To have a basic understanding of the Glenmorangie Distillery, you need to start with Glenmorangie Original (pictured above).
The Original is a ten year old single malt. An introductory single malt that is aged exclusively in ex-bourbon casks (American oak) from Heaven Hill and Jack Daniels. Accordingly, it comes as no surprise that the malt is light bodied and enjoys flavors of citrus/orange, peach, mint and coconut.
Several other Glenmorangie releases basically stand on the shoulders of the Original. While the Original is a 10 year old single malt, several other bottlings from this distillery are 12 years, and those additional ("extra matured") two years involve time in casks other than American oak. Accordingly, their "extra matured" product line is composed of (1) Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban (extra matured in port casks from Portugal); (2) Glenmorangie Lasanta (extra matured in sherry casks from Spain); and (3) Glenmorangie Nectar D'or (extra matured in Sauternes casks from France). Clearly, this is a distillery that is well known for single malts with various "finishes."
And that concept brings us to the subject of this evening's review: Glenmorangie The Lasanta 12 years
Limes, oranges, raspberries, fog hanging over a bay, and brine of the sea in the air.
Powerful arrival of sweet sherry! Huge! Big and spicy, raisins, plums, prunes and oak somewhere underneath. A tad fiery upon first opening bottle. Let a week pass and what was once hot becomes great warmth.
Tingling oak, drying with smoke and somewhat winey.
This is not a single malt that makes me swoon like a teenage girl at a midnight showing of Twilight. The Lasanta is an entry level sherry bomb. Not particularly sophisticated. Not what I would regard as exhibiting great complexity of flavors. But, it does deliver a nice velvety blanket of sherry, raisins and dark spiced fruits.
The price is very reasonable and among the lowest in the 12 year old single malt market segment. For that reason, I think you are getting fair value for the dollar.
When I first opened the bottle, the malt tasted a little hot and very slight bitterness on the finish. It softened up a bit after a week, becoming less hot and more like very concentrated dark chocolate. This is a bottle that gets better (up to a point) the longer it is open (within reason - ie. 4-6 months max).
The initial hot/bitter elements in taste are due in part to the high abv (46%) and the use of wood by the master distiller. Remember the Lasanta, for the first 10 years of its life was essentially the Original (a spirit aged exclusively in American oak), and then in a mere two further years of finishing becomes a bombastic sherried malt. The casks used were probably first fill sherry casks/butts for the most part. The use of such potently seasoned casks/butts may contribute to some 'woody' elements of taste and bitterness.
In any event, you should not be overly concerned about how it tastes upon opening because a little time and maybe some water will tame it to your liking. In general, this Glenmorangie is rather sweet once the bottle has been open for a bit.
This is a solid effort in the entry level sherried 12 year old malt marketplace. Lasanta competes with others like: Aberlour 12, GlenDronach 12, Balvenie Doublewood 12, and Glenfarclas 12. Is it the best of the sherried whiskies? Probably not, but is at or near the lowest price point. Something to consider in these times.
P.S. - Want an example of a home run hit by this distillery? Try the Quinta Ruban.
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