Glenmorangie has announced the fourth annual release in its Private Edition range. Ealanta, which is Scots Gaelic for “skilled and ingenious”, is a 19-year-old Glenmorangie, fully matured in virgin American white oak casks.
Selected and developed by Glenmorangie’s distilling and whisky creation director Dr Bill Lumsden, the whisky is bottled at 46 per cent ABV and non-chill-filtered. It is being released globally, including the UK, this month.
It is the latest addition to the Private Edition range which comprises the sought-after Sonnalta PX , Finealta and Artein. The range consists of rare and interesting limited-edition whiskies carefully selected from Dr Lumsden’s “cabinet of curiosities”.
On the nose Glenmorangie Ealanta has a soft toffee and butterscotch aroma, then vanilla and a hint of stewed fruits with a hallmark Glenmorangie top note of menthol. The palate leads with candied orange peel, sugar-coated almonds and sweet vanilla, wrapped in an unusual nuttiness reminiscent of Brazil nuts in toffee. The finish is very long with virgin oak-derived spices such as clove, ginger and a hint of aniseed.
Dr Lumsden said:”It’s no secret in our industry that it’s the ‘wood that makes the whisky’, and for many years my team and I have been carrying out detailed research in this area. Ealanta is in fact one experiment dating way back to just before I joined the company in the early 1990s.
“Having discovered these casks and sampled them, I realised then what a jewel we had and immediately had the casks secreted in a safe place. Over the years I have kept a close eye on their progress, and although the final recipe for Glenmorangie Ealanta is from me and my team, it’s a real pleasure to see the original experiment see the light of day at last – and be still here to celebrate it!
“The casks selected way back then from oaks of the Mark Twain National Forest [in Missouri] were absolutely top quality and unusually had not previously held any liquor such as bourbon, so it’s the interaction of our delicate floral spirit from our very tall stills directly with this ‘virgin’ wood that makes for many intriguing flavours.
“New wood also imparts a purity of flavour that I think many Glenmorangie aficionados will find an interesting divergence from our previous Private Edition releases. Using virgin oak casks that have been heavily toasted adds huge mouth-filling, buttery, creamy, vanilla flavours – somewhat like a crème brulée topped with almond and marzipan. This makes for a lovely rounded and complex expression of Glenmorangie.”
The previous Private Edition releases are: Glenmorangie Sonnalta PX, a full-bodied whisky extra-matured in Pedro Ximénez sherry casks; Glenmorangie Finealta, a re-creation of a 1900s recipe from the Glenmorangie archives with subtle notes of peat; and last year’s Glenmorangie Artein, extra-matured in rare Tuscan wine casks.