Glenmorangie has a number of claims to fame: The first being that they have the tallest stills in Scotland, something they proudly print on all their merch. The second is that they popularised cask finishing, something that took the whisky world by storm and kickstarted a new
gimmick style. And lastly? Glenmorangie just happens to be the best selling whisky in Scotland.
Glenmorangie is a Highland distillery that (like many others) goes back to the late 19th century, and now finds itself in the hands of a corporate overlord. Their entry level malt is a 10-year-old, ex-bourbon-matured expression simply called “The Original” – and it’s something you definitely need to take a look at:
Aah… Oranges, honey and malt. Caramel, wine gums… vanilla. Some other fruit in there as well – I want to say apples and pears. The tiniest fraction of smoke (?), the slightest whiff of peat (??) and new leather. Lovely!
At 43% the Glenmorangie 10 has a snappy alcohol bite, but it’s all part of the (spoiler alert) incredible experience going on here. This stuff is absolutely delicious – crisp, complex (but not a sensory overload), sweet and zesty. It’s got a brown-sugariness, which coupled with that zest reminds me of Terry’s Chocolate Oranges. Lots of oak. A mild nuttiness. Crazy, crazy smooth (I hate that word, but appropriate here). Easy to drink and even easier to appreciate. The finish is long and pleasant – very mild marzipan, slightly sour, oranges.
A teaspoon or two of water makes the smells more floral – fresh cut grass – and brings out a subtle chocolate/cocoa. In terms of taste, coconut emerges (nice!) and the chocolate, caramel and floral notes are emphasised. Wow! For the sake of science I tried it with ice – which it nails (this is buoyant stuff) but I prefer it with just a little water.
Good grief. Despite being in the same bracket as the other popular “Glens” – Glenfiddich 12 and Glenlivet 12 – the Glenmorangie Original is in a league of its own. At a slightly younger age this is a testament to the quality of the whisky, the careful cask selection and the masterful blending by the talented folks at the Glenmorangie distillery.
Excellent whisky, excellent value for money and an absolute joy to drink. It doesn’t feel “seasonal” – this can be devoured any time, be it summer, winter, dinner or breakfast. Great for joyous celebration and sinister plotting alike. Get some!