The Glenmorangie Ealanta is the fourth annual release in the private edition range. It is a release designed to show off the impact of the wood, as this 19 year old whisky from 1993 is fully matured in heavily toasted virgin American white oak casks – casks that were once trees in the Mark Twain National Forest, USA. The spirit is bottled at 46% and is non chill filtered. It was selected by Dr Bill Lumsden – Director of Distilling and Whisky Creation at Glenmorangie after he discovered it, and then kept watch of it over a number of years until it was deemed suitable to bottle for this release.
On the nose we (unsurprisingly) found an initial blast of furniture polish and beeswax as a result of its maturation in the virgin oak. The whisky is rich and woody with hidden depths of orange pith breaking through. Time in the glass (we left it for about half an hour) opened it up, and as it softened in the air we detected notes of star anise and lovely creamy vanilla. The wood is strong as you’d expect, but not too strong that it over powers the lovely fragrance of the sweet and sugary nose.
The palate was an initial mixture of oak and lavender, before the Glenmorangie we know and love revealed itself wrapped up in oranges and palma violet sweets. It is very fresh and the creamy vanilla hits again before we were left with maybe a touch of fresh mint. It has been suggested that Dr Bill enjoys this whisky with an ice-cube; we neglected to try that but should we come across any more we will do so as its been getting some fabulous responses! The finish was long and dry with more touches of star anise and it leaves you wanting more!
The Glenmorangie Ealanta is a lovely whisky. The virgin oak provides a really different but ultimately satisfying drinking experience and if you are looking for something a little bit unusual, something that isn’t particularly mainstream, then we would recommend this whisky without hesitation – it is bound to be a talking point at your next tasting!