When this was released I tried to bottle-share it, but I believe no one was interested. Why care about Glenmorangie, right?
However, the entire concept of this bottling, with the maris-otter barley instead of regular far-more-yielding barley was something that interests me. The fact that it’s floor malted only adds to that, but the barley itself is the main thing.
Maris-otter barley is a variety of barley that was used mainly in the brewing industry during the seventies and into the eighties, if I’m not mistaken. Apart from somewhat lower yields than modern varieties it is said to be a bit more flavorsome, with more malted barley flavors making it into the end product.
Glenmorangie decided to see whether or not this would translate to whisky as well as beer.
In general, these Private Editions from Glenmorangie have been hit and miss for me. Some have been delicious, but not exceptional. Some were pretty shit, if I’m honest. What I like about them is when they’re trying to see what influences flavor in which way, like with this one (and the Allta, for example). What I don’t care about is some random finish in a Portuguese wine cask.
Light and crisp, with some mint and lots of barley. Dry dirt, straw, oak. Lots of barley driven scents.
Quite sharp and dry. Not much maturity, but a nice balance between oak and barley. Dry husks, straw, old bread. Some dried apples, and some hop-like bitterness. A whiff of mint.
The finish show more of the mint and barley. Lots of it, with some other barley driven flavors. Straw, apple, some dry oak.
I love how barley forward this is. The regular Glenmorangie 10 has this in some way, but this one pushes it a lot further. And with that, I think there’s something to say for using proper barley varieties instead of going fully for yield.
It is said that 75% to 90% of a whisky’s flavor comes from the cask, but I think that’s mainly true because virtually everyone switched from flavorsome barley and yeast strains to industrial yeast and high-yield barley. Zuidam is also a distillery that proves this, with their distillate being a lot more unique than most.
A shame that so much homogenization is taking place, especially when whiskies like this more or less prove that there’s uniqueness to be gained from taking a step back. Go back to the production leading instead of the accounting department.
Anyway, I really, really like this whisky. Both for its uniqueness, its approach and its flavor.
Glenmorangie Tùsail, Private Edition 2014, 46% (Maris Otter Barley / Floor-Malted by Hand). Available for about € 115