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Glenmorangie 1993 Ealanta 19 Year Old Virgin Oak Casks

Elegant yet Substantial

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@vanPeltReview by @vanPelt

2nd Nov 2013


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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First vapor: Potpourri; containing some pine and heavy on the dried rose petals. [This floral impression never returns, except maybe very late in the finish.]

Nose: A wheaty and sweet waffle cone. For a few minutes the cone is filled with salty almond-nougat, but this transforms into orange-pineapple in a white chocolate base. At first, pine pricks the nose substantially. A bit of breathing creates a surprisingly thick nose, like smelling an eclair pastry with a light glaze of pineapple-orange.

Palate: Creamy entrance quickly becomes hot with ginger, over dried pineapple; remains creamy throughout the first phase. When the heat and pineapple eventually subside, a wave of vanilla rises..., and then honey & nougat follow up into the finish.

Finish: Back to vanilla, with the ginger heat tickling in and out. An impression of creamy cinnamon apricot on exhale, and still a bit pepper in the cheeks.

The Ealanta manages to convey richness (with a satisfyingly creamy mouthfeel) and strength (with gingery spice), while still providing a light & refreshing flavor set. The overall impression is of dried pineapple-nut-ginger-vanilla, accented with floral notes. No overt bitterness to speak of, just a slight white pepperiness somewhere in the finish. These combined impressions make this a top contender for favorite "light" malt: the Ealanta is elegant yet substantial.

...For this reason, finding comparisons is difficult. Within Glenmorangies, my reaction was similar to the Artein, in finding it light yet full (and on par in quality); but the Artein is more raspberry rather than nuts and dried pineapple. The Ealanta's creamy texture bears more similarity to the Sonnalta or especially the Signet; but again, the flavors are different. Otherwise, my closest comparison is Glenfiddich's 21 (Caribbean Rum Finish), which approaches the same texture and has similar flavors (orange, nut, vanilla, ginger), but is less spicy and is a tad lighter. Between these 2, my preference actually falls to the Ealanta, for being bolder. (And as of today's date, the price favors it as well.)

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Victor commented

@vanPelt, thanks for a very nice review. I understand that Glenmorangie Ealanta was aged in new oak. Do you know whether the wood was 1)untreated, 2) toasted, but not charred, or 3)charred? The description sounds to me like there was the use of toasted wood, but not charring. If I had to guess, I would guess lightly toasted wood.

9 years ago 0

vanPelt commented

@Victor , you always manage to expand my thinking and knowledge. In other words, had to hunt down the answer online: whisky-discovery.blogspot.dk/2013/02/… "A mistake on the bottleā€™s label which states that it is heavily charred as opposed to heavily toasted, and the unique and special conditions surrounding the maturation, are key to understanding how such a delicate and nuanced spirit can survive and indeed thrive in these casks.... So the heavy toast used in the Ealanta casks opens up just enough of the wood layers for the whisky to gently soak in, and removes unwanted flavors that would come from an untreated surface."

So the answer: heavily toasted (which has apparently also been quoted by Bill Lumsden).

9 years ago 0

Victor commented

@vanPelt, thanks much for digging up the answer! You get very different flavour effects depending on whether wood is charred vs toasted, and the degree of the use of each.

9 years ago 0

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