The Glenmorangie 18 is one of those bottlings that have long been seen as a treasure at the end of the rainbow, slipping through my fingers or somehow taking less precedence for a variety of reasons. The local Dan’s and a few other stores, never seemed to have stock of it for a while now – blame Covid perhaps! Saving grace however came with Father’s day around the corner – the phone buzzed with the latest offers, my eyes glistened, mouth watered, and in no less than a few minutes, I was busy scrolling the app to place an online order! And why not, for a 20% discount, this 18 YO Highland whisky was a bargain.
At first glance, the packaging is royal, a sight for sore eyes, in a plush maroon box with the bottle snuggly fitting into the slots moulded in. The bolder, broader contours also reflect the regal stylings lent to the bottle, setting it apart from its 10, 12 and 14 YO siblings, with DNA not largely deviating from the distiller’s traditional bottle styling. The contents are matured for the first 15 years in American ex-bourbon barrels, with a third of the spirit drawn out to further mature in ex-Olorroso casks. The contents are then vatted together again to form what we know as the “Extremely Rare 18 YO”.
ABV : 43%
Eye : Deep copper to burnished | Caramel colouring
Nose : Begins with dried fruits, nougat and almonds with hints of vanilla, grain and some citrus zest. Mild bits of peat seem closely coupled with an earthiness that is soon interrupted with coconut shavings, black licorice, some spice and powdered cinnamon.
Taste : Honey infused with a host of tropical fruits – red apples, apricots, stone fruits and mandarin peels. Some candied notes, interleaved with sherry and caramel, followed by raisins, dried fruits, some wood and spice.
Finish : Dried fruits and apricots followed by some woodiness.
This 18 YO whisky is full bodied and smooth, with a mild personality, an attribute inherited from the tall stills at the distillery, some of the tallest in the Scottish highlands. It does not echo a lot of sherried flavours, not a bad thing and certainly not out of the ordinary since only a portion is matured in sherried casks. This expression does deliver good breadth and a lovely balance of flavours, with a bit of earthiness that counters the sweetness. For a 18 YO spirit that costs between AUD $140-160, this does lack some depth, missing the mark. Not a bad expression but not as great as my expectations, possibly seeing how good the 10 YO compared to its competition – the Glenfiddich 12 or Glenlivet 12.
Preference : Neat; at 43%, knowing of its milder, light profile on the palate, it does not really need further dilution.