Category Archives: Glenmorangie

Glenmorangie 1990 ‘Grand Slam Dram’ 10-year-old

Bought: Online Auction, 10th August 2017

81.33/100 – Whiskybase (average from 3 member votes)

Rugby – something Scotland used to be good at. It’s sad that there are young Scottish adults walking the earth today that weren’t born when Scotland was a proud rugby country. Scotland haven’t won the Nations Championship since 1999, the year before Italy were asked to join to make it the ‘6 Nations Championship’ that we have today. Perhaps the Scots are allergic to Italians? The ‘Grand Slam’ is where a team manages to win the championship by beating all the other teams. The last time Scotland achieved this was in 1990, finishing on the 17th March with a 13-7 win against England at Murrayfield in Edinburgh. I watched it on TV and enjoyed every minute of it, except the England try, which was definitely offside!

After the dust had settled in 1990 Glenmorangie decided to release a commemorative version of their standard 10yo. On the reverse label it includes the signatures of the victorious Scottish team. Scoring just over 81/100 on Whiskybase is what you’d expect for a 10-year-old Glenmorangie from that period. Personally I’d rate it higher at about 85/100 but then I am a big fan of the Glenmorangie 10yo from the early to mid 90s, even though it’s 40% rather than the 43% of the modern incarnation.

I rarely give investment tips but here’s one for the ‘Grand Slam Dram’. As far as I can tell the bottle wasn’t originally sold with any packaging. The majority of bottles sold at auction come without any and typically make about £80. I noticed that some cunning person had paired their ‘Grand Slam Dram’ bottle with a tube from roughly the right period, which sold for £160. It goes to show that people are prepared to pay extra for packaging (weird – I know!). I bought my bottle for £80 and picked up an empty tin from the early 1990s from Ebay for £5. I can’t guarantee I’ll double my money if I ever sell it because auctions can be fickle but I’ll definitely make a profit on the tin.

Here’s a 15-minute documentary from 2010 to mark 20 years since the final Grand Slam match between Scotland and England, Murrayfield, 17th March 1990:

Glenmorangie ‘The Tarlogan’

Bought: World of Whisky, 7th July 2016

95/100 – Whisky Bible 2017
82.4/100 – Whiskybase (from 7 member votes)
84/100 – WhiskyWise (his video review below)

The Tarlogan is the 3rd release of the new Legends series from Glenmorangie, which are apparently replacing the 12yo bottlings. When I blogged about the first release in the series (the ‘Duthac’) I mused that by the 3rd or 4th new Legend the price would rise to £150 to £200. The good news is that the Tarlogan isn’t that expensive but we’ve jumped from £60 for the 2nd release ‘Tayne’, which was 1 litre to £80 for the Tarlogan, which is 70cl. Admittedly the Tarlogan has “limited release” written on it but what does that actually mean? Limited to how many exactly – 1 million bottles? Glenmorangie don’t say on their website, or the bottle. But if you’ve bought the previous two releases in the Legends series you’ll get the Tarlogan, and in fairness it’s a decent dram.

95/100 from Jim Murray in his Whisky Bible is an amazing score and classifies this single malt as a “superstar whisky that gives us all a reason to live”. Mr Murray says of the taste, “salivating on delivery: grassy again, with all the accompanying young sugars, aided by light shafts of Demerara.” In conclusion he says “this fabulous malt radiates the countryside in a way few drams have done before. As refreshing as an early morning dip in a Scottish pond.”

82.4/100 on Whiskybase is a reasonable score and close to the 84/100 from Jason of WhiskyWise. He agrees with the tasting notes provided by Glenmorangie, which are:

Nose: Sweet, earthy aromas of creamy butterscotch, classic Glenmorangie vanilla and coconut, malt biscuits too.

Taste: The texture is soft and silky and brings with it dessert-like flavours, especially vanilla custard and pears. There are delicious notes of pineapple and gentle citrus.

Finish: A suggestion of exquisite ginger is followed by waves of long, lingering white chocolate and almond marzipan.

I tried the Tarlogan at the ‘World of Whisky’ shop at Heathrow before I bought it and it was very nice but if you’ve ever tasted whisky at an airport you’ll know it’s never the best location. The sample bottle had been sitting on a glass display shelf with a back-light that left the whisky close to boiling temperature. It was like having a hot toddy. Nevertheless, from what I could tell it was lovely malt, although I agree with Jason that it’s overpriced for what it is.

WhiskyWise video on You Tube (August 2016):

Glenmorangie Tarlogan NAS 70cl

Glenmorangie ‘Signet’

Bought: The Whisky Shop, 13th April 2016

80.5/100 – Whisky Bible 2016
93/100 – Whisky Bitch (her video review below)
88.24/100 – Whiskybase (average from 430 member votes)

If you like Glenmorangie and you love chocolate then you probably already have a bottle of the Signet. If you collect whiskies with interesting bottle shapes then you might also be interested in the Signet as it’s certainly very stylish. But, OMG, the price! In 2012 the Whisky Bitch mentions $250 in her video then in 2014 Whisky Wednesday says £150-£175 but in April 2016 it’s about £120. Perhaps Glenmorangie realised they’d gone a bit crazy with the price and it was putting buyers off. It seems the price has been coming down almost as quickly as the Macallan 18yo has been going up.

But is the Signet worth it? It has the interesting claim to fame as the only single malt to have an element produced from chocolate malt. When I first hear this I imagined malt coated in chocolate but it only refers to heavily roasted malt that has been heated longer than usual. This is used in the production of stout and brings out a chocolate quality in the flavour. But is that worth £120? Glenmorangie also say there is old whisky in the Signet up to the age of 35yo so they’ve played the “there’s vintage stuff in there somewhere” card. Not that you’ll notice because you’ll be too busy having your Signet with a slice of chocolate cake.

Jim Murray has very little to say about the Signet in his Whisky Bible – “a great whisky holed below the waterline by oak of unsatisfactory quality. Tragic.” But 80.5/100 still classifies this Glenmorangie as “good whisky worth trying”. 430 people on Whiskybase have and over 88/100 is a fantastic score. Comments include “rich and complex”, “a very enjoyable experience, quite unique” and “a seriously big whisky. Heavy on the palate as well as the wallet. But still, if you’re an enthusiast, this is worth your money. A fantastic effort by the Tain men.”

Here’s the Whisky Bitch on You Tube with her review of the Signet (Nov 2012):

Glenmorangie Signet NAS 70cl

Glenmorangie ‘Tayne’

Bought: World Duty Free, 29th March 2016

87.5/100 – Whisky Bible 2016
81.6/100 – Whiskybase (from 17 member votes)

The ‘Tayne’ is Glenmorangie’s second bottle in their ‘Legends’ series following on from ‘The Duthac’. Both are 1 litre and Travel Retail exclusives. Usually that means it’s available in lots of shops on mainland Europe but that doesn’t seem to be the case with the Tayne. Surely not an ‘exclusive’ that’s actually exclusive? {faints}

87.5/100 in Jim Murray’s ‘Whisky Bible’ classifies this malt as “good to excellent whisky definitely worth buying” and his review consists of “tangy back story. But also a curious early combination between butterscotch and Werther’s Original candy. The malt – topped with a splash of double cream – in the centre ground, though, is the star showing.”

81.6/100 on Whiskybase is a good mark but not outstanding. Comments include “this is a good sherry whisky. Dark fruits, a spicy sweetness and well balanced. Good whisky for the money, nice.” Dramlicious score the Tayne 84/100 and their review and tasting notes can be found here.

Here’s WhiskyWise giving us his thoughts on You Tube in his very first whisky review video (April 2016):

Glenmorangie Tayne NAS 100cl

Glenmorangie ‘A Midwinter Night’s Dram’

Bought: Glenmorangie Online Shop, 7th October 2015

86.14/100 – Whiskybase (average from 9 member votes)

Well that’s the last time I buy on impulse from Glenmorangie! Before this new bottle hit the supermarket shelves Glenmorangie made it available online for £40 and free delivery. It was marked as a ‘limited edition’, which I ought to know by now is Glenmorangie speak for “available everywhere for years to come”. Stupid me fell for it and paid £40 for a bottle that now sells in UK supermarkets for as little as £25 (when on offer). I believe the normal price in Sainsbury’s is £34 and Morrisons have it for £28.

But, grumbling aside, the general consensus online is that this new NAS (non-age statement) from Glenmorangie is an excellent single malt. Over 86/100 on Whiskybase is a fantastic score, especially when you consider that ‘The Original’ 10yo comes in at 80.44/100. The very same 10yo scores 94/100 in the Whisky Bible 2015. It will be interesting to see what the author thinks of this ‘Midwinter’ dram if he reviews it. Comments on Whiskybase include “not too far removed from the 10yo but with slightly more richness and depth”, “beautifully presented and really excellent value” and “it’s big, it’s fat, it’s fun”. Other remarks elsewhere liken it to Macallan, which is praise indeed (assuming you like Macallan). All in all, a worthy addition to the sideboard for the winter season, and probably several more winters to come.

Here’s Horst Luening of with his review on You Tube (Sept 2016):

Glenmorangie A Midwinter Night's Dram NAS 70cl

Glenmorangie ‘The Duthac’

Bought: World Duty Free, 10th September 2015

83.6/100 – Whiskybase (average from 42 member votes)

The ‘Duthac’ is the first of a new range of whiskies by Glenmorangie that they’re titling the ‘Legends Collection’. According to the official Glenmorangie video below this new dram is “a whisky fit for a king, Glenmorangie Duthac honours the annual pilgrimage of King James IV to the shrine of St Duthac – the patron Saint of Tain – at the home of Glenmorangie. Exclusive to Travel Retail, Duthac is the first release from the Glenmorangie Legends collection, a unique range of single malt whiskies inspired by the legendary lands that have been home to the Glenmorangie Distillery since 1843.”

Try as I might, I can’t find the name of the next whisky to be added to the ‘Legends Collection’ but I bet it will be more expensive (but still a non-age statement). By the time we get to the 3rd of 4th release in the collection I imagine it will be closing in on £150-£200. All part of the cunning plan to get collectors hooked so they feel compelled to shell out a fortune for the final releases. I think I’ll pass but I’m glad to see a solid 83.6/100 for this single malt on Whiskybase. And it’s 100cl so there’s more to enjoy.

Here’s Whisky Whistle with their thoughts about The Duthac on YouTube (Nov 2015):

Glenmorangie Duthac NAS 100cl

Glenmorangie ‘Dornoch’

Bought: World Duty Free, 10th September 2015

94/100 – Whisky Bible 2015
83.14/100 – Whiskybase (average from 67 member votes)

My return to Gatwick airport sees me in the mood for a Glenmorangie or two. The Dornoch claims to be a limited release but if it’s anything like the Glenmorangie 18yo ‘Extremely Rare’ I expect to see this bottle all over the world for several years to come. Whiskybase list the availability of this whisky in 9 shops across Germany, Holland and Austria as well as lots of airports around the UK.

To quote the box – “in celebration of the Glenmorangie distillery’s unique location, a donation from every bottle will be given to the Marine Conservation Society for the protection of the Dornoch Firth” hence of name of this whisky (the distillery overlooks the firth). It’s always nice to know that my purchase has gone towards helping nature.

94/100 in the Whisky Bible classifies the Dornoch as a “superstar whisky that gives us all a reason to live”. The author says about the taste “even on delivery the malt arrives on all levels and in different hues, ranging from sweet and fresh to a duller, oak-dried digestive biscuit – but quite tightly bound” and he concludes with “a real treat”.

Over 83/100 on Whiskybase is a reasonable mark but nothing special. Several comments are quite critical including “the nose is pretty good, but the taste seems a bit ‘constructed’” and “a mediocre release” but thankfully one voter is a bit more positive with “I like the style and I definitely had worse Glenmorangies in my glass…I like!”

Here’s Horst Luening with his thoughts on You Tube (November 2015):

Glenmorangie Dornoch NAS 70cl

Glenmorangie 18-year-old ‘Extremely Rare’

Bought: Tesco, 17th July 2015

91/100 – Whisky Bible 2015
94/100 – Whisky Bitch (her You Tube video below)
86.18/100 – Whiskybase (average from 291 member votes)

I would say “extremely rare my arse!” except there’s only one of my butt and many thousands of the Glenmorangie 18yo. If it’s in a supermarket then it’s not even rare, let alone ‘extremely rare’. But there’s no denying the quality of this dram from Glenmorangie, even if their terminology for its abundance is questionable.

91/100 in the Whisky Bible from Jim Murray categorises this whisky as ‘brilliant’. Commenting about the taste “sharp, eye-watering mix of fruit and mainly honeyed barley; nutty and, with the confident vanillas, forming a breakfast cereal completeness.” Mr Murray summaries with “having thrown off some previous gremlins, now a perfect start to the day whisky.” Hmmm! Don’t drink whisky for breakfast kids; it makes your cereal go soggy!

Over 86/100 on Whiskybase is an excellent mark with reviewers commenting “whisky of serious distinction”, “wonderfully creamy and thick” and “better than the Original 10yo”. The Whisky Bitch in her review below from February 2014 absolutely loves this whisky and gets a strong taste of bananas. That’s not a flavour I’ve commonly seen in reviews for this Glenmorangie but every palate is slightly different. See what you think.

Glenmorangie 18yo Extremely Rare 70cl

Glenmorangie 12-year-old ‘Quinta Ruban’

Bought – Morrisons, 11th September 2014

92/100 – Whisky Bible 2014
89/100 – RalfyGlenmorangie Quinta Ruban – YouTube (March 2014)

Ralfy’s comparison between the ‘Quinta Ruban’ and the old ‘Port Wood’ finish by Glenmorangie is very interesting, especially as I have a miniature of the Port Wood from an auction last year. Once I get around to cracking open the Ruban I’ll have to do my own taste compassion with my mini.

Would you walk into a bar and ask for a bourbon and port cocktail? Probably not, unless you were so drunk you were close to standing on a table and singing songs about goblins and giant Martians eating your house. The Quinta Rubin has gone through a process of double maturation, spending most of its initial life sucking the flavour out of bourbon casks, then being finished for a period in port casks. The flavour combination sounds a bit suspect but Jim Murray, author of the Whisky Bible, summarises his review with “this is a form of cask finishing that has progressed from experimentation to certainty”. And who better to get it right than the 16 men of Glenmorangie when they’re not busy with their 8-a-side football matches.

If you like Highland single malts but want something a bit different then the Quinta Ruban is worth tracking down. In the UK several supermarkets stock it, and with Christmas approaching there’s a good chance it will get discounted. Morrisons had a mad moment and reduced it to £27.99. Sadly I’d bought it the week before when they’d initially discounted it to £35. Even at that price it was a bargain.

Glenmorangie 12yo Quinta Ruban 70cl

Glenmorangie 10-year-old (old style) with glasses

Bought – Online Auction, 6th June 2014

94/100 – Whisky Bible 2006

I was fortunate enough to inherit a bottle of Glenmorangie 10yo from the 1990s so I know how good this single malt used to be. It’s still excellent today but I have to wonder if it improves a little with age in the bottle. My 1990s version definitely has a fuller flavour and taste experience when compared to the new ‘Original’ 10yo. But where could I get more of this vintage Glenmorangie? The answer was simple – an online auction.

One nice thing about Glenmorangie is that it doesn’t cost a lot at auction. With the distillery producing so much, there are plenty of old bottles kicking around, which keeps down the price. I’d noticed two identical lots to my one, with the engraved glasses, going for £25 each at a previous auction in April 2014. I set my maximum bid to £25 and won with £22.50. Fantastic!

Unfortunately the winning bid at auctions isn’t what you pay. If only it was that transparent! When all the calculations were done I was presented with a bill for, wait for it,… £53! More than double my winning bid. This included commission, VAT, postage (£12) and optional insurance of £12. Having bought from this auction house before I refused the optional insurance and paid £41, which isn’t bad for a 70cl bottle of vintage malt with two distillery glasses. I know they pack the bottles well so I felt confident nothing would be broken in transit.

It doesn’t take a genius to realise why I dislike auctions. You have to be very careful you remember all the ‘hidden’ costs that get added at the end, and not get too enthralled and engrossed in the bidding frenzy. Worst of all in my opinion is the optional insurance, when postage is already being charged at £12. Surely the insurance is included in the delivery, as with most online whisky shops who can charge as little as £5 for several bottles?!

Glenmorangie 10yo and Glencairn Glasses 70cl