The new experimental Glenmorangie A Tale of the Forest limited edition drop is a meandering autumn walk on the wilder, sylvan side.
We love it when Scotch whisky brands get all experimental.
Case in point, Glenmorangie.
Unfamiliar with Dr Bill Lumsden? The Head of Distilling & Whisky Creation at The Glenmorangie Company is often credited as one of those who pioneered the cask finishing – the process of “finishing” an already aged whisky in a different cask type to develop additional flavours and complexity. That technique has been applied in many of Glenmorangie’s core and travel retail ranges over the years – the Quinta Ruban and Nectar D’Or (finished in port and Sauternes casks, respectively), among others.
There’s also Glenmorangie’s Private Edition series, each which explore a different cask finish. The Pedro Ximenez-finished Sonnalta. Milsean (re-toasted wine casks). Bacalta (Madeira). The list goes on.
But while most whisky labels have followed its example and hopped onto (and got stuck) on the hamster wheel of cask finishing in the past decade, Glenmorangie, it seems, has at least moved on as seen by its latest limited edition, the Glenmorangie A Tale of the Forest.
This whisky is the result of a Eureka moment by Dr Bill as he wandered the woods near his home, soaking in the sights, sounds and smells of the surrounding forest. He then recalled how early Highland whisky makers dried their barley at that time with all kinds of forest fuel.
“Every time I go into the woods where I live, I notice something new, be it the fragrance of last night’s rainfall or the sound of leaves rustling a particular way. I began to imagine how we could bring the forest to life in a whisky, by kilning barley with materials from woodland, the way our ancestors did,” explained Dr Bill.
So he began experimenting. He kilned barley with many different botanicals, until he arrived at what he’d thought would work – juniper berries, birch bark and heather flowers, married with a little peat. The result, according Dr Bill, was a batch of spirit with rare aromas of pine needles and juniper, laced with wisps of smoke. He then aged it in bourbon casks including many refill casks, chosen to allow the spirit’s flavours to shine.
So yes, rather than (solely) mess with cask finishing, Glenmorangie is trying something different by having fun with the kilning process.
For Glenmorangie A Tale of the Forest, Glenmorangie collaborated with Thai artist Pomme Chan to illustrate the bottle livery and box packaging. Her design? A fantastical forest, one born from her own sojourns into her favourite forest in northern Thailand, as well as conversations with Dr Bill about Scotland. The result is a verdant piece exploding with images of blossoming heather, fragrant juniper, and oranges and pine cones dancing on the breeze.
“With aromas of pine needles, woodland moss, juniper’s sharpness, and tastes of eucalyptus, mint, bitter orange and distant smoke, A Tale of the Forest is a whisky to surround, delight and surprise you, whether you enjoy it deep in a forest or in cocktails at home,” Dr Bill concluded.
Glenmorangie A Tale of the Forest is available from today exclusively at a recommended retail price of S$188 from specialist stores Asher BWS and Le Vigne only.
Official Tasting Notes: Glenmorangie A Tale of the Forest
appearance Deep burnished gold.
nose Creamy and fruity with notes of vanilla and custard cream but also peach, pear, kumquat, mandarin, a hint of guava with herbal notes of fresh mint and eucalyptus.
palate Sweet, fruity and citric with flavour of green grapes and peach melba, clementine, lime zest but also nutty notes of almond and hazelnuts, tobacco leaves with a lightly peaty ashy and buttery character.
finish Herbal and medicinal with exotic fruits, praline and butterscotch note.
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