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The Glenmorangie Signet is the pièce de resistance from this distillery (at least, for Joe Sixpack like you and me). It is their ultimate dram, created by Rachel Barrie, under supervision of Dr Bill Lumsden. It is a mix of 20% so-called ‘chocolate malt’ (used for brewing stout beer) and 80% ‘crystal malt’, being roasted barley (like Bushmills uses in the highly acclaimed 1608 Anniversary Blend). It is also a vatting of different cask types – sherry, bourbon and wine, but also Ozark virgin oak. And despite the absence of an age on the label, we have been there is even 35 year old whisky in the mix. Ooh, I’m curious.
The nose is surprisingly perfumed. There are clear sherry elements (raisins, orange marmalade, cherries), as well as the typical spiciness of new oak (ginger, cloves) and bourbon traits (vanilla, honey). But there is something underneath that reminds me of after shave (or is that the shape of the bottle playing games with my mind?). And chocolate. And roasted nuts. And Arabica coffee. And candlewax. And, and, and. This goes on for quite a while. Very complex and simply delicious.
On the palate, it is the wine influence that hits you first, immediately followed by very sweet honey, vanilla, oranges, Christmas cake, Turkish Delight and chocolate. Midpalate, the spices return. Slightly oily.
The oak takes things to the next level in this long and drying finish. Tannins and nutmeg until the bitter end.
The nose was enchanting, the palate fine and the finish more or less okay. All in all a beautiful whisky and the best Glenmorangie I have tasted to date (on par with the Astar). This dram deluxe will take a serious bit out of your whisky budget though, considering the cost of 140 EUR. Rachel Barrie clearly knows what she is doing (which is why I was happy to learn that she joined Morrison-Bowmore Distillers in October 2011, meaning many good things to look forward to from my favourite distillery).