For the casual drinker, it is easy to confuse Scotches. Each one is seemingly Glen-something. Glenfiddich. Glenlivet. Glenkinchie. In this climate, it is easy for the Macallan and Johnnie Walker's of the group to stand out.
But, on Thursday, Glenmorangie hosted a tasting at Morton's on Prospect St. This was my first taste of Scotland's best selling single-malt whiskey, and, in large part, it did not disappoint. The sampling included the Original ($35 per 750ml), Lasanta ($45), Quinta Ruban ($45), and Nectar D'Or ($65).
The Original – aged 10 years in bourbon casks – had a familiar nose and mild taste. The flavor was smooth with tones of fruit, though there was a slight alcohol burn that lingered with the finish.
The Lasanta, tasted next, recaptured my interest in the brand. An aroma of nut and spice fill the air around the glass. Adding a single ice cube and diving in for a taste, it is clear the extra two years this Scotch matured in sherry casks was worth it. With a full flavor and creamy texture – apparently of ginger, dried oranges, and cocoa – the lasting finish builds anxiety for the next taste, or glass.
The Quinta Ruban was the most similar to the classic bourbon taste that I am accustomed to and continued the pleasant experience. After 10 years in bourbon casks, the Quinta Ruban moves to port, providing hints of smoke and a balance of sweetness.
Finally, moving to the Nectar D'Or, the taste of the Highlands grew fruitier and creamy. A fine scotch, Nectar D'Or is rather unremarkable after tasting the complexity of the Lasanta and Quinta Ruban.
In total – skip the Original and go with the Lasanta or Quinta Ruban. IMHO.