Monday 11 February 2013

Whisky Discovery #304

Glenmorangie Ealanta 19 Year Old (46% abv)
Highland Single Malt Whisky
circa £75.00 70cl
Whisky Discovery
Glenmorangie Ealanta - exclusively matured in virgin American white oak for 19 years
On the 15th January 2013 Glenmorangie announced the introduction of Ealanta, the fourth annual and latest release from it's Private Edition RangeThe Private Edition range consists of rare and interesting limited edition whiskies carefully selected from the ‘cabinet of curiosities’ of Dr Bill Lumsden, Director of Distilling and Whisky Creation at The Glenmorangie Company, comprising of the highly sought after Sonnalta PX , Finealta and Artein that are fast becoming collectors’ items. 

Ealanta meaning 'skilled and ingenious' in Scots Gaelic is a 1993 vintage, fully matured in virgin American white oak casks for 19 years

Glenmorangie’s Distilling and Whisky Creation Director, Dr. Bill Lumsden, is an acknowledged pioneer and is known for travelling the world to search out the best oak casks in which to mature his whisky.

Dr Lumsden commented:”It’s no secret in our industry that it’s the ‘wood that makes the whisky’ and for many years my team and I have been carrying out detailed research in this area. Ealanta is in fact one experiment dating way back to just before I joined the company in the early 1990s.

“Having discovered these casks and sampled them, I realised then what a jewel we had and immediately had the casks secreted in a safe place. Over the years I have kept a close eye on their progress, and although the final recipe for Glenmorangie Ealanta is from me and my team, it’s a real pleasure to see the original experiment see the light of day at last…and be still here to celebrate it!”

He continued: “The casks selected way back then from oaks of the Mark Twain National Forest were absolutely top quality and unusually had not previously held any liquor such as bourbon, so it’s the interaction of our delicate floral spirit from our very tall stills directly with this ‘virgin’ wood that makes for many intriguing flavours.

“New wood also imparts a purity of flavour that I think many Glenmorangie aficionados will find an interesting divergence from our previous Private Edition releases. Using virgin oak casks that have been heavily toasted adds huge mouth-filling, buttery, creamy, vanilla flavours – somewhat like a crème brulée topped with almond and marzipan. This makes for a lovely rounded and complex expression of Glenmorangie.

“A light-hearted conclusion to all this serious research in to wood types and Ealanta was that Mark Twain himself reputedly discovered and wrote about his liking for good Scotch whisky on his trip to London in 1873 so it’s nice to think he might even have enjoyed a dram of Glenmorangie in the luxurious surroundings of the Langham Hotel where he is known to have stayed.”

Ealanta has been bottled at 46% abv, and is non-chill filtered. It will be available globally from January 2013 and Whisky Discovery were kindly sent a sample to review.

So What Did We Think?

Reading through our notes you would ask yourself are we both tasting the same whisky? We both had different sample bottles, and tasted them separately, so there were no discussions about our thoughts, but I was surprised just how different we found them. I know that Glenmorangie hasn't always impressed Kat when we have tasted expressions at Whisky Shows, I on the other-hand have enjoyed them, though have only had the 10 Year Old on my shelf so far.
Whisky Discovery
Dave's sample from PR Company
Kat: On the nose I got dark chocolate, specifically Bourneville, sweetness from a ripe fresh nectarine, a hint of the smell of the pink erasers you get at the end of pencils, and a faint hint of fudge. I found with a splash of water it brings out the caramel/toffee notes, orange blossom and damp bark. 

Initially I got zesty orange peel on the palate, then some spices like cinnamon & nutmeg, some vanilla, and caramelised cooked nectarines. With the addition of water, more cereal notes comes through – corn flakes. The sweetness transforms into something closer to clear honey, overall reminding me of a moist Mediterranean polenta cake. 

The finish was floral, orange blossom returning, spices also returning, leaving a fresh almost minty mouth feel. 

Dave: Bright golden in colour and upon pouring this into the glass there was spicy wood, green wood and a faint Bourbon like note, with pine cones and menthol too. After a little while in the glass more fragrant floral notes develop, which even my wife commented on. Creamy vanilla comes through eventually followed by a soft toffee, butterscotch and sugar coated almonds of all things?

On the palate it is sweet and creamy on entry with a spicy build up. Woody, vanilla with a citrus edge, and the sugared almonds from the nose make an appearance on the palate too.

Very spicy finish with hot chili and a drying nuttiness.

This is the first of the Private Edition range that I have come across in my Whisky Journey to date, I'm not sure of how many bottles have been released so can't tell you how long this will be available for. It seems to be reasonably priced for a 'limited edition' 19 year old, however the jury is out at Whisky Discovery, not sure either of us will be rushing out to put this on our shelf, OK I'm sure Kat won't be, but I would like to give it a second looking at one of the whisky shows coming up.

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