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Glenmorangie Ealanta Private Edition Single Malt Scotch Whisky (700ml)
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- ABV 46%
How much wood can a whisky take? Try this and find out. This is the oldest, and most heavily wood influenced whisky to have come from Glenmorangie's bespoke virgin American Oak casks.
Anyone whose followed Glenmorangie’s progress over the last few decades will be familiar with the company's Whisky Creation Director, Dr. Bill Lumsden. A long time advocate of wood experimentation, Ealanta represents both his personal interests, that of his team and the distilleries long-running experiments.
Gaelic for ‘Skilled and Ingenious', Ealanta (distilled in 1993) has spent 19 years in heavily charred virgin American Oak casks harvested from the Mark Twain National Forest. Lumsden explains, “Ealanta is in fact one experiment dating way back to just before I joined the company in the early 1990s. Having discovered these casks and sampled them, I realised then what a jewel we had and immediately had the casks secreted in a safe place. Over the years I have kept a close eye on their progress, and although the final recipe for Glenmorangie Ealanta is from me and my team, it’s a real pleasure to see the original experiment see the light of day at last…and be still here to celebrate it!”
This is not the distilleries first successful foray in using virgin, nor first-fill American oak casks, which many consider too dominant for the flavour of Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Both 'Artisan Cask' and 'Astar' both began their lives in this wood as did Glenmorangie's '1991 vintage Missouri Oak' release. All three were very well received, if not iconic, with the latter being released at 11 years old. Consider 'Ealanta' has an extra 8 years contact with the new oak and you begin to get a picture of how daring this release is. A positive step and benchmark for the new wave of experimental releases in Scotch Whisky, beliveve us, there aren't many around. Non chill filtered.
Tasting note: Bright, deep gold appearance. First pass offers up suggestions of orange cake, followed by vanilla and cocoa before the citrus reasserts itself with a peel top note contributing freshness and lift. Second pass finds the orange cake / peel / vanilla medley repeated. Further aeration releases hints of roasted nuts. The palate offers a medium dry, creamy yet lively and spicy delivery as the charry American oak makes its mark definitively but never quite overwhelms the blood orange / grapefruit notes that shine through towards the finish. Concludes dry yet momentarily juicy, tangy and warmly spiced. Candied orange peel / orange lozenge aftertaste. Toffee, creamy vanilla and spices linger long. This is quite Bourbonesque in its robust manner, however Glenmorangie's trademark fruitiness retains a balance that could otherwise have been diminished if not completely lost in so much oak. Those who enjoyed 'Astar' should find plenty to like about this. 46% Alc./Vol.
Other reviews... Ealanta is the fourth release in Glenmorangie’s Private Edition series, and has been aged in heavily-charred virgin white oak casks from Missouri for nineteen years. The result is a nose of American cream soda, milk chocolate, fudge, pineapple, and honey; spicy and creamy. Silky smooth in the mouth, with brittle toffee and orange notes; gently herbal, with a suggestion of cloves and newly-sawn wood. Long in the finish, with citrus fruit, oak, aniseed, and an enduring spicy creaminess. 90 points - www.maltadvocate.com (Vol. 22, #1) Reviewed by: Gavin Smith