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Glenmorangie Artein 15 Year Old

"the last fires will wave to me"

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sReview by @stakenblocken

7th Dec 2012


Glenmorangie Artein 15 Year Old
  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

Why aren't more whiskies aged in dry red wine casks? I'll admit that I wasn't thrilled with this whiskey when I first opened it but now as I finish the last dram from my bottle that has been open a little less than a year. Glenmorangie Artein is a vatting of different scotches from the distillery. They are at least 15 years of age, and some of it began its life in bourbon barrels and some of it was then finished in ex-super Tuscan wine casks. I haven't been able to find this information since then, but I remember reading that the casks in question were from Sassicaia. Whether it's from Sassicaia or not though is beside the point, as this whisky is unique, complex, absolutely delectable, and it's a big shame that we'll never see it again (unless of course there's money to be made).

The only thing that prevents this whisky from garnering a higher score from me is the nose. Although you should expect this from any spirit, there is a lot of alcohol in the nose. There's a lot more than I'd expect to get from this whisky. It's as dangerous to stick your nose in a glass of this as it is a glass of cask strength Islay. Now that we have the bad news out of the way, there's nothing but praise from here on out. It's an incredible easy whisky to drink. It's the kind of whisky I'd expect a non-Scotch drinker to say "That is smoooth" to, and ask for seconds. It goes beyond this though. It pours with a reddish-brown hue, and it's not an in -your-face Scotch but it's really complex. It begins with flavors of tea leaves and blackberry brandy. This fades, but the whisky comes back, brandishing fistfuls of oak fire and pencil shavings. I even detect a little bit of salt, a presence of which I've never been able to detect in other Glenmorangie bottles, even though it is a coastaly-located distillery. (I don't believe that coastaly is a word, but I feel it works here.)

I feel the red wine influence too. There is a cherried taste to the whisky. The bourbon influence is not gone though! Later the rich, raisiny, sour mash taste comes in. And as for the finish. Well, I can remember when I bought this I read the tasting notes on the box and it mentioned mint in the finish. 'Yeah right,' I thought. No, really! Mint! And lots of it too. It's fresh and it lingers, creating a crisply complex, long-lasting finish with fresh, clean mint and bourbon running round each other, in competition to see who can last the longest.

I once owned a bottle of Laphroaig bottled by Murray McDavid that was finished in Ch Lafite casks. I was a little disappointed by it to begin with, but after a few months it grew on me and it came to be probably my favorite Laphroaig I've ever had. I had similar feelings about Glenmorangie Artein to begin with as well. I bought it because it was limited edition and I wasn't totally in love with it at the first sip, but now I think of it being the best Glenmorangie I've had (even better than Signet, but maybe I need to spend more time with the Signet, which I just bought). This is hard to find now; I find even harder to find than the previous private edition release, Finnealta. If you see this bottle, snatch it up. I have no problem recommending it to anyone. Islayman, Speyside-lover, bourbonhead. It'll be up anybody's alley. I grew to be enamored with it, and it's a shame the ride is over. I look forward to trying new Scotches aged in the casks which once were home to dry reds. The two I've had so far have been dynamite. Get this one while you can! That is, if you can.

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Victor commented

Drinkable? Dangerously so. As my sister, who likes to tell malt drinkers that "I hate Scotch" also likes to say, "This (Glenmorangie Artein) drinks like wine." I love to tell the story how my "I hate Scotch" sister tried one dram of Artein at my home, then a second, then a third,...and then promptly drove up the street to a nearby liquor store and bought six bottles of it for herself. Yes, she hates Scotch!

11 years ago 0