Glenmorangie (18 year)

I spend so much time with Glenmorangie’s wine finishes (like their transcendent Nectar D’Or 12 year) that I forget the whisky has a “standard” baseline represented by its 12- and 18-year-old expressions. The first is matured only in ex-bourbon barrels, including the barrels sourced by the company in the forests of Missouri especially for their barrel program. This is a great example of Glenmorangie’s commitment to quality (wow I sound like my employer’s Marketing department) and their willingness to innovate. They actually go to the Ozark Mountains of Missouri, hand-pick slow-growth American white oak trees, air season them (rather than artificially quick-drying) for two years, and then lend them to bourbon producers to use in their own maturation. To me, that says something about the company’s dedication to doing it right. It’s also a sound strategy for ensuring the quality of their barrels, considering many Cambeltown distilleries lost their reputations by using fish barrels during American Prohibition! Way to learn from the past, Glenmorangie.

The flagship 18-year is a marriage of 70% ex-bourbon matured malt, and 30% oloroso sherry-finished (for 3 years). It is not advertised as being non-chill-filtered, which probably means it has been filtered. Ditto for the addition of coloring.

Nose: Lemony, with light notes of green pear, lemon-lime soda, and golden raisins. Subtle… too subtle?

Palate: Banana taffy, lemon drop, and nougat. Interesting flavor profile while remaining light and airy. Some woodiness intrudes.

Finish: Oaky with some bitter char notes. Medium-long. Turns nutty, with clear walnut skins.

Overall: Very nice, but super light, and not particularly concentrated despite the 18 years of aging. It’s mildly complex, with some interesting fruit notes that I didn’t expect. While not disappointing, this isn’t going to knock anyone’s socks off, and I can see why even Glenmorangie doesn’t try to price this above $99. Perhaps Glenmo malt really serves better as a canvas for wine finishes.

ScotchNoob™ Mark:

About The Distillery

Glenmorangie has been an innovator in the industry for years, pioneering cask expressions and experimental bottlings of their exceptional Highland whisky. Often cited as the biggest-selling whisky in Scotland, Glenmorangie is also attracting a lot of international attention, winning awards left and right. Among their cask-aged expressions are the Nectar D’Or (matured in French Sauternes casks after 10 years minimum in bourbon barrels), Quinta Ruban (matured in port barrels), Lasanta (matured in oloroso sherry casks), and more. Glenmorangie sources its oak casks in the Ozark mountains and loans them for four years to the Jack Daniels distillery before using them for Scotch. Glenmorangie’s water flows from the Tarlogie Springs in the hills above the distillery, over sandstone (yielding hard water) and picks up flavor components from the clover and heather in the hills before entering the distillery, where 24 very long-necked stills called the “giraffes” make Glenmorangie’s classic Highland malt. Glenmorangie, like Ardbeg, is owned by luxury giant LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy).
Glenmorangie (18 year)
43% ABV
ScotchNoob™ Mark:
Price Range: $90-$99 [Sponsored Link]
Acquired: (1/4 oz pour) K&L Spirits Tasting

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  • I’ve read that only a small percentage of Glenmorangie’s Missouri oak bourbon cask matured whisky is in the 10 and 18 year olds. The rest is their whisky aged in normal ex-bourbon or refill casks. To get a taste of those Missouri oak casks, you’d need to pick up a bottle of Glenmorangie Astar, which also happens to be cask strength. Last time I checked Beltramo’s had five bottles (used to be six but I walked out with one).

  • I had the pleasure of trying this at an english pub in monterrey california and found it to be to my liking, while i was light i enjoyed it more than my macallan 18 year and it was about 5 bucks less.

  • Thank you, I’ve read lots of glowing reviews of Glenmorangie entire line up, including this one. Leaving me a presumed minority. I liked the first two shots from the bottle, and it’s gone totally down hill from there. Just not to my taste, where as I read mixed reviews of OP and Glengoyne, and I like those much more than this. As always, quality is in the eye of the taster, and we are all a little bit different. Makes the world and the whisky industry more interesting than if we all liked the exact same things. Cheers.