This is a classic whisky, one that’s been the gateway malt for a good number of drinkers, I’d imagine. If you’ve ever wondered what the quintessential Northern Highland profile is, this is it (though fans of the Old Pulteney 12 and the younger Balblairs may disagree). Given all the crazy (and ongoing) experimentation at Glenmorangie in the LVMH era this entry-level malt gets forgotten in the hoopla over the various exotically finished or put together annual releases.
I’ve tasted it regularly–at bars, at friends’ homes–over the last decade or so and it’s always been solid, if unremarkable. For whisky geeks, or aspiring whisky geeks, that may seem like damning with faint praise but there’s something comforting about knowing that the Glenmorangie 10 is still the Glenmorangie 10; and there are evenings when a solid but unchallenging malt like this is just what you want. This is one of those evenings.
Glenmorangie 10 “Original” (43%; from a sample received in a swap)
Nose: Light malt and toasted wood. Some brine and then some fruit: pears, apple peel, a bit of citrus peel (lemon), something a little more musky/sweaty. With more time the fruit comes out over the malt and wood. Water doesn’t do anything for it, and makes the fruit recede. Wait, I spoke too soon: with more time the fruit comes back and brings some of the malt with it.
Palate: Starts out a little blank at first but then very much as on the nose: malt and orchard fruit; but then it gets sweeter. Thicker texture than you might expect at 43%. On the third sip stronger briny notes also develop. Much later the wood shows up earlier and there are are hints of mocha as well. Water does push the wood back on the palate and brings out more citrus.
Finish: Medium-long. The sweetness gives way to toasted wood that hangs around much longer than I would have expected. A light pepperiness as well. Over time the wood gets a little bit astringent. Water brings the wood under control on the finish as well.
Comments: Okay, after all the love I gave it in the intro I didn’t like this edition (from 2012 as per my source) all that much. The nose is quite nice but the wood seems a little more present than I remember on the palate and finish). Have they been putting new oak matured spirit into this? A bit of a mixed bag with water: the nose is better without but the palate and finish are better with.
Rating: 82 points. (80 without water.)
Thanks to Michael for the sample!