Friday 29 January 2021

Tasting Glenmorangie's little-discussed "Truffle Oak Reserve" 26yo [Tasted #510]

Back in 2019 Glenmorangie quietly released "Truffle Oak Reserve", a 1000 bottle release of 1993 Glenmorangie, matured for 26 years (16 of which were in "Truffle Oak").

("Truffle Oak" you might rightly ask? In a nutshell, a porous oak sourced from Germany's Black Forest.)

Interestingly, this wasn't the first release of this liquid, with the distillery first releasing a 12yo (with a 2 year Truffle Oak finish) in 2005, limited to 886 bottles. The remainder of the 4 original casks was set aside, matured for an extra 14 years, and the result is what you see here.

Little has been written about this bottle, and I might know why. It seems the marketing is focusing on private clients and high-end events, rather than press release saturation and seeding samples out to bloggers and other media. Understandable, given the limited release and significant price tag. Thanks to good friend of this site Eddie Nara, I was able to attend one of those events (held in the Tatler Suite at Hong Kong's Upper House, no less) and try the whisky.

It's a shame most won't get to try this, as it's an absolutely stunning Glenmo - possibly one of the best I've had (definitely up there with the earliest Signets, which I adore, and the 1963). You can find my full tasting notes below, but it's a hugely complex dram with the Truffle Oak clearly having a significant influence (as you'd expect after 16 years of "finishing").

With exclusivity and quality though, comes cost, with Truffle Oak tipping the scales at $21,500HKD (or over $3,500AUD). Compared to the 1991 grand vintage (also 26yo) at $5,795HKD, it's not a cheap dram...but it is an incredible one. Only 12 bottles came to Hong Kong, and given I tried this a few months ago now, they may well all be sold.

Glenmorangie "Truffle Oak Reserve" (55.7% ABV, 26yo, Highlands, Scotland, $21,500HKD)
Colour: Vibrant orange gold.

Nose: Initial hit of spiced oak, then an earthy nuttiness comes to the fore. More damp earth eventually involving into intriguing, mossy, mushroom notes. There's vanilla, but for me it's more of a rich, intense vanilla essense note.

Palate: Spicy at first, but rich and juicy at the same time. There's still some of that musty damp earth (in a good way, trust me) and huge mouthfeel thanks to the 55.7%, but it's never harsh. With a bit of time, peach and raspberry notes begin to emerge and complement the earthy notes.

Finish: Hugely long, with red berries, peach and some melon notes.

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 94/100. This...this is very good.