Glenmorangie is a whisky distillery located near Tain, in the Ross-shire region of Scotland (Northern Highlands). It was founded in 1843 by William Matheson, who bought a license to produce whisky and installed two second-hand gin stills at the Morangie farm. The distillery was named after the farm and the name Glenmorangie was registered as a trademark. It is famous for its tall neck stills, the tallest in Scotland. The distillery loves to experiment with their whisky and by the past they’ve played around with yeast, malt and wood, and even built an experimental distillery last year to experiment even more. The Glenmorangie Distillery has become one of the top five most popular Scotch whisky distilleries in the world. Glenmorangie Signet, even though being part of the core range, is still linked to those experiments as we are going to see.
Glenmorangie Signet Review
The Glenmorangie Signet, a non-age statement single malt, is said to be composed of 80% of 30+ years old whiskies from Glenmorangie and 20% of about 10-year-old whisky, this part using ‘chocolate malt’. Chocolate malt is a type of malted barley that is roasted at high temperatures to produce a dark, chocolatey flavour and aroma. It is commonly used in brewing beer, particularly in darker styles such as porters and stouts. But the ‘chocolate’ name comes from the colour the barley gets from the roasting and not the flavours they may impart. Signet was at the time it first appeared the only Scotch whisky to use chocolate barley, but since then Fettercairn has used that for instance, and even Johnnie Walker for their espresso blend. Signet is matured in American white oak and finished in Oloroso sherry casks before being bottled at 46%, without chill filtering nor colouring. Expect to pay about €200 in Europe (with Germany and the Netherlands being cheaper than France as usual) or from £180 for a bottle in the UK.
Neat: The nose starts with a blend of sweet and spicy aromas. You’ll notice the scent of oranges and a very sweet fruit salad with hints of peach, plum, raisins, and pineapple. The nose also has a distinct aroma of milk chocolate, which may even be white chocolate. A pinch of spices adds a subtle kick to the nose, followed by the scent of malt.
Neat: Signet has a nice syrupy and oily mouthfeel. The palate starts with the taste of orange peel and a pinch of pepper. I also notice the taste of a few drops of grapefruit juice, followed by the flavours of dark chocolate and raw cocoa. The palate also has a distinct taste of liquorice root and a bag of nuts of all sorts, including hazelnut, almond, and walnut. Finally, I detect what may be the slightest hint of wood.
The taste of orange peel and spices lingers, along with the taste of nuts. The finish definitely has a moreish vibe.
Initially, the aroma of the Glenmorangie Signet exudes a notable sweetness, prompting concerns about an overly sweet palate. However, upon tasting, the palate proves pleasantly surprising, far from excessively sweet. Instead, it offers a delightful, soft, and rounded bitterness, accompanied by a touch of freshness. This combination creates an enticing allure, prompting a dangerous urge for another sip. Overall, an excellent whisky.
Thanks Jamie! Bottle photo courtesy of Whiskybase.