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Glenmorangie The Duthac, from the Legends Series

King James IV Visits St. Duthac

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@VictorReview by @Victor

6th Aug 2018


Glenmorangie The Duthac, from the Legends Series
  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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The Duthac is a Travel Retail product from the Glenmorangie Legends Series. The Duthac has no age statement and was finished in Pedro Ximenez Sherry casks and new oak barrels. I thank @Maddie for samples from her bottle. The Duthac "...honours the annual pilgrimage made by King James IV to the shrine of St. Duthac in Tain...." At Ross-shire, lies the resting place of St Duthac, the patron saint of Tain, who was born around the year 1000. King James IV was a regular annual pilgrim to the shrine up until his death in 1513. I am a little surprised that 21st century secular and Presbyterian-Calvinist Scotland would commemorate the pilgrimage of a king 500 years ago to the tomb of a Catholic saint. But, then, Glenmorangie is located in the Highlands, and the Highlands were the home of much hold-out loyalty to Roman Catholicism in the early centuries after the Protestant Reformation. That influence was much reduced with the very effective ethnic cleansing program called The Highland Clearances (1760-1855), which broke the power of the clans, and with it most of the remaining support for the Roman Church

The Duthac was sampled when the bottle was first opened and then 4 weeks later. The bottle is 95% full at the time of the second sampling

Nose: pleasant sweet understated nose, with standard Glenmorangie barley-malt, light wine flavours, cashews, hazelnuts, a little bit of both char and wood-spice, and just a trace of match-stick. This is fully nice but not amazing. With water added the pitch is raised and sweetness is emphasized. Score: 20/25 neat; 21/25 with water added

Taste: fuller and more robust in the mouth, both the sherry and the spice. Unfortunately after only 4 weeks of the bottle open sulphur presence becomes strong in the mouth. Water added bundles the flavours and brings out sweetness. The sulphur remains strong. Score: 16/20 neat; 17/20 with water

Finish: goes sulphured and bitter, obliterating and obscuring what were no doubt originally nice wine flavours and interesting nuances of flavour. Water dilutes the intensity of the sulphur tattoo somewhat. Score: 12/25 neat; 16/25 with water added

Balance: with the bottle open for 4 weeks sulphur obliterates all of the other flavours in the mouth. If you cannot taste sulphur you might still like The Duthac, but you might have a hard time describing what it is that you are tasting. Score: 14/25; 16/25 with water added

Total Sequential Score: 62 points neat; 70 points with water added


Strength: moderate strength nose; relatively strong flavours on the palate. Score: 22/25 points

Quality: good glenmorangie malt; sulphured PX wine casks; Score: 12/25

Variety: good-very good variety of flavours in the nose; sulphur completely dominates the palate. Score: 16/25

Harmony: good harmony on the nose; nothing but sulphur after that. Score: 12/25

Total Non-Sequential Score: 62 points


Comment: I thought about reviewing The Duthac using samples only from the day of opening the bottle. At that point I scored the whisky 83 points. I am very glad that I did persevere to sample it after the bottle had been open for 4 weeks.

I have several times before seen that significant sulphur influence in a Scottish malt often is mute when the bottle is first opened, but becomes dominating after the bottle has had weeks or months of exposure to air influence. A near comparison was Glenmorangie Companta. I didn't notice sulphur at all when the bottle was first opened, but give it a few months of air, and-- watch out!

Of course, many many whisky drinkers are not very sensitive to sulphur. I wasn't either for my first 2 or 3 years of serious whisky-hobbyhood. For those of you who don't notice sulphur much, this Duthac is probably worth 15-25 points more to you than I give it

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Mackstine commented

I’ve actually been finding this “late sulphur” characteristic to be a flaw that seems to plague sherried Glenmorangies in particular. I’ve disliked a lot more LaSantas vs the ones I liked.... at least in my experience anyways.
What would you think overall of Glenmorangie? I think their spirit isn’t bad - the Glenmorangie 10 is fairly solid (in fact, I wonder what it’d be like at cask strength....) but all this poorly implemented cask play as of late makes me rather disappointed... Enjoyed reading the review.

5 years ago 0

Victor commented

@Mackstine, thanks. I like Glenmorangie distillate, but have found several of their wine-cask releases to be sulphured. Lasanta, in particular, was notoriously sulphured for a long time, though I did once, out of maybe 4 different bottles sampled, total, taste a release of Lasanta which was pretty clean of sulphur. Companta (Private Edition) was heavily sulphured, as was The Tayne (Legends series), and now The Duthac (Legends series). On the positive side for Glenmorangie wine cask releases, Sonnalta PX (Private Edition, Pedro Ximenez Sherry) was fabulous; Artein (Private Edition, Tuscan wine casks) was very very good too; and Quinta Ruban (Port pipes) hasn't shown me any sulphur, though it sometimes needs a lot of air time to come together. Nectar d'Or (Sauternes) usually seems free from sulphur too.

As a now highly sulphur sensitive individual I don't trust any wine cask matured Scottish malts until I taste them.

5 years ago 2Who liked this?

Robert99 commented

@Victor I always tasted sulphur but I was not paying attention to it and didn’t mind. Now, I learned to identify it and it bothers me more than ever. When you have tasted great sherry whisky without sukphur, it’s hard to accept a lesser dram with tainted sherry.

5 years ago 1Who liked this?