Dubbed as its French Soul Mate, this Highland Single Malt Scotch Launches its first Margaux Cask Finish Whisky
Dr. Bill Lumsden, Master Distiller for Glenmorangie, lends an ambassadorial role to his single malt, recreating the alliance between the Scots and the French with the marriage of the famous Bordeaux-style grape to the Highlands-born grain.
By Meridith May
For all its complexities and nuances – we discover that a fine whisky and a stellar Bordeaux have much in common.
Think about geography. From France’s Haut-Médoc, Margaux Grand Crus are thought of as the region’s most elegant and subtle. The soil in Margaux is among the most gravelly in the Médoc, offering that refinement and violet berry aromatic essence that has made these wines famous.
Margaux, often called an “iron fist in a velvet glove,” distinguishes this marque by the maturation of the whisky in one of Bordeaux’s most renowned barriques. It delivers that “first growth” experience to the newly launched Glenmorangie expression: a 16-year old single malt whisky finished in Margaux casks.
“Glenmorangie is arguably the most complex spirit produced in Scotland,” says Dr. Bill Lumsden, Glenmorangie’s Master Distiller. “With its hallmark floral aromas and soaring elegance, it is delicate, approachable and ‘more-ish.’ It is a fitting union with the generous aromatics and hedonistic flavors of a Margaux.”
The More-ish Single Malt Whisky
The term “more-ish” is a turn of phrase that signifies the desire for that next sip. Glenmorangie’s creamy texture, its vibrant fruit and mellow character makes it inviting.
But does this highly regarded whisky live up to the “hype” of being aged in Margaux wood casks? We asked that question to Dr. Lumsden, who sat us down with the 1987 Glenmorangie vintage Margaux Cask Finish and a bottle of Chateau Margaux Premier Grand Cru 2002.
The limited edition bottling gives it value, no doubt (3,551 bottles produced, only 720 numbered and signed bottles by Dr. Lumsden are allocated to the U.S. at a suggested retail price of $499) but the composition of these two elements also captivate the palate.
“I wanted an older Glenmorangie to marry with the Margaux cask,” explained Lumsden. “The 16 Years Old had more guts and its full body, and when aged two years in Margaux casks, allows the Glenmorangie house fruitiness to shine through amid a most layered complexity. I didn’t expect these fantastic results; I am so pleased.”
From its full chewy texture, Lumsden likens the personality of this expression to a grand breakfast. We concurred and found marmalade, passion fruit, cinnamon, toffee, marshmallow, fudge, mandarin orange, hand-rolled tobacco amidst a blackberry pancake nose.
Will and Grace: Glenmorangie Margaux Cask Finish whisky – a 1987 vintage (16 Years Old) was sipped side by side with a Chateau Margaux 2002
Glenmorangie’s Pioneering Nature
Maturing in Selective Oak Casks
Glenmorangie Margaux Cask is not the first union of this single Highland Malt Scotch whisky with “exotic” wood. For 10 years, the brand has pioneered its maturation process with such exceptional co-stars as Tain L’Hermitage, imparting character from the great northern Rhone; Sauternes Cask Finish (Chateau d’Yquem casks), Port Wood, Sherry Wood, Burgundy Wood and Madeira Wood finishes.
Salmon & the Single Malt
Pan roasted King Salmon with apple and fennel pairs beautifully with Glenmorangie 10 Years Old. Add a splash to “release the serpent” (the aromas that rise and flow out of the glass) and you match the pear and citrus softness of the whisky with the succulent cuisine.
“Some whiskies are challenging in style,” notes Master Distiller, Dr. Bill Lumsden. “But you can sit down with any marque of Glenmorangie and just…enjoy.”