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Glenmorangie Lasanta

Game set: Matches

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@vanPeltReview by @vanPelt

20th Jul 2013

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  • Nose
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  • Taste
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  • Finish
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  • Balance
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  • Overall
    80

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

First vapor: Matchsticks and orange. (The matches: pessimistically like fertilizer, optimistically, smoky pure dark chocolate)

Nose: Starting light... Maple and cold cream poured over cinnamon&raisin oatmeal. At first strong on hot tickling ginger powder. Nose2: Eventually matchsticks come back, a little sharp and with butterscotch.

Palate: Golden raisins & tires (matches) on entrance. As some initial heat fades, these are revealed to be buried in melted unsalted butter. Mouth tingle escalates to burning sugar, over creamy rose. This tingle subsides with growing vanilla, and mellows to walnut and walnut skins.

Finish: Dry walnut with some cocoa powder. Pepper adds spice, fading from black to white... and eventually liquorice root. Still a sense of walnut skins, reflecting the matchsticks in the nose.

Importantly, if the malt has breathed enough, this finish is the same but substantially sweeter.

A surprising Glenmorangie experience-- Yes, there is characteristic fruitiness and maltiness, but are we sure this has no peat in it? The matchstick effect can be substantial, so despite some wonderful creaminess and sweet oak, it can feel like a bumpier ride. At first I could not judge whether this made the experience worse or more interesting. It is a bit of both: It is more interesting in the palate, but it sticks around too much, especially at the end of the finish.

Due to this matchstick tone, I find this most similar to a couple peated malts: either the Highland Park 12 or the Bowmore 15 Mariner. I find the Lasanta slightly more interesting (and sherried) than the HP12, but roughly on par. And ultimately I prefer the Mariner for having an overall smoother palate and better shade of peat, even though it is not as creamy.

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6 comments

@MCM
MCM commented

Matchsticks=Sulfer

From the sulfured sherry casks. Just FYI

Jim Murray has more than a few essays on the subject. Worth a read

5 years ago 0

@vanPelt
vanPelt commented

Yes, spelled "sulfur" (or most likely "sulphur" by the English Murray), it's a constituent of the smell I described, and it originates from cask residuals. I use "matchstick" as a reference because I think the term "sulfur" is misunderstood: Most people learn that sulfur smells of "rotten eggs", an odor that actually derives from hydrogen sulfide (H2S), rather than sulfur. And actual sulfur (elemental, e.g. S8) has no smell at all. The smell we have in the whisky is sulfur dioxide (SO2), which is associated with "burning matches", and it can even be pleasant in small doses. Hopefully not turned many people are turned away from okay whiskies because they've read "sulfur" in a review and thought of sewage gas. (And BTW, apparently not every Lasanta bottle has this characteristic.)

5 years ago 0

@MCM
MCM commented

Never sulpher?

Anyway, I can't stand it even in "small" doses. It ruins my tongue for a good long while. I find it to be a poison and a poison on the whisky industry. The fact that there are brand managers stating that it is a desirable characteristic in whisky is beyond me.

5 years ago 0

@vanPelt
vanPelt commented

Wow, I had to look that one up: apparently that spelling is used in a language called West Flemish. I wonder whether the same people who are sensitive to sulfur dioxide are also sensitive to cilantro (coriander in UK). I've heard that some percentage of people feel a kind of soapy or dry reaction on their tongues.

5 years ago 0

@vanPelt
vanPelt commented

I saved an old sample of this Lasanta (2cl liquid in 3cl vial) where it rested for 10 months: Nose: No hot sting, and no matchsticks. Just honeyed oatmeal (malty) and fresh orange pulp. Palate: The new nose translates well here. It enters very malty, more like the Original. There is no substantial heat, instead it is rather vanilla-and-malt-y. Finish: Some drying oak tannin builds, but otherwise it is more of the same vanilla.

Upshot: I could say the sample has lost all traces of sulfur (dioxide) or sherry! It has reverted to the “Original”, for better or worse. Here is my review of that one: connosr.com/reviews/glenmorangie/…

5 years ago 0

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