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GLENMORANGIE SIGNET (2008, OB, 46%)

Among the many spirits from the Highlands, the one getting out of Glenmorangie’s tall stills is surely one of the most exotic, at least in recent years: this is because the master distiller Bill Lumsden loves to experiment, mostly using different woods for ageing (himself recalls using brasilian cherry wood as one of the most awful attempts), and he’s one of the main guilty for the wine-finishing wave that’s hitting whisky shelves around the globe. Bill defines this Signet as his “magnum opus”, since it’s the result of many different experiments: it’s toasted malt (the so-called chocolate malt, used for stout beers for example), matured in a mix of ex-bourbon, ex-sherry and virgin oak casks… Of course this is mixed with more traditional stuff, and the oldest malt that comes in the vatting is 35 years old. Ok. For sure, it’s an important whisky for the distillery, if it’s true that their logo (the golden square that shines on their labels) is called… Signet. Colour is amber.

N: at first there are liquorous and pungent notes. Balsamic vinegar? A lot of fruit (dried apricots, raisins, apple peel), that recalls a sherried profile (leather too). Cigar tobacco. In time it develops ‘old’ dusty notes; dusty wood; acrid and winey notes lower in time, leaving space to a certain roundness, with clear vanilla notes and well aged malt. Caramel. Slight hints of nutmeg. Wood gains weight and weight.

P: body is a bit disappointing; anyway, the road of the palate is from sweet wine to fruit and ends in bitter notes. Very delicate, very fruity: from red to yellow fruit (ripe apricots, but a lot of red berries too), with the usual raisins that come through. Lovely malty flavour. Caramel, bitter chocolate. Dried fruit, here and there.

F: very long and lingering. Bitter at first, but then a waterfall of dried fruit (walnuts and almonds); raisins and fresh fruit too, and milk chocolate above all.

Great experiment, you perceive the complexity of the production process; in its genre it’s surely a good dram. Of course, you have to like this genre… The exuberance of malt is impressive, just like the dried fruits exploding on the finish; the relatively weak body makes it very easy drinkable, but it’s a pity. Our score will be 88/100, even if it’s a bit pricey… Serge’s opinion here, Ruben’s here. No comment about the packaging: true LVMH style!

Recommended soundtrack: Gotye feat. KimbraSomebody that I used to know, from the album Making mirrors.

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