Review: Glenmorangie Spios Single Malt Whisky

Glenmorangie Private Edition 9 Spios_Bottle and Pack on transparent background copy

Photo courtesy of Glenmorangie

Glenmorangie’s base whisky, aged in ex-bourbon barrels, is known for its light floral and honey notes.  From this base, the distillery’s core lineup utilizes different cask types for secondary maturation: port, sherry, and Sauternes.

For their Private Edition series, experimentation is the name of the game.  Glenmorangie’s played around with additional cask types for secondary maturation.  They’ve even changed the type of barley used in their whisky for one bottling.

Glenmorangie Spios (Gaeilic for spice), ninth in the Private Edition series, sees the first use of rye whiskey casks for full maturation of a single malt.  Recently there was a Johnnie Walker blend that was finished in rye casks, but to my recollection Glenmorangie Spios is the first Scotch single malt whisky to fully mature in American ex-rye casks.

The nose is wonderfully balanced. Hints of vanilla and rye spice are at the forefront, followed closely by cardamom, toffee and light floral notes. The palate, like the nose, carries the Glenmorangie Original flavor profile with a spice kick. Light toffee and creamy vanilla start things off. The rye cask influence soon develops, adding rye spice and a sprinkling of herbs, including dill – a note frequently found in rye whiskey. There is a slightly buttery quality here as well. The medium length finish keeps those sweet and spicy notes going, turning slightly dry after a few moments.

Glenmorangie whisky maker Dr. Bill Lumsden’s fascination with wood pays off yet again. Spios keeps the light character Glenmorangie is known for, while adding that bit of spice and herbs. The rye casks don’t overpower in any way. Rather, they complement the delicate distillate and in turn provide a whisky any Glenmorangie fan is sure to enjoy. 8.5/10

Thanks to Glenmorangie for the sample. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.


Review: Glenmorangie Astar (2017)

Glenmorangie Astar is back on the market after a few years. It is essentially a high proof version of the beautifully delicate Glenmorangie Original. The distillery uses only ex-bourbon casks from specially selected slow-growth, American oak trees from the Ozarks. They are very picky about wood, if you haven’t noticed.

Where Glenmorangie Original carries a ten year age statement, Astar does not. What this whisky lacks in an age statement it than makes up in a fullness of flavor delivered at 52.5% ABV versus Original’s 43% ABV.

The nose features delicate aromas in a slightly robust way, with hints of vanilla bean, light toffee, coconut macaroons, and a sprinkling of nutmeg. The palate is creamy with hints of whipped vanilla creme. Splashes of mild spices, toasted oak, honey and light fruits soon develop. The finish is clean, but warming, driven by spiced vanilla and lightly roasted coffee bean.

This is everything we love about Glenmorangie Original turned up to 10. The higher proof delivers those flavors in a more concentrated way. It doesn’t come across as young, so those with a penchant for dismissing non age statement whiskies should rethink their stance here. Highly recommended! 8.5/10

Thanks to Glenmorangie for the sample. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Glenmorangie Virtual Tasting with Global Master Brand Ambassador David Blackmore

I recently had a chance to host Glenmorangie’s David Blackmore for a virtual tasting of the distillery’s Original, 18-Year-Old, and Bacalta expressions.  In addition to tasting some wonderful whiskies, we discussed Glenmorangie’s wood management, secondary maturation and more.  Enjoy!

Please excuse the echo in the beginning of the video.  It corrects itself a couple of minutes in.