Another year, another Glenmorangie Private Edition. This year’s release has seen a reincarnation, of sorts, of the now-discontinued Madeira Finish which was around in the late 90’s and early noughties. Named ‘Bacalta’ (Gaelic for ‘baked’), this expression takes its name from the Malmsey wine casks used on the island of Madeira. These casks are stored towards the roof in the bodegas, in very hot conditions, and are therefore said to be ‘baked’ by the sun, resulting in a very rich, acidic and tart wine. For this year’s Private Edition, Dr. Bill Lumsden instructed the Speyside Cooperage to build 250L American Oak hogsheads, which were then heavily toasted and shipped to Madeira before being used to mature Malmsey wine for two years. They were then brought back to Scotland and filled with 10yo Glenmorangie whisky from ex-bourbon casks for a further two(ish) years. I remember the old Madeira Finish fondly, hence I’m very much looking forward to this latest expression from Glenmorangie.
Malmsey Wine (Madeira) Cask Finish
Nose: Fruity and creamy, with apricots in cream, peaches in syrup, vanilla custard, crème brûlée, honey and white chocolate. Underneath there’s toasted almonds, candied orange and faint ginger. Very enticing.
Palate: An initial explosion of sweetness, with pick ‘n’ mix sweets, Danish pastries, honey on oats, golden syrup and Cherry Bakewells. These give way to orange oil, root ginger and marmalade on toast along with some singed lemon peel.
Finish: Crunchie Bars, toasted oak and a warming cinnamon spice.
Overall: I’m pleasantly surprised. Not because I was expecting a poor whisky, not by any stretch of the imagination. I just wasn’t expecting it to be this good. The past few Private Editions have all been good whiskies, but this is a step up. Thoroughly enjoyable, with the sweet fruitiness balancing the spices fantastically.