Image courtesy: Glenmorangie
I love experimentation in the whisky world. Sure, the end result may not necessarily please, but the the fact that whisky makers are playing around excites me. For quite some time now, Glenmorangie has developed a reputation for bringing some fantastic wine cask-finished whiskies to market. In my book, Dr. Bill Lumsden is a top innovator when it comes to cask management. The man can do some magical things with different types of casks. The distillery’s standard lineup alone feature whiskies finished in sherry casks, port casks, and Sauternes casks. Then take a look at Glenmorangie’s annual Private Edition releases. They usually (but not always) feature a secondary maturation in a wine cask. The 2017 addition to the Private Edition lineup is Bacalta.
Bacalta (Gaelic for ‘baked’) starts life off in ex-bourbon casks. It then matures for a short undisclosed period in custom ex-Malmsey Madeira wine casks. Malmsey wine is considered to be the sweetest of Madeira wines. These casks are seasoned with Malmsey wine and baked outdoors in the sun for two years. The wine was emptied and the casks shipped to Scotland, where they were filled with already matured Glenmorangie whisky. The resulting whisky is bottled at 46% abv and is non-chill filtered.
I had the pleasure of tasting Bacalta the week before its worldwide launch at a local Glenmorangie tasting. Though my palate was a bit exhausted after trying the entire Glenmorangie lineup before, my first impressions of Bacalta were positive. I found it richly sweet, but not cloying. It was also very fruity. I’ve since spent more time with the whisky. My first impression was correct.
The nose has hints of ripe peaches, marzipan, vanilla and some spice. Dried apricots and berries add a fruitiness to a creamy custard base. Ginger liqueur, honey, and crisp lemon zest are showcased on the mid-palate. The medium finish features caramel chews, light wine, and fresh mint.
To me, this is the definition of a dessert whisky. It’s quite lovely. The Madeira wine cask finish plays really well with the light style, bourbon cask-matured whisky that comes out of the Glenmorangie distillery. Very well done, and very much recommended! 9/10
Thanks to Glenmorangie for the sample. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.