Here is the latest special release from Glenmorangie, or to use their lingo, “the fifth release in the Private Edition”. As to what’s private about it, I don’t know considering that I have a bottle of it. Those who are aware of my aversion to wine cask-finished malts, and particularly those who remember my last outing with one such from Glenmorangie, may be surprised to see me with a bottle of this. I didn’t actually “buy” one–I traded some samples for it with another whisky geek who really didn’t like it. There’s been some interesting talk about it and morbid curiosity led me to want to check it out. Let’s take a deep breath and see how it goes.
Glenmorangie Companta (46%; from my own bottle)
Nose: Well, this is promising: not particularly winey and not as berry-forward as the Artein, though there is some red fruit here (cherry). Instead it leads with sweet raisiny notes and some salted nuts (cashews?). Something mildly fudgey as well and also a slight leatheriness. The raisin turns into plum and with time the salt comes to the fore. Water makes the cherry jump out in front.
Palate: Very much as on the nose. The red fruit is in balance with the oak and the spirit and do not dominate. Quite a bit of salt here too (you’re not going to mistake this for a sherried malt but it’s not too far away). Water doesn’t emphasize the red fruit on the palate as it did on the nose–if anything it seems to get more salty.
Finish: Medium. Some wood here and it’s a nice counterpoint to the palate. Saltier on the finish too with water.
Comments: Not bad at all. There’s wine, yes, but it’s not aggressive and it seems far more balanced with the oak and the spirit. It’s certainly not winesky in the way I found Artein to be–at least, not without water, which I don’t recommend. I wouldn’t buy a full bottle but I wouldn’t warn you against it either. But do try the elegant 18 yo first–it’s usually a fair bit cheaper than this.
Rating: 84 points.