I’m starting to think that Glenmorangie can do no wrong. I have always really, really enjoyed their expressions. But it was the Tayne that prompted me to pose the toughest “desert island”-style question I have ever imagined: “If all whisky distilleries were destroyed but one, which would you save?” Well, Glenmo, you’d better tighten your necktie and slick down your hair, because we’ve got you on the shortlist. You have to make excellent whisky (check!), but also offer a broad range that could sustain our interest as the only whisky remaining in Scotland (check!). Now, where’s some wood I can knock so that this maltpocalypse never, ever occurs?
The Tayne is the latest in a series of special releases, only this one is for travel retail. The Companta and Astar remain my favorites, but the Tayne is making its case to join them on the podium. Banana flambé, orca musk, the Cask of Amontillado, and a pair of old pliers kept in a woman’s shoebox. There are gorgeous cherry blossom notes, as if it were a garland for a spice cookie with raisins for eyes and a rakish, dried apricot smile.
The mouth begins with candied wheat grain lashing my tongue. We’re off to the races! The delights here are so infectious that it makes me delicious. “I am become delicious!” I roar from the top of a wobbly table in the shopping mall food court. As the security members approach hesitantly, I find shiitake soufflé with Hollandaise sauce poured all over it. Then there’s white pepper, cinnamon, a baby sage leaves wilted by a magnifying glass held out on a sunny day.
The finish is a sweet tangy dancing. “Piquant. Pecans.” I repeat to myself until I find my resting heart rate slow. But what we really need to talk about is the finish of the finish, that is to say, the smell of the empty glass before my tears begin to drip into it. It’s all orangey and burlwoodish. I am certain that, blindfolded, you could not distinguish it from the tubular case holding the rolled-up bachelor’s degree of an owl.
–Our thanks to Glenmorangie for the sample!