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Whisky Review #105 – Glenmorangie Whiskies

The Exciseman Whisky Bar

There were so many Glenmorangie events recently that our heads were practically swimming with the whiskies from the distillery. Even though we shared two previous posts about Glenmorangie, we wanted to share a particular event hosted by The Exciseman Whisky Bar because we thought it was truly exceptional.

Brendon McCarron and The Exciseman Whisky Bar

With Brendon in town, it was an excellent chance to share some moments with the trade personnel in Singapore on a cosy Monday afternoon. Lewis and Patricia from The Exciseman Whisky Bar hosted an afternoon tasting session on 1 July 2019. It was a rare chance for Brendon to interact with more trade people in Singapore, and to give all of us a better understanding of what Glenmorangie is all about.

The Whisky Line-Up

The Glenmorangie Whisky Line-Up

WhiskyGeeks has spoken extensively about Glenmorangie and Brendon, so we will not repeat them. What we want to share here are the reviews of the various expressions that we tasted at The Exciseman Whisky Bar. It was a unique tasting because we paired whisky with the wine that the whisky was finished in.

Lasanta 12 Years Old x Pedro Ximenes (PX) Sherry

Lasanta 12 Years Old

The first whisky on the list is Lasanta 12 Years Old. Its name means warmth. We understood from Brendon that the whisky matures for ten years in ex-bourbon casks before finishing in both Oloroso and PX sherry casks. 75% of Oloroso sherry and 25% of PX sherry gives a result of “clean sherry” influence. For the pairing, a PX sherry was used.

Lasanta 12 Years Old

Nose: The first nose was that of cinnamon spice, sweet raisins, toffee and chocolate. With some time, vanilla and honey surfaced. It also becomes relatively oaky.
Palate: We tasted cinnamon, caramel, raisins and hints of chocolate. There was also a pleasant warmth. It was a light and easy dram. With time, sweet vanilla, honey, coconuts and white pepper came out to play.
Finish: The finish was medium, with dark chocolate, hints of cocoa powder, raisins and honey. It was also oaky and dry.

PX Sherry

Nose: It was full of dark raisins (reminded me of Ligo brand), plums and sweet stewed fruits. I could nose this all day!
Palate: Full of raisins, stewed and candied fruits, there was also some honey that I could get on the palate. It was a delicious dram even though I find it a tad too sweet for my liking.
Finish: Long and sweet with raisins and stewed fruits lingering on forever.

Conclusion: I may like the sherry more than the whisky with this pairing. The nose and palate of the sherry bring back beautiful memories of snacking on raisins in my childhood! This is a perfect example of memories helping us to like a particular drink more than others!

Quinta Ruban x Ruby Port

Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban 12 Years Old

The Quinta Ruban is a port cask finished whisky bottled at 46%. The whisky matures in ex-bourbon casks for ten years and finishes in ruby port casks for two years.

Quinta Ruban 12 Years Old

Nose: There was vanilla, honey, musky caramel, hints of oranges and spice in this one. The sweetness was more muted than the Lasanta 12 YO, but there appeared to be more complexity in the whisky.
Palate: Yes, the complexity continues in the palate. I got the vanilla, honey, cinnamon spice with hints of oranges. There were also dark chocolate and oak to it. The level of maturation and finish in the whisky was more exciting than the Lasanta 12 Years Old.
Finish: The finish is long and oaky, with the slight bitterness of very dark chocolate.

Ruby Port

Nose: The nose was full of chocolate, light raisins and fragrance of grapes
Palate: Extremely sweet with heavy chocolate notes and the fruitiness of grapes.
Finish: Soft and short, there isn’t much of a finish here.

Conclusion: The whisky is the winner over there. The spirit character of Glenmorangie is evident in the Quinta Ruban 12 Years Old. The level of maturation is also excellent with both the bourbon and port influence showing clearly.

Nectar D’òr 12 Years Old x Sauternes

Glenmorangie Nectar D’òr

The Nectar D’òr is a 12 Years Old whisky bottled at 46% too. The whisky matures for ten years in ex-bourbon barrels and finishes for two years in Sauternes casks.

Nectar D’òr 12 Years Old

Nose: Initial nose gave green fruits such as apples and pears. It then developed into melons, honeysuckle, vanilla and hints of white pepper. With some water, I got oranges, lemon zest and a more substantial sense of white pepper.
Palate: There was light fruitiness of melons and apples, but the white pepper were prominent. With water, the orange peels and lemon zest showed themselves alongside white pepper. The overall was spicy, but lingering sweetness hid below.
Finish: Long, oaky and tannic. Water reduced some tannins, but it remained oaky. The fruits were subtle.

Sauternes Wine

Nose: There were light raisins, Qoo white grapes juice and hints of melon and apples.
Palate: I got plenty of sweet Qoo white grapes juice and raisins. It was also tannic.
Finish: The medium finish was oaky and tannic.

Conclusion: I did not like the Nectar D’òr as much as the other two. Perhaps it might be due to the peppery spice and tannins from the Sauternes cask. As you can imagine, I did not like the Sauternes wine very much too.

Astar 2017

Astar 2017

Finally, we had the Astar, which was made using the designer American White Oak Casks that we spoke of during Brendon’s interview. The Astar is fully matured in designer first fill bourbon casks and bottled at 52.5%. It is also a non-age statement whisky.

Astar 2017

Nose: We get coconuts, vanilla, melons, honey, salted caramel, and hints of white pepper. With time, citrus lemon zest appeared alongside the other aromas.
Palate: Plenty of vanilla, lemon and honey in the palate with the higher alcohol percentage showing up as white peppers. There were also hints of coconuts. With time, the coconuts and lemon zest became more prominent.
Finish: The medium finish is full of honey, pepper and oak. With time, the finish lengthened and became sweeter.

There was no bourbon for us to pair with the Astar, as we were all quite high by then. Pairing wine and whisky is no easy feat, and we applauded The Exciseman Whisky Bar for doing so. Brendon also did a fantastic job through the guided tasting, and we learned more about the different wines as we go along.

Conclusion: I think I like the Astar 2017 best among the four. It has the complexity that my tongue was looking for, with the bourbon-matured whisky showing significant wood influence. This was my first time tasting a whisky that was fully matured in the Glenmorangie designer casks, and I must say that I am impressed.

Tasting the Glenmorangie Whiskies at The Exciseman Whisky Bar

If you are keen to try the whiskies from Glenmorangie, look no further than the Exciseman Whisky Bar. They have a wide spread of Glenmorangie to choose from at reasonable prices. We present to you a short list of what you can expect.

  1. Lasanta 12 Years Old @$15 (30ml) or @$22 (60ml)
  2. Quinta Ruban 12 Years Old @$16 (30ml) or @$24 (60ml)
  3. Nectar D’òr 12 Years Old @$18 (30ml) or @$27 (60ml)
  4. Astar 2017 @$20 (30ml) or @$30 (60ml)
  5. Signet @$32 (30ml) or @$48 (60ml)

Full bottles are also available if you are keen to bring them home or open them at the bar to share among friends.

 

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New Bar Alert: The Exciseman Whisky Bar

Photo Credits: The Exciseman Whisky Bar

There are never enough new whisky bars in Singapore, despite our perceived “smallness” in size and population. The most recent whisky bar that we have been to is none other than The Exciseman. The whisky couple behind this bar are well-known figures in Singapore’s whisky industry, and they are known to carry quality whiskies.

The couple is Lewis Mitchell and Patricia Britton, the owners of Le Vigne Wine and Spirits. After running the shop successfully for 16 years, opening a whisky bar seems to be the next step in the natural progression of things.

WhiskyGeeks headed to The Exciseman to catch Lewis for a drink and a chat about his passion for whiskies and his vision for the bar.

The Exciseman

Photo Credit: The Exciseman Whisky Bar

If you think that The Exciseman is yet another “atas”, expensive and intimating whisky bar in Singapore, think again! The interior of the bar is warm and friendly, with a cosiness to it that invites you to melt into the beautiful armchairs and take a break from life itself.

The whisky selection is vast, with a menu that is bound to grow thicker as the bar matures. The quiet atmosphere, the warm lights, and the comfortable armchairs relax us as we waited for Lewis. The friendly bartender also made us some excellent Oolong tea, with the right temperature. 🙂

Inside the bar, there is a fireplace and a 140 years old piano! We were told that patrons who know how to play the piano are welcome to give it a go, but only after they ask for permission. Customers who wish to play the piano are also kindly requested to play only soft music and to treat the piano with care. After all, it is much older than all of us!

It is a Whisky Heaven

Photo Credits: The Exciseman Whisky Bar

Most of us know that Le Vigne is the importer for various whisky brands. The most famous is the Douglas Laing (DL) selection. The bar currently stocks many of DL’s collections, including the five popular blended whiskies in cannons! There are also premium whiskies such as the Xtra Old Particular that is sold by the dram. On top of their selection, The Exciseman is also looking at other brands of whiskies that are of excellent qualities. Once Lewis satisfies his strict selection process for each whisky, you will be able to get your hands on more whisky brands at The Exciseman.

Besides the great number of whiskies you can find, I think that The Exciseman satisfies my quest for peace. The whisky bar has on low music and invites its patrons to enjoy their whiskies in peace and quiet. If you do not wish to chat, Lewis and his team will leave you to enjoy your whisky privately.

In fact, the bar even states what it is not in their menu! By doing so, Lewis hopes that he can protect the peace of the bar and allow his customers to appreciate and enjoy their whiskies.

Photo Credit: WhiskyGeeks.sg

In a way, The Exciseman is a whisky heaven and a safe haven for those who wish to get some peace and quiet. Nonetheless, Lewis still encourages his patrons to chat softly amongst themselves and to ask questions about whiskies and spirits.

Charcoal-filtered Water

If you are one of those geeks like us, you may drink some of your whiskies with a few drops of water. At The Exciseman, you do not get the regular tap or distilled water. What you get is charcoal-filtered water. A clean, crisp water that does magic to your whiskies if you so fancy it to be.

However, what I really love is the tap! Just check it out!

Photo Credit: The Exciseman Whisky Bar

You can even fill water on your own, without asking them. Just go to the bar counter and operate the tap! Of course, if you prefer to be served, the team at The Exciseman will gladly serve you.

Lewis Mitchell – The Whisky Man

We have a little chat with Lewis while we were there at the bar and this was the result of our chat – an informal interview! We understood from Lewis that opening a whisky bar is the next progression he envisioned for Le Vigne. While the bar has an additional partner, Lewis is the man who oversees and runs the operation of the bar. When I asked him why he opens a whisky bar instead of a wine bar, he answered candidly, “Because I am a whisky man!”

Indeed, Lewis has his passion for whisky for a long time. He revealed that his love for the water of life started in his early days, and the love increases as he tried different whiskies. When he met Patricia, she was just the woman he needed to carry his passion forward into actions. When Lewis and Patricia started Le Vigne Wine and Spirits, both of them are professionals in their individual roles. Patricia is a wine lover and knows her wines; Lewis, the whisky man, knows his whisky!

Lewis is a straight-forward whisky drinker – he loves all kinds of whiskies. He judges whiskies not by the distillery, the brand, nor the age of the whisky. He ranks each whisky by the nose, palate, finish and balance. A good whisky needs not to be an old whisky; a good whisky can be young. The character of the whisky is vital in Lewis’ point of view. Without character, the whisky is boring.

Don’t Judge a Whisky by its Age

Lewis encourages his customers to look beyond the age of the whiskies that he carries at the bar. It is not the age that matters, but what goes on behind the production that matters. The care of each production cycle is crucial for every whisky distillery. It includes the type of barley used, the time for fermentation, the distillation methods, the cask selections and finally, the taste profile of each whisky made. While it is true that some whiskies are better with age, it does not mean that every whisky is better when aged.

Lewis concluded with a call to everyone to try whiskies and other spirits with an open mind. When we do that, we discover new profiles, and who knows, we might just like it better than we thought!

Visit The Exciseman Whisky Bar

If all these chat about whiskies is making you thirsty, head over to The Exciseman Whisky Bar and check them out! The address is 8 Raffles Avenue, Esplanade Mall #02-27, Singapore 039802. If you go up the escalator from the mall side, make a U-turn, and walk all the way to the back to find the bar!

Remember to ask Lewis for a recommendation if you are lazy to go through his extensive menu, he is more than happy to do that for you! The Exciseman also offers beer and other spirits such as gin and grappa. Ask Lewis for your favourite drink!

 

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