Glenmorangie Malaga Cask Finish 12 year old whisky
Glenmorangie is combining sun-kissed Spanish sweetness with a unique small-batch whisky to create a limited edition small batch whisky finished in Malaga wine casks.
Sweet and rich, Glenmorangie’s latest small-batch Highland single malt Scotch whisky brings the summery flavours of the south of Spain to whisky lovers. Enriched by the honeyed intensity of Malaga wine casks, the 12 year old limited edition Glenmorangie Malaga Cask Finish leads with notes of chocolate, fruit and gentle spice.
Glenmorangie’s whisky makers have a strong track record of using interesting finishes to build extra layers of flavour onto their core whisky profile. In Scotland’s tallest stills, whose necks are as high as a giraffe, they distil a delicate spirit that lends itself well to experimentation. And intrigued by the sweet, fortified wines made in the area surrounding southern Spain’s ancient city of Malaga, Dr Bill Lumsden, Glenmorangie’s Director of Whisky Creation, saw an opportunity to use these casks as a finish on Glenmorangie’s whisky.
Malaga wine casks are rarely used in the maturation of Scotch whisky. Named after the historic city of Malaga (which was founded in the 12th Century BCE) Malaga is a denominated Spanish wine zone, renowned for its sweet, fortified wines. Pedro Ximénez and Moscatel are the main varieties of grape grown, with wines made in a variety of ways.
Keen to combine Glenmorangie’s characteristic delicate creaminess with the intense sweetness of the Malaga wine casks, Dr Bill sourced a handful of first-fill Malaga ‘dulce’ casks (which once contained wines at the sweeter end of Malaga’s range). Then, in a unique experiment, he filled them with an eight-year-old whisky, which had previously been maturing in ex bourbon casks, to further mature.
After a four year finishing period, the whisky has developed rich flavours, which combine notes of spice, raisins and dates with Glenmorangie’s citrus notes. In July 2020, Dr Bill Lumsden chose the best of these casks to be bottled for the Distillery’s Barrel Select Release at 47.3% ABV, which have a RRP of £75.
Glenmorangie Malaga Cask Finish, Official Tasting Notes
Nose: Sweet and rich, with honey, mead, toffee, baking bread and a hint of fragrant tea leaves. There is a subtle, perfumed top note, like stewed herbs and red fruits, and the suggestion of milk chocolate or cocoa powder. A few drops of water release more fragrance, like wood incense, roasting chestnuts and hints of muscovado sugar.
Taste: A rich, oily texture leads to an explosion of flavours – sultanas, raisins, dates, tangy mandarin orange, milk chocolate, honey and more brown sugar. There is always a vibrancy from the citrus, but it is harmoniously woven with the rich, sweet, syrupy flavours. Spices then emerge, like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and sweet star anise.
Finish: Long, mellow and nutty, with hints of hazelnut, honey and gentle oak.
Dr Bill Lumsden of Glenmorangie Distillery
Dr Bill Lumsden of Glenmorangie Distillery said: “The honeyed aromas and fruity, chocolatey tastes of Glenmorangie Malaga Cask Finish take me straight to the sun-kissed south of Spain, where Malaga’s famed fortified wines are made. By finishing our soft, creamy whisky in Malaga ‘dulce’ casks, we’ve created an indulgently sweet and rich small-batch single malt. Our Barrel Select Release is a delicious treat for whisky lovers old and new.”
Somewhat appropriately for a man with a penchant for unusual cask finishes, Dr Bill Lumsden’s favourite phrase is “What if?”. He’s been with Glenmorangie for 25 years, and has a keen interest in capture the idea of various flavour profiles into one whisky or another; for example: sweet cakes (Glenmorangie A Tale Of Cake), a cup of coffee (Glenmorangie Signet), a long balmy day in Madeira (Glenmorangie Bacalta), a beautiful barley field by the Distillery (Glenmorangie Allta). He’s a smart chap with a PhD in biochemistry and decades of experience making whisky, Dr Bill is well placed to bring these ideas to life. And, he has a clutch of accolades to his names including: a new entry in the Icons of Whisky Hall of Fame; won the International Whisky Competition’s award for Master Distiller of the Year (multiple times); and been named Master Blender/Distiller of the Year by the International Spirits Challenge twice.