Glenmorangie Bacalta

The Glenmorangie Private Edition range has always struck me as one of the best limited edition ranges the Scotch whisky industry has to offer. Over a number of years, the Tain-based distiller has built up a solid range of interesting and adventurous expressions. Best of all, a punter can usually pick one of these up for under £100 – a lot less than many distillers, who immediately see limited edition as a good reason to jack up the price.

Last year saw the fun sweet-shop inspired Milsean added to the range. And this year, we have the Glenmorangie Bacalta.

The Whisky
Glenmorangie Bacalta – which comes from the Scots Gaelic for baked – is the first release from the distillery which is finished in sun-baked Malmsey Madeira casks. The inspiration for this unique malt has been 20 years in the making, with Dr Bill Lumsden determined to create the perfect Madeira-finished Glenmoragie.

This involved hand-picking American oak casks, before heavily toasting them and seasoning using Malmsey wine – the sweetest of wines from Madeira. These were then baked by the sun’s heat, emptied and shipped to Scotland, where they were filled with spirit which had already matured in ex-bourbon casks.

The Taste
Dr Bill is known for having created some of the best Scotch whiskies currently on the market, but I feel he’s really excelled himself with the Glenmorangie Bacalta.

Before the glass even reaches my nose, there’s no mistaking that it’s a Glenmorangie…but there’s something more, like the whole nose has been amplified. It’s got a strong stone fruit base, with baked apricots and peaches. And although the Madiera presence has added some honeyed sweetness, it’s not overpowering.

The palate gives a burst of flavour, with those baked fruits really coming to the fore. The sweetness is there too, although there’s less honey and more dates and figs. There’s a freshness to it as well – peppermint? – with a spicy, menthol-y finish.

The Verdict
Another smashing addition to the Glenmoragie Private Edition range, and more generally, a stunning whisky for the £79 price tag.

You can find out more about Glenmorangie Bacalta and the rest of the Private Edition range over on the distillery’s website.

My sample was provided by Glenmorangie.