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Glenmorangie Astar

Eucalyptus Shocker

0 674

@vanPeltReview by @vanPelt

1st Nov 2013


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

--- Neat ---

Nose: Vanilla cream, quickly joined by sharp lemon zest. The sharpness transforms to chilling menthol eucalyptus. If I really search, there is a weak fruit between dry bartlett pear and coconut, with powders of cinnamon and ginger. But mostly the cooling eucalyptus seems to endure.

Palate: Enters soapy mint over white pear, with a tangy punch. From this there builds feisty ginger with pleasant toffee sweetness. After the peak, these become white pepper and sharp almond. There is a lingering burn of red-hot cinnamon.

Finish: The burn eventually cools to dry menthol-anise on underripe pear. A minute later, there is raw cashew and a faint echo of coconut.

--- With water ---

Nose: Vanilla and menthol-anise.

Palate: Smooth caramel entrance. Eucalyptus coolness soon grows, and then bites like zest or pine. This becomes light ginger as caramel sweetly returns (which is the the best part). Nutty almond rises from the caramel, before menthol revisits for the finish.

Finish: Long cool anise and lemon zest, unripe pineapple and drying oak of vanilla & almond.

The Astar is, quite frankly, the first time that Connosr has let me down. I had gained expectations for a creamy and rich lemon-pineapple-coconut-honey treat; instead I find myself with an unbalanced malt that has far too much prickly eucalyptus (for my preferences). While I can enjoy this kind of menthol influence in certain bourbons and ryes, those usually have deeper flavors to compensate (e.g. brown sugar, banana). The Astar, however, is all light (lemon, pine), so it is altogether top-heavy. Purely "refreshing" flavors are welcome in my mouthwash but not in my scotch! The main attribute holding it together is the nutty caramel that appears midpalate.

The worst aspects are exacerbated at the bottled strength; for one of the first times, I believe this malt should have been bottled at 43%. My rating reflects the addition of water; otherwise I would rate the Astar at most 75 neat, without exaggerating my feelings. To turn lemons into lemonade, I could imagine using this as a very nice palate cleanser, either as an apertif or in between plates of a multi-course meal. (However, it should not be used during a whisky tasting flight, as the menthol will contaminate subsequent whiskies!)

I cannot compare this to anything else I have had, due to the above. If someone enjoyed this for the menthol, I would rather direct them to certain bourbons or ryes. If someone enjoyed it for the other light flavors, I would rather direct to something like the Arran Original or Mackmyra Brukswhisky. And I would unhesitatingly direct anyone to Glenmorangie's more recent Private Edition malt, the Ealanta, which also provides fruit and lightness, but with more cream and without the cool burn.

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Tandem commented

I just opened this bottle, and thought of writing a review. However, this review captured my sentiments almost exactly, so I thought I might as well only comment. What I would add are the fairly strong notes of toffee caramel in the nose right in the beginning. After adding water (which is really mandatory with this one) they are almost gone though. Slight disappointment for me as well..

9 years ago 0

vanPelt commented

Thanks @Tandem -- I can't ask for better affirmation than that! And thanks for adding; I might have lumped those smells in with the vanilla.

Since writing this review, I have noticed that @SquidgyAsh mentioned, a couple times on this website (in different places), that he experienced a worse-- and also "soapy"-- batch of the Astar. So it is possible we just got duds.

I am still keeping some distant hope that all the menthol-y stuff in my bottle will magically evaporate, so that after several months I will end up with the lemon-cream delight others have talked about. It's not completely absurd: @Victor 's review of Glenmorangie's Quinta Ruban recommends leaving it about 1 year after opening, to take it from very imbalanced to quite coherent.

9 years ago 0

Tandem commented

Heh, I actually had a very similar experience with the Quinta Ruban as well. After opening it I didn't think much of it (and hence that 1L bottle wasn't consumed too fast). Then after maybe 18 months I realized that it started to taste a lot smoother and balanced. I just thought that I had somehow acquired the taste for it, but apparently not a unique experience. I had the bottle open for almost 3 years and it kept getting better the entire time.

9 years ago 0

Victor commented

@Tandem, maybe you saw my review of Quinta Ruban. I reported on just what you observed with it. It was an incoherent mish-mash for around a year and then the flavours came together very nicely. The flavours have stayed together and are still very good going to the end of the bottle almost 3 years later.

9 years ago 0

Tandem commented

I had to come back to this to check when I had wrote my comment on the Astar. As it seems I opened the bottle about 7 months ago and for the first time in maybe 2 months, I poured again a dram. The bottle has about three quarters left still.

I have to say this whisky has transformed! And I'm glad I had the patience to wait and let it settle. It still definitely needs a lot of water, but after 5 teaspoons or so, I'm finally getting the lovely lemon custard note. Nuts, maltyness, freshness, it's all there. And the pungent eucalyptus that controlled the whole scene originally, it's next to gone. My rating would now climb from high seveties to high eighties at least.

9 years ago 0

vanPelt commented

You beat me to it!

About 2 months ago, I retrieved my (2/3 full) bottle of Astar from storage and realized that-- yes-- all its negative aspects HAD in fact dissipated! No more (almost...) menthol/eucalyptus/soap/hot-cinnamon. I was so happy about the malt's improvement (by maybe 10-15 points) that I even tracked down and ordered another bottle. Since then, I have been analyzing the open bottle and tasting it H2H with some other malts. But I was looking forward to following up with you. Now I get a lot of lemon cream, butter, and ginger. Even some apricot-pineapple and fried-pastry.

In my analysis, I also came to the same conclusion: my 2-month old notes say that the Astar should be diluted to maximum 43%. I need to taste it again though, firm up my opinions, and polish up some new notes. But, yes, my rating would certainly be high 80s now, too.

Thanks for the follow-up!

9 years ago 0

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