t need the water or ice to bring out more flavours. Although the water did tone down the apricot flavour on the palate just a smidge to allow the other fruity notes to take flight.
From conversations around the room, it seemed like the Bacalta was a really good dram, yet wasn’t the most impressive amidst the line-up of Private Editions. Like I said, I can’t compare them personally, but if there’s truth to that statement, the Private Edition range must be one helluva range to have.
Here’s to hoping I run into some of these Private Edition collectors and befriend them soon *grins*. Till then, I’ll just have to enjoy the comfort of the Glenmorangie Original — and there’s no way I can complain about that!