Went back to L’Île Noire Pub because I was in Montreal and it’s a great pub and they have a ton of whisky and gin. Great place, good prices, good staff.
But why choose a Highland whisky? I mean, it’s not a bad region, per say. It’s just not usually my thing. My jive is off with it. I am not a Highlander. If you cut off my head, you gain none of my power, and go to jail, because I’m not immortal, nor a prince of the universe, not born to be a king.
But there are some Highlands I like. There are others I do not. And I keep looking, because there’s always a chance someone does something different and it becomes a gem.
Speaking of something different, I drank Glenmorangie Tusail next. Why is this different?
Each year Glenmorangie does a different special ‘Private Collection’, and this is the sixth offering. In the past there have been older varieties, interesting finishes, and generally cool ideas.
This one is made using traditionally floor-malted Maris Otter barley. And if you read anywhere about that, you’ll see it’s an old-fashioned method.
But what is it? That’s what I asked, because I was a squirmy kid who couldn’t leave well enough alone.
So, up first: What the fuck is Floor malting? Well floor malting is the historic technique of preparing barley for fermentation; turning it into malted barley. You’ve had whisky made with floor malted barley before. There distilleries are some that use it:
- Highland Park
- The Balvenie
Maris Otter barley… what? Unless you’re a homebrewer, you have a life and don’t care about these things.
I kid, I kid.
Maris Otter barley was originally created in 1966 and quickly became the dominant barley used in brewing during the 1970s. Unfortunately the 80s came and ruined fucking everything, and it stopped being used before the 90s could try and save things.
The barley is still used a premium barley though.
So this is an interesting dram. Different than the traditional Glenmorangie, and an fun experiment. So, let’s see how it tastes, shall we?
Price: N/A at the LCBO
Colour: 5Y 8/6
Nose: Butter, wheat, orange, coconut milk, rice pudding, cardamon
Gone is the fruit forward Glenmorangie that I’m used to. Also gone are the rough edge parts. This may or may not be your grandfathers whisky. I’m not certain because I haven’t had dusties just yet. Nor do I know your grandfather.
Very creamy. Still a little bit of orange to say “Oi! I’m Glenmorangie!”
Taste: Ginger, black tea, vanilla, cloves
And… fizzle. Big spices from around the world. Where men were sent and then died surrounded by men, like manly men.
Wait, that sounds horrible. I’m not joining the spice trade anymore.
I’m torn on describing this one. On the one hand, it’s tasting like an ordinary cup of black tea with some spices. But on the other, maybe that’s different enough to warrant liking it? I don’t know. Not too crazy in the end. I like my black teas. I want more in a special whisky.
Finish: Vanilla pudding, grapefruit, rosemary, brown butter, allspice
The finish is a hodge podge of different elements from before. It has the spices from the taste, citrus from Glenmorangie, and then the vanilla creaminess from the nose.
I wish I could tell you that mighty Casey saved the day and hit the ball that day. I could have, but it would be a lie. Mighty Casey struck out. Parts mix well with parts, but in the end it doesn’t really do it to me.
Conclusion: I think Glenmorangie did the right thing with this one. Which will sound odd because I don’t think it’s a good whisky overall. That said, just because one doesn’t make a perfect whisky doesn’t mean they aren’t onto something.
The profile on this one makes for an interesting nose. I think it’s missing a higher Abv. to really punch above the belt. Or maybe longer in the cask, or different cask. There’s definitely something to consider here.
Scotch review #478, Highland review #82, Whisky Network review #781