Glenmorangie the Sherry Cask Finish Lasanta
Review: Glenmorangie the Sherry Cask Finish Lasanta 88.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on November 18, 2016
The Glenmorangie Distillery was officially licensed to produce whisky in 1843 (how long the distillery was unofficial is unknown to me). Glenmorangie, from the beginning, established a tradition of innovation beginning with the construction of tall gin styled stills which would be used to distill their whisky rather than the traditional shorter onion shaped stills in use at the time. They were also amongst the first distilleries to use American oak for maturing their whisky, and in the early 1990’s they were at the forefront of the new style of ‘extra matured’ whiskies which are finished (or perhaps we can say flavoured) by spending time in used wine barrels. (I suggest flavoured because these used wine barrels rarely impart any oak into the whisky, and the primary result of their use is to impart some of the previously held wine’s flavour into the whisky.) The core range of Glenmorangie includes three of these unique extra matured whiskies, the Sherry cask Finish Lasanta, which is a Sherry finished whisky, the Nector D’or, which has a Sauternes wine finish, and the Quinta Ruban, which has a Ruby Port Finish.
Recently the Lasanta received a bit of a make-over from the distillery. Previously the expression was branded Glenmorangie the Lasanta, and to produce the whisky the distillery began with a spirit very similar to their Glenmorangie Original (a ten-year old spirit matured in first and second fill bourbon barrels) which was finished or extra matured in Spanish Olorosso Sherry Casks. The new Glenmorangie the Sherry Cask Lasanta on the other hand carries a full 12 Year Old age statement in clear view, and this spirit is extra matured for the two final years in a combination of Olorosso and PX Sherry Casks.
As was previously the case, this expression is bottled at 46 % alcohol by volume.
In the Bottle 5/5
I find the Glenmorangie bottle presentation is step up in quality over the majority of the whisky industry. The elegant, corked bottle arrives in an attractive display box the front of which provides basic tasting notes to guide the consumer. The back of the box is helpful too as it provides the full story of this particular expression which provides additional incentive and important tasting information to the consumer. The labeling is smart and professional. The bottle and the box look almost too good to disturb.
In the Glass 8.5/10
When I pour the Glenmorangie the Sherry Cask Finish Lasanta into my glencairn glass, I notice that it displays a copper colour with some obvious reddish hues which speak to the colour imparted by the sherry finish. The initial aroma in the breezes carries obvious scents of dry raisins and dates. It is also oak filled with assertive wood spice, and it is stained with coca and cola.Taking my time with the glass I notice a few citrus notes and building baking spices (vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon) in the air as well.
When I compare it to a glass of the previous bottling (which had not had any of its whisky finished in PX casks) the difference was quite noticeable as the smoky sherry-like smells of raisins and dates were more assertive in the new bottling. While this is not a sherry bomb in the vein of the old Macallan sherry cask bottlings of years past, it is a definite walk in that direction.
I like the overall aroma, although (and I am probably in a minority here), I like the aroma from my original Lasanta glass better. The light fruity citrus and floral notes typical of Glenmorangie style are just a little more obvious in the older bottling.
In the Mouth 53/60
The first sip brings forward oak spices and firm flavours of dry fruit (rains and dates), marzipan and chocolate. There is a sense of continuity between flavour and aroma, as all of those impressions I received as I nosed the glass come through clearly upon the palate. The flavours of the dry fruit, the building oak spice and toffee, additional flavours of chocolate and cola which have all began to merge together making this whisky rich and flavourful.
Again I am quite enjoying the whisky which indeed carries stronger sherry flavours across the palate than the former bottling. Whereas on the nose I preferred the former bottling, this time I am edging towards liking the new bottling with its richer flavour more.
In the Throat 13/15
The whisky is medium to full-bodied, and this gives the spirit a relatively long finish filled with flavours of oak and baking spices, chocolate and hints of coffee. The ending is just a touch dry leaving the palate slightly puckered. This induces another sip.
The Afterburn 9/10
I found the Glenmorangie the Lasanta 12 Year Old quite nice. As indicated earlier, it is a walk just a little further down the Sherry Lane than its predecessor. Some of the typical light fruity citrus and floral nature of Glenmorangie has been lost, bit this is meant to be sherry cask whisky and so heavier dry fruit and chocolate notes have been given favour. If you are curious about Sherry Cask whiskies, but find expressions like Glenfarclas and The Macallan just a little too overbearing, then this Sherry Cask Lasanta may be right up your alley.
You may read some of my other Whisky Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.
Here is a classic cocktail which is said to have been named after the 1922 film Bullfighter which starred Rudolf Valentino. It is usually made with common orange juice, but using the juice of the blood orange adds a certain flair to the cocktail.
Blood and Sand
3/4 oz Glenmorangie the Sherry Cask Finish Lasanta
3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth
3/4 oz Cherry Brandy (sub Cherry Heering)
3/4 oz Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
Add the first four ingredients into a metal shaker with ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker frosts
Strain into a cocktail glass
Garnish with flamed orange zest and a brandied cherry
Note: If you are interested in more cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more mixed drink recipes!
As always you may interpret the scores I provide as follows.
0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky. Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89 Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94 Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.
Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be more familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal scale as follows:
70 – 79.5 Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5 Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95 Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+ Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)