Glenmorangie 1996 Grand Vintage

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Those of you who are familiar with Glenmorangie will likely have heard of Glenmorangie Astar, a whisky which was essentially a limited edition, turbo-charged version of their 10 year old flagship expression, initially launched in 2008 before making a comeback in 2017. If not, the key thing to note is the designer casks used to create that whisky. The casks were made from *takes deep breath* slow growth, tight grain, highly porous American oak from the north facing slopes of the Ozark Mountains in Missouri, which were then air dried for approximately two years, lightly toasted, heavily charred, and used to mature bourbon for four years before being shipped to Scotland. Phew.

These casks gave rise to some wonderful whisky with the Astar releases, and now we (and you, for the princely sum of £635) have the opportunity to taste Astar’s bigger, and much older brother – albeit it not at cask strength – with the 1996 Grand Vintage. This 23 year old whisky has been created from some of the first parcels of these designer casks which were laid down in 1996, and has been released as the sixth expression in the brand’s Bond House No.1 Collection.

Speaking of the release, Director of Whisky Creation at Glenmorangie, Dr Bill Lumsden, said: “Glenmorangie Grand Vintage Malt 1996 wonderfully demonstrates how we can bring our most extraordinary dreams to life. The oldest whisky we have ever aged in our bespoke casks, its fresh, floral aromas and luxuriously creamy tastes are gloriously enhanced by age. A delicious step on from Glenmorangie Astar, this limited edition will be adored by whisky lovers old and new.”

Let’s see.

Glenmorangie 1996 Grand Vintage
23 years old
Bond House No.1 Collection 6th Release
10,150 bottles
43% ABV
£635 here

Nose: Meadowsweet, violets, and jasmine provide a floral start, before honeydew melon, peaches in cream, baked pineapple, apricot, and poached pear burst through. There’s some nectarine, crystallised ginger, and Cherry Bakewells too, along with a touch of sweet oak.

Palate: Creamy lemon, overripe lime, lychee, passionfruit, banana foams, pink wafers, apricot and peach. Gorgeously juicy. Just a hint of light spice, with white pepper and ginger, with a gentle oaky undertone.

Finish: Fruit salad, pineapple, mango, and a touch of coconut husk.

Overall: Utterly gorgeous whisky. Full of juicy, tropical fruits, a little light spice, and remarkable restrained oakiness given it’s relatively advanced age. This is what Glenmorangie does best – give that light spirit a good number of years in top quality American oak and it really shines. I only wish the bottling strength was higher, then we’d have a real cracker on our hands. As it is, it’s such an easy drinker, almost alarmingly so.





  1. Great review Chris. Easy drinkers are always the dangerous ones! Ed

  2. Thanks Ed, glad you enjoyed the article. Very dangerous indeed, especially given its value!



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