Glenmorangie has brought back an acclaimed limited-release single malt that is matured in specially made oak casks from the Ozark mountains of Missouri.
Originally released in 2008, Glenmorangie Astar – using the Scots Gaelic for “journey” – is smooth and creamy from being aged in the bespoke barrels. Its complexity has been opened up by being bottled at 52.5% ABV – slightly less than the original’s 57.1%.
The new release reflects Glenmorangie championing the importance of the oak casks in which whisky matures. The Astar’s custom-made casks began their journey in the Ozark mountains where Glenmorangie carefully selected slow-growth oak trees for their porous structure.
Staves were cut from these oaks to the distillery’s exact specifications. Then, they were left to season in the open air for at least two years, to breathe and soften. After being coopered into oak casks, they were gently toasted to contribute further flavours of almond and coconut.
Filled with bourbon, they were set aside to mature for four years to smooth away any rawness. Finally, they were emptied, shipped to Scotland and filled with Glenmorangie’s delicate and complex spirit, for a long, slow maturation.
Astar’s first limited release was much coveted. Ever since, Glenmorangie’s director of distilling, whisky creation and whisky stocks, Dr Bill Lumsden, has longed to revisit the single malt’s unique character, but casks designed to such precise specifications require many years and much dedication to create. They are so rare that it has taken Dr Bill almost a decade to orchestrate the whisky’s return.
He said: “At Glenmorangie we are always searching for perfection – and Astar’s first release, entirely matured in our designer casks, was a momentous step on our journey. I’m delighted to be able to share the 2017 release with more single malt lovers – and to celebrate with them the whisky’s wonderfully creamy, spicy aromas and silky tastes of soft fruit smothered with vanilla custard.”
Glenmorangie Astar is non-chill-filtered for extra texture. It will be available in the UK from September, positioned with a recommended price in retail of £74.
Tasting notes by Dr Bill Lumsden
Colour: Bright gold
Aroma: Rich, sweet and fruity with fresh bright floral top notes. At full strength, the aroma is rich in butterscotch and honey, drizzled with fresh mint and a burst of coconut. The nose is full of citrus: freshly squeezed lemons fill the nose. With water, the sweetness intensifies. White sugar, lemon meringue, then creamy and luscious sweet fruits: pineapple, pears and peaches in vanilla ice-cream.
Taste: The mouth-feel is deliciously smooth, rich and creamy, full of sumptuous sweet and fruity flavours. The taste is exceptionally well-rounded and balanced. Initially crème-brulée emerges with more tropical and stone fruits. Apricots smothered with vanilla custard. Hazelnuts in soft buttery fudge mix with some clove spiciness and toasted oak. Shortly after, the palate is gently cleansed by a hint of cooling mint and fresh menthol.
Finish: Long and smooth with a lingering mix of honey and almond, coconut ice and traces of aniseed.