Somehow I keep bypassing Glenmorangie products… perhaps because there are so damn many. The Lasanta, at 12 years of age, is in the same “Extra Matured” Series as Quinta Ruban and Nectar d’Or. This one, after the same initial 10 years in ex-bourbon, spent 2 years in Oloroso sherry casks. This makes it “sherry finished”, as opposed to “sherry matured”, which means it isn’t really apt to compare it to Macallan or GlenDronach or other whiskies aged fully (or predominantly) in ex-sherry. Of course, the whole idea of the “Extra Matured” Series is to showcase Glenmorangie whisky as a canvas for other flavors, and Lasanta delivers. It also helps that Glenmorangie products have remained (almost) immune to the run-up in whisky prices endemic through the industry. The fact that you can still get 12 year-old sherry-finished Glenmorangie for under $45 is both remarkable, AND a reason to buy it… especially if your favorite sherried Speysider has priced itself out of your reach.
Lasanta is bottled at 46% ABV and is not chill-filtered. Note that in late 2014 Lasanta was lowered from 46% ABV to 43% ABV. This review is from one of the older (46% ABV) bottles.
Nose: Evident sherry – dried fruits and dusty caramel. As this is finished in sherry, not matured in it, the effect is milder and the fruit less robust than Macallan or GlenDronach.
Palate: Alternating sweet and tart fruit. Good integration between fruit jam and the layers of caramel, and soft cereals. Good amount of flavor for a $45 single malt.
Finish: Medium-long. A little on the hot side, but with some nice concentrated dried mixed fruit. Ends slightly bitter, with a touch of nuttiness.
With Water: Reveals a burst of raspberry coulis, but the alcohol vapor gets a little hot. Slightly sweeter – brown sugar – on the palate, and more fruit on the finish. Definitely give some water a shot.
Overall: This is a respectable sherry-tinged malt that is very definitely worth $45 of your money. It’s regularly available, consistent in quality, and can be absentmindedly enjoyed, or analyzed in turn. For a desert island, I prefer its pricier sibling, the Nectar d’Or, but the two are in no way similar – you could easily find room on your shelf for both.
Note: I’ve marked this as ‘Must Try’ because it’s a quintessential part of any whisky lover’s journey, as is Quinta Ruban. It may not find a permanent spot on your shelf (especially if you’ve ‘graduated’ to pricier malts), but it’s a case study in the effects of sherry finishing and the adaptability of Glenmorangie’s malt.