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Complex, elegant, floral, fruity…adjectives that come to mind when I think of Glenmorangie. One of the first distilleries to experiment with various cask finishes before the practice became all the rage, "Glen-mo" also acquired something of a reputation for the inconsistency that often results from such experimentation. Fortunately, they also have a reputation for more hits than misses.
Along with the 10 yo Original, the Nectar D’or appears to be one of the two most popular expressions in the Glenmorangie range. I find it a very drinkable dram with a few slight unpleasant notes, but there are enough good things going on here for me to give it a strong-ish recommendation.
Nose, neat: After about 15 minutes of opening up, I get plenty of malt, brown sugar, honey, vanilla, fresh-baked shortbread cookies, and some touches of flowers and grasses. An excellent nose to be sure, but from time to time I get some slight traces of what I can only describe as sweat and metal – the way your hand smells after carrying around some dirty coins. It’s slight, I don’t get it with every whiff, but it’s enough to mark it down a couple of ticks in the aroma department.
Taste, neat: A blast of unanticipated peppery spices, cinnamon, and fruit, followed by a fairly long malty finish. Maybe a touch of bitter tea in there as well. For a 46-percenter, there’s not too much burn here.
With a splash of water and another 10 minutes:
Nose: Hm, I think I prefer this neat. A bit of water tends to flatten it out and emphasize the dirty notes. The malt and honey remain strong, and there’s a bit of apple I didn’t detect before, but rest of the pleasant layers have been washed away.
Taste: I liked the palate neat, but I like it even better now. It’s now alive with complexity and fruity layers. It verges on the overly sugary, perhaps, and it’s lost a bit in the finish, but the gains more than make up for the losses.
I like this whisky, but I’m slightly confused as to how to drink it. I think I’ll try half a dram neat and half with a spoonful of water next time to get the best of both worlds.