Review: Glenmorangie Nectar D’Or, Quinta Ruban, and Lasanta (2019)
If you think you’ve seen some changes in Glenmorangie’s mainline bottles lately, you aren’t imagining things. The Highland distillery has indeed shaken up three expressions at the core of its lineup, the trio which makes up the so-called Extra Matured Range. There are a lot of changes in the mix, so pay close attention to the details:
Glenmorangie’s 12-year-old Port Cask Finish, known as The Quinta Ruban, will now be aged for an additional two years and become a 14-year-old expression. The extra two years of maturation brings out even deeper flavors of Seville orange and dark chocolate for a bolder, velvety whisky. The cask selection and the finishing process remain the same. In addition, the packaging will change from black to green, giving the new 14-year-old whisky better on-shelf stand out for browsing whisky lovers.
Simultaneously, Glenmorangie Nectar D’Or will transition from a 12-year-old whisky to a non-age stated expression, retaining all the sumptuously sweet flavors that come from its highly-prized rare Sauternes cask finish. Glenmorangie’s 12-year-old Sherry Cask Finish, The Lasanta, remains the spicy, rich whisky, which is enjoyed and awarded around the world.
“As part of the continuing appraisal of Glenmorangie’s range of whiskies, we believe whisky lovers will appreciate our popular Quinta Ruban expression even more with an additional two years of maturation,” explains Dr. Bill Lumsden, Glenmorangie’s Director of Whisky Creation, Distilling & Whisky Stocks. “The Quinta Ruban will be aged for at least 14 years – spending at least ten years in bourbon casks before being finished in port casks for flavors of berries and nutmeg entwined with mint chocolate and Seville orange.”
So, to summarize: Quinta Ruban is moving from 12 to 14 years old. Nectar D’Or is losing its age statement altogether. Lasanta is not changing aside from some tweaks to packaging. Today we look at the new, 2019 bottlings for all three of them. Thoughts follow.
Glenmorangie Nectar D’Or Sauternes Cask Finish (2019) – No age statement rendition. This has always been Glenmorangie’s most opulent, silky, seductive whisky, loaded up with fruit and sunlight. It’s still gorgeous to look at, a sunny gold color that is immediately inviting. The nose kicks off with a hint of golden raisin but it quickly takes a surprising right turn, showcasing a wealth of nuts that includes hazelnuts, almonds, and peanut butter. The palate is, again, quite heavy on nutty notes, with a bold, fresh peanut butter character initially dominating. The body turns sweet and more cereal-focused from there, with a distinct honey character atop a malty, grassy element. The finish is long and rolling and again quite nutty, though the honey elements linger along with just a hint of saline. I have to say this experience was entirely unexpected, as the Sauternes finish never materializes in the expected manner. Nevertheless, it’s still a fun whisky to drink… provided you’re into nuts. 92 proof. B+ / $60
Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban Port Cask Finish 14 Years Old (2019) – Two extra years in barrel have really given Quinta Ruban something special, something new that wasn’t there before. Rich and raisiny on the nose, the whisky offers more subdued aromas of sandalwood and a touch of chocolate. There’s an ample barrel char note throughout here, and it spills over to the palate, where we find elements of toasted bread, raisiny Port, tannic (dry) red wine, and a light note of smoky bacon. The sweetness grows stronger with time in glass, and the chocolate notes build as the finish approaches. Soothing and well balanced on the whole, the tannic/smoky quality is a strange diversion, but the overall impact is otherwise quite a delight. 92 proof. A- / $50
Glenmorangie Lasanta Sherry Cask Finish 12 Years Old (2009) – Sultry and intense, Lasanta’s time in oloroso and Pedro Ximénez sherry casks give it a smoldering quality that evokes aromas of spice market, Turkish rug shops, eucalyptus, and cedar. The palate doesn’t overly deviate, folding in a stronger menthol quality on top of the heavy wood influence and a clearer, citrusy sherry character. The whisky never lets up, growing more and more pungent with time in glass, the power of the wood growing immense, the citrus notes building to a crescendo on the finish — which (following the theme) also develops an almond and hazelnut note. The whisky drinks with more heat than its abv would indicate, and water is more appropriate — and more helpful — here than on any of the above expressions. Even with a drop or two of water, it’s still a sherry-heavy beast. In a good way. 86 proof. A- / $48