Tuesday, October 28, 2014

She’s Salty, Sweet & Sour - Glenmorangie Taghta

The Glenmorangie Taghta
Let us try and keep this a short post for a short event that launches a big whisky. 27th October 2014 saw the launch of the Glenmorangie Taghta, a whisky born out of the Glenmorangie Cask Masters. The Cask Masters is Glenmorangie’s delving into the experiment of crowd sourced opinion on what whisky they were to next release. From cask to whisky profile, then from name to packaging, every step in the process was released and voted on by anyone that had signed up to be part of the Glenmorangie Cask Masters.

Well before the inception of The Cask Maters back in 2013, Glenmorangie’s Head of Distilling & Whisky Creation Dr Bill Lumsden, undertook the journey of establishing a new whisky to be chosen by the people for the the people. The basis of this experiment takes Glenmorangie Original (a favourite if mine) to be then finished in casks for an undisclosed amount of time in order to develop the unique profile. This process is much like what Glenmorangie already does for its base expressions: Lasanta; Quinta Ruban; Nectar D’or. The casks chosen for this experiment was a Grand Cru Burgundy cask, Grand Cru Bordeaux cask, and a Spanish Manzanilla Sherry cask.

The No Money No Honey and Begbies Breakfast
Manzanilla is a white sherry made around the port of Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Spain. The word ‘Manzanilla’ means chamomile in Spanish, a flavour openly displayed in Manzanilla sherry. The sherry also has a salty brine texture to it believed to be attributed to the terroir of the region. If Manzanilla casks is sounding familiar to you, recall last years Ardbeg Day 2013 release was Ardbog which was also extra matured in Manzanilla casks. Ardbog had some very distinctive salt, brine, and herbal tea notes much like what Taghta displays. Considering Dr Bill Lumsden also overseas Ardbeg’s profiling we can assume he liked what he saw and ensured a Manzanilla cask was to be part of the Taghta selection process.

Garth presenting to the audience giant nipple and all
The name 'Taghta' (pronounced tuh-tah) translates from Gaelic to ‘The Chosen’. It is a fitting name considering the process of development but was it the perfect name. The other two names up for consideration was 'Salainn' (pronounced Sahl-ing) meaning Sea Salt, and 'Coileanta' (pronounced Coh-lahn-tah) meaning Mastery. On tasting the whisky I have to lay my vote on Salainn because the salt influence is through the roof.

At the Glenmorangie Taghta Sydney launch we were greeted at the door by Glenmorangie brand ambassador Garth Foster. Garth was to usher us in to partake in a fine selection of canapé’s washed down with two Glenmorangie based cocktails titled 'Begbies Breakfast' and 'No Money No Honey'. Both being well developed cocktails the Begbies Breakfast was a dense party to be having in the mouth prior to a tasting, but the chocolate coated cherry garnish made for a good palate breaker. The event though was over in about 1.5hrs but reality is that is all that was needed to really get to grips with the Taghta.

Glenmorangie Taghta 
Distiller: Glenmorangie
Location/Region: Tain, Scotland
Type: Highland Single Malt
Alcohol/ABV: 46%
Age: Minimum 10years with a finshing period undisclosed
Finish: Spanish Manzanilla Sherry Cask

Colour: Ripe apple flesh with a bit of brown making it earthy in the light.

Nose: Honey comb or butterscotch (I can’t decide), salted chocolate, white pepper, cranberry and dry herb notes. Extremely full in the nose, after a first sip camomile really does come to the forefront as does a sour cranberry edge and much more fruity raisins.

Taste: Really big! Hot and salty with elements of wine grapes and herbal tea. Viscous in nature it retains a lot of the buttery elements typical in a Glenmorangie Original but the intensity degrees above the mark. At first prickling on the lips by adding just a dash of water the spice evens out delivering leather, dark chocolate, butterscotch and raisins while the salts are retained be it slightly mellowed.

Finish: Salty, sweet and sour all at once. The heat lingers in the throat and the tingle puckers the lips. A large chew also develops in the palate typical of sherry influence as does cinnamon spices.

Overall: A ball tearer of a whisky that at first seems over weighed with the salts but easily pulls back with that dash of water. I am not one to add water to whisky but in this case it needs it just to calm the tides.

If I was to give a dram a fitting 6 out of 7 will do. Not to everyones tastes it is challenging, engaging, and assertive making it something excitable to enjoy. Be prepared for a big salt hit though. I dare say even Laphroaig does not manage this salt level. I would be tempted though to put the salt levels though in the region of a Old Pulteney. So if you enjoy a maritime dram tho one might just go down a treat.

Priced at $174 AU the Glenmorangie Taghta is limited to purchasing online only through the Moet-Hennessy Collection store which means you will not be discovering this baby on a shelf near you anytime soon.

Thanks you to Moet-Hennessy, Glenmorangie, EVH PR for the invite and of course to Garth for a drawn sample used for this isolated tasting.

The Baron

D.T.W.C. was invited as a guest this event. All views and opinions are our own unless otherwise stated.