Wednesday, February 22, 2017

What A Dram - Glenmorangie Bacalta

Glenmorangie Bacalta
Let us just start off by saying WOW! What a dram the Glenmorangie Bacalta is. Only recently released, the Bacalta expression is the next in a long line of Private Edition releases coming out of Dr Bill Lumsden's "Cabinet of Curiosities" by this iconic distillery in Scotland.

We have had the pleasure of 2 encounters with the Bacalta so far. The first being the offical live tasting with Dr Bill Lumsden via telecast and then only 2 weeks later again with Dr Bill on a Tall Ship in Sydney Harbour.

Joining Dr Bill on the Soren Larsen on Sydney Harbour
These releases are Dr Bill Lumsden’s experimentation of where he can take the Glenmorangie spirit. The man likes to tinker there is no doubt and though he says how much he likes to play with Madeira wood, on a recent chat with Dr Bill he has pretty much confirmed this will be his last Madeira Wood finish. Simply the casks are very hard to work with, in the throws of death, unpredictable in character, and expensive to cooper. For those that have followed Glenmorangie over the years you would know that Madeira wood finishing is something of a legend with Glenmorangie finishing. This expression certainly has many similarities to their older style Madeira finishes. Expect to find those creamy cake textures, elements of orange citrus, and malty biscuits.

Bacalta, meaning "baked" in Gaelic, refers to the literal hot sun baking of casks filled with Madeira style wine as they are store in hot ceilings of Portuguese bodegas. Bodega can refer to a winery, cellar or warehouse. Regardless of the term the barrels are pretty beaten by the harsh heat treatment causing quick decay of wood and oxidisation of the wine. The casks leak, fall apart, and do not have long to be reused.

Dr Bill Lumsden Live Sydney Telecast Tasting
Like all Glenmorangie there is the beginning of the spirt as what we know to be the Glenmorangie Original. A ten year old whisky and the core spirit that then sees finishing. In this case finishing in American oak hogsheads that previously held Malmsey wine. The wine is aged for around 2 years in Madeira region of Portugal using the wine process of the same name. The Glenmorangie Original whisky is finished in these casks for 2 additional year period. This finishing leaves the whisky textural and a little dirty. Noting this, Dr Bill is very proud of the fact the whisky is bottled at 46% and non-chill filtered in order to deliver these Madeira wood characteristics. Yes expect this whisky to oxidise and quickly cloud up in the glass.

Glenmorangie Bacalta
Distillery: Glenmorangie
Region: Tain, Scotland
ABV: 46%
Age: 12 years approx
Wood: Ex-Bourbon seasoned with Madeira wine


Nose: Complex and lush with notes of sweet tea cake, butter, orange citrus and malt biscuits. A densely populate nose that also tingles and drys all at the same time. Do I smell roast duck and orange glaze?

Taste: Mouth filling in short. A ballooning effect that is both oily and sweet as more honey and glazed oranges appear. Now you are truly getting the Madeira effect as it also is texturally a bit gritty and burnt.

Finish: Not overly long though memorable and tactile. All those things a Glenmorangie delivers but more orange tea cake and  citrus pop at the end that eventually turns to a savoury citrus sugar glaze over a roasted duck.

Overall it is great expression and one of the more exciting deliveries over the past few Private Edition releases. I love it and makes me hungry.

I really urge you to get out there and try this whisky either at a bar or simply buy a bottle yourself. You will not be disappointed. If I was to give a dram then it would be a 6 out of 7. What a dram!

The Baron.

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