Glenmorangie’s annual Private Edition bottles has always been where spirit and wood experimentation intersect, resulting in some unique and oft-times tasty whiskies. 2018’s edition is no different. With the release of Spios (Gaelic for ‘spice’), Glenmorangie are doing something which I believe is a first – taking American ex-rye casks, and using them to full-term mature their single malt. You may have seen a few examples of rye finished whisky (Johnnie Walkers Blenders’ Batch springs to mind) where the liquid has been re-racked (usually from ex-bourbon) for a period of some months, but Glenmorangie’s 9th Private Edition bottling takes the rye and puts it front and central by wholly maturing all the whisky in ex-rye casks.
The Interwebs suggest that Spios has been slumbering in ex-rye for around a decade. Interestingly, while rye is having a bit of a resurgence currently, when Glenmorangie began these Private Edition experiments and selected the casks they would be using for their production, the world was a rather different place and rye was largely a forgotten drink from America’s pre-prohibition era. Fast-forward to 2018 and Glenmorangie along with Dr Bill Lumsden (Director of Distilling, Whisky Creation & Whisky Stocks) are looking like they’re totally in touch with the contemporary rye revival. Clearly there’s been some keen use of the crystal ball.
Nose: Sweet, fruity, herbal and spiced. The Glenmorangie house style is unmistakable to begin with – toffee, custard, baking sugar, Seville oranges and stewed apricots. These sit with some underlying herbalness – mint and leafy hedgerows. The spice influence makes itself felt immediately – nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon – all very well connected to the core distillery aromas. Resting adds some raspberries and rhubarb into the mix (rhubarb and custard is a lovely thing), as well as some dustiness to the spices.
Taste: Rich arrival that delivers spice immediately – cinnamon, cloves, star anise and pepper – a little prickly and sharp. Then, we’re back in to a more fruit-driven format – rhubarb, peaches, raspberries – all still wrapped up in creamy toffee and vanilla custards. There’s some bakery flavour here – flans, pies and tarts, these sit well with both the fruit and the spice, evoking freshly made spiced pastries.
Finish: Short to medium and delivering vanilla flavoured toffee, dusty oak and snappy pepper and cinnamon.
Glenmorangie Spios is much more subtle than I was expecting, bringing the spices that you’d expect to find in a well-made rye whiskey, but marrying them highly effectively with the distillery’s spirit character. At times you’d think you were sipping a slightly spicier version of the 10 year old - the underlying distillery character comes through incredibly strongly here. All this makes for a solid and tasty whisky, but perhaps one I was expecting a little more from – whilst balance and subtlety are to be commended, to my palate this new Private Edition seem like a somewhat restrained spin on Glenmorangie Original 10 year old. If that’s what you’re after, by all means seek out a bottle, it’s tasty. But, if you’re looking for something a touch more radical, previous Private Editions have delivered more drastic and sweeping results. Available now from Master of Malt for £74.81.
But don't take our word for it..
We don't have any links to other reviews for this bottle. Let us know if you have one. Click here
Thank you for adding your link. We will review your link within 48 hours.