It’s surprising how the mind and the many plethora of human senses perceive an event that takes you back a few decades. In this specific instance, it was the scent of dust as it gets lifted off the earth with every drop of rain hitting the arid, seared soil. So much did this sound of splatter spawn many nostalgic memories that I was drawn to times when I would make a dash to the garden barefoot, jumping off the veranda and then gazing into the heavens as each droplet broke across my face.
Puddles of water, soiled and muddy behinds, paper boats and the use of branches of trees to shower unsuspecting cousins and friends, all fragments of a wonderful rain filled past! I still have days where I would rather get wet than run for cover, but those are getting to be a rarity; something my four year old has taken up and has an absolute bash at doing so! Nevertheless, I do tend to enjoy the seasonal showers even if it means I can’t get completely drenched…and what way would that be? Relishing the misty, wet skies and the entourage of sounds over a glass of whisky – I wouldn’t be blogging about my monsoon fetish if I had something else in mind!
My pick for this years auspicious monsoons is the Glenmorangie Original, a 10 year old Highland malt matured in first and second filled American Oak barrels. The Original is one of very few that refrains from maturing the distillate in European casks even if for a while – not that it is a bad thing, but what you have here is pure QA goodness coupled with a pinch of bourbon influence! *Or is it?*
In the pursuit of ensuring the Original’s optimal flavor, the distillery disposes any casks that may have clocked more than two fills; contrary to several others that continue using them a few times more. Greater attention is also given to the distillation process, which for a long time was supervised by sixteen men who worked round the clock to maintain the much loved consistency and quality aka, The Sixteen Men of Tain – as seen on the bottle! This number has since grown with the gradual increase in demand, the nickname however, inversely become a wee bit shorter – The Men of Tain!
The Original is Glenmorangie’s signature whisky and the most popular of all. Although the distillery was established in 1843, the first time liquor was distilled on the Morangie farm was in 1703, with a brewery being built a few decades later – 1730.
To the eye, the liquor’s physical characteristics seem to be slightly immature for its age with the viscosity lying somewhere between water and tea. It’s colour too is light – a result of the ex-bourbon casks that have rendered most of its colour to their erstwhile inhabitants leaving much less to acquire
Eye: Pale yellow.
Nose: Light, sweet and slightly smoky with the oakiness certainly evident. Honeyed candy, bananas and the zest of oranges followed by white pepper.
Taste: Honey sweet with the wood continuing to show its influence on the liquor. Citrusy and aromatic with spices like white pepper and nutmeg.
Finish: Fruity, sweet and medium to long.
On dilution, a lot more of that fragrant, fruity nature comes through with the woody tones being more subdued.
The Glenmorangie Original is very light, crisp and refreshing. It comes to me as one of those whiskies that really doesn’t need a lot of mind and effort other than placing the tip of the glass on your lips, tilting it and lapping it up. Having said that, there are a lot more whiskies of a similar genre that bring more to the plate, like the Dewar’s 12 or the Glenfiddich 12. And though in no way a bad whisky, it does fall short of being a great one – underline ‘great’!
To conclude, this tipple is enjoyable, fun and pleasing, one which works best neat. And though I would not dilute this, I would ask that you exercise caution if you were one that preferred to. ‘The Original’ is far from harsh and over dilution might just get it to the point of no return.