Back when Private Editions from Glenmorangie were still a thing, they occasionally did something interesting with the series. Half of their ‘innovative’ bottlings were just using a different wine cask or a specific sherry cask. Nothing new under the sun although they tried to pass it off as such.
However, when there was something interesting happening, it could very well be described as super non-innovative too. As in, the things that peaked my interest were the Allta and Tùsail. And these alterations on their usual recipe involved local wild yeasts and old styles of barley. More a trip back to the early 1900s and before than anything else.
But, as long-time readers might know, I am a bit of a geek for things like that. I love it when people take back a solid step from the more and more homogenous product that whisky is becoming. When they truly look to local environments for ingredients, when not the most alcohol yielding barley variety is picked, but one that was used for flavor instead.
It’s, in part, why I absolutely love products like Springbank’s Local Barley whiskies, Lindores Abbey’s push to use barley from local farms, Bruichladdich’s Islay Barley, what they’re doing in general in Dornoch, and so on.
This one then. Glenmorangie Allta used a wild yeast that was found on locally growing barley and has been used to ferment the mash. Because of using a quite different strain of yeast, the flavors developed during fermentation are quite different than what we all know from Glenmorangie.
Barley, digestive biscuits, a hint of vanilla and some wood. There’s a whiff of oranges, white bread and old, corky apples. Some sugar glaze, and pastry cream, puff pastry (yes, the complete Tompouce…).
A gentle arrival that has slightly sweet biscuit notes. A small note of candied lemon and tangerine. Dry notes of apple, ground acorns, twigs and straw.
The finish is slightly more sweet than the palate. Quite a long finish with white bread and biscuits.
I’m not sure if the casks used for this bottling are different than the regular 10 years old, but there’s a lot less vanilla than there is on that edition. The biscuit notes are a lot more dry, and more pronounced than I’m used to as well.
It might not be the most awesome whisky, but it does everything I wanted it to do, and focus more on the ingredients and the flavors developed during distillation than it does on flavors developed during maturation. Quite a different approach that I would love for them to go back to sometime.