Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Review: Glenmorangie Highland Single Malt "The Original" Ten Years Old

It's summertime.  Scotch whisky or any whisky for that matter is not foremost on your mind when thinking of a refreshing libation in the humid days of July and August.  I understand where you are coming from.  Who wants a sherry bomb from Macallan, GlenDronach or Glenfarclas as you watch the mercury rise.  You have a enough heat!  Islay is not the epitome of cooling refreshment either with it's skyscraper high smoke, peat and phenolic levels that bring acid flashback-like memories of your last stay in the hospital with its gauze, stinky eucalyptus based ointments and a nurse that could have inspired a Stephen King novel.

There is another possibility: the light bodied and tasting Scotch whisky that is devoid of smoke, peat and heavy sherry.  Glenmorangie "The Original" Ten year old is such a candidate.


Nose (undiluted)
Buttercups, red grapefruit and other citrus notes, nutmeg and almonds.

Palate (undiluted)
Sweet pear juice, French vanilla ice cream, cake bread, honeyed cereal, and fresh salted pretzel.

Finish (undiluted)
Lemons, malt and a little heat that leaves a clean and tingling sensation.  There is an effervescent quality that is reminiscent of Perrier.

Price Point
This 10 year old single malt is very reasonably priced.  In the US it ranges from $29 to $39.  In Canada, $50-$59.  As for the rest of the world, I dunno, but what I do know is that this is great value for money.

Serving Suggestion
'The Original' is a very light bodied malt, and I have noticed because of that one must be mindful to put a bit of distance between your last meal and tasting this whisky.  Ideally, try to taste this three hours after your last meal so that you can really taste this delicate malt in all its splendor.  If you have a meal of spicy foods (tacos, curry, barbecued menu items, etc) your palate is roughened up.  Drink this malt afterwards and you will pick up raw alcohol and grainy notes.  Follow my advice and your drink enjoyment will significantly improve.  The alcohol and graininess is gone.

Just my theory, but I think spicy foods have a way of causing tiny abrasions to the palate which results in a deleterious affect upon one's sense of taste.  Moreover, depending up the texture and salt content, other foods can do the same.  Particularly salted mixed nuts.  Consume the nuts with your beer, but not your Scotch whiskies.

Glenmorangie 12 Nectar D'Or
Glenmorangie 'The Original' is interesting because it hints at its older brother by 2 years, the Nectar D'Or that is a great delight.  Both are light whiskies, but if you are seeking a little more depth and honeyed complexity, the next one for you to try is the Nectar D'Or.

General Impressions
Novices and newbies to single malt Scotch whisky will enjoy "The Original" because there are no offensive elements.  Newcomers to Scotch tend not to be fans of Islay whiskies and others that are heavily peated and smoked.  Newbies like honey, donuts and icing.  The honey icing donut of whisky is The Original, but in a good way.  It is sweet initially but the mid-palate introduces cake, cereal and cream before a finish that leaves a drying effervescence.

This whisky will appeal to the connoisseur in your life.  Complexity is present and the elegant, yet simple style will cause your serious whisky fan a moment of pause and contemplation that best can be summed up as "It's good!"


Jason Debly