Glenmorangie Bacalta is the 8th bottle in the Private Edition range of single malts. This one looks to me to be picking up where an older Glenmorangie - the discontinued Madeira Wood Finish - left off. Bacalta started its life in ex-Bourbon casks, before being transferred into Malmsey Madeira casks for a finishing period.
The name Malmsey was used in the past as interchangeable with Malvasia, a grape variety grown in the Mediterranean region. This led to confusion when Madeira was sometimes produced using grapes such as Tinta Negra Mole, but still then labelled as Malmsey. Clarity is now just about there, as since 1986 (the entry of Portugal into the EU) any Madeira labelled as Malmsey has to contain at least 85% Malvasia grapes. Malmsey is now commonly associated with the sweetest end of Madeira wines.
Back to Bacalta: From the official description : 'Inspired by the long, balmy days on the island of Madeira, Glenmorangie Bacalta (Scots Gaelic for “baked”) is a sun-soaked single malt which delivers wonderfully warm layers of sweetness, brimming with baked fruits and honeyed tones'. Right then, let's have at this...
Nose: Wonderful sugary apricots and Seville oranges. Sweet candyfloss-like fruits and an underlying slight musky fragrance that one would probably associate with a Malmsey style of Madeira. Rich molasses mix with a nutty caramel and an interesting stony, almost mineral-like bite.
Taste: The nose translates very well though into the taste as again we have apricots (perhaps they're baked now though) and a very strong honeycomb. The minerality is again very apparent here but cuts through the intense fruit sugars and keeps the dram immediate and refreshing. A dash of water further brings out the stone fruit characteristics which are the driving force behind this whisky.
Finish: Drying with a slight alcoholic bite which masks the fruit a little too much. Spicing comes through and focusses on black pepper, but with a little intriguing note of eucalyptus in the background.
This is a strong effort from Glenmorangie and a solid entry to their continuing Private Edition story. I particularly admire the great translation from nose through to taste - it's very well connected together with the apricots and sharp flint-like minerals providing something both solid and yet also rather memorable. There's enough of the Glenmorangie spirit here too which is pleasing. Only a bit of an overly sharp, biting finish really holds this back from greatness.