Sometimes the Scotch Gods smile upon you. After first encountering this whisky at a Merlin’s Rest tasting in 2014, it quickly sold out in the state and we didn’t think we’d ever encounter it again. Therefore, it was quite a pleasant surprise when we stumbled upon it while in Madison, Wisconsin to retrieve another hard-to-find dram, the Glen Breton Rare 10 year. When presented with such an opportunity, the last thing you do is not seize upon it. Glenmorangie’s Private Edition series are yearly releases, with the Companta spirit matured in 60% Burgundy wine casks from Clos de Tart and 40% Rasteau casks from the Côtes du Rhône region of France. As with others in this range, like the 2013 Elanta, the Companta has also won multiple whisky awards.
Maturation: Burgundy and Rasteau casks
Nose: Orange rind, cherry, chocolate, mulling spices, gingerbread
Palate: Chocolate, silky, pepper, resin, berry, ginger, cinnamon, apple
Finish: Spice, black pepper, orange peel, lemon zest
Comments: No water needed.
Adam – There really must be Scotch gods. I’ve sampled several of Glenmorangie’s regular offerings and always come away rather nonplussed. This dram took me completely by surprise. There is warmth here, with a nice amount of oil to keep it from evaporating too quickly. It hangs around in your mouth and throat rather than sinking into your chest. The strong influence of the casks provide a lot of character, a peppered fruit basket of the senses. The mix of chocolate, spices and fruit really does evoke a seasonal association. It’s the mix of complexity and warmth, with the base spirit allowing the elements from the wine casks to shine. A real winner, which makes it all the sadder this private edition is both expensive and hard to find. At least I’ve found one Glenmorangie to love.
Jenny – A lot of warm baked fruits on the nose, cherries and berries and red fruits, a little bit of chocolate. Overall just very sweet. I like that it is a little bit of a dessert. It’s warm, I want to drink it by a fire by a Christmas tree with snow falling outside. It’s comfortable, how you want to feel in the wintertime. It reminds me of mulled wine.
Meghan – I get a lot of orange rind and pine resin on the nose. It is a warming, spice-filled scent. The initial palate is a bit sour which clashes with the nose. But, it smooths to a milk chocolate and red berry sweetness. The sourness mellows to a crisp red apple which brings out the cinnamon and spice. It is reminiscent sipping warm mulled cider by the Christmas tree. There is a unique evergreen freshness to this offering. When we first sampled this I dubbed it an “Advent Scotch” meaning its flavors reminded me of pre-Christmas, early winter celebrations. Trying it again about a year later I still agree with the term. Though now it is partially due to flavor and partially due to the fact that Advent is a time of anticipation that inevitably (at least for me) results in a slight disappointment. I enjoy this Scotch but it could be so much more than what it is. There is something about Glenmorangie’s base Scotch that just leaves me wanting so that even when something quite remarkable is done with it, it can only improve so much. I would love to see what another distillery (Ardbeg, Arran, GlenDronach, are you reading?) could produce with that combination of casks.
Michael – A wonderful dessert Scotch. Also very seasonal, it fits with a pre-Christmas dessert making feeling. One of the things that I really like about this is that it underlines the cask finish more than other Scotches seem to do. They’re highlighted here, really the centerpiece of this Scotch, rather than other whiskies where they’re more in the background.
Henry – Some whiskies tell a story. This one writes a classic romance novel. The nose is deep and complex. Cocoa and vanilla yield to tangerine, black cherry (the real thing, not something made in a factory in New Jersey), and potpourri. Hints of lilac and gardenia… she moves in mysterious ways, this one. The palate opens with notes of fresh apple and balsam, but is ultimately overshadowed by the breadth and depth of magic happening in the nose. As to the finish? Don’t. Please don’t. Don’t ever finish. Just give me more.