First, a word about the label. It’s somehow both soft and bold. It seems to take design elements from Gustav Klimt and David Hockney, and yet fuses them into something distinctive. The result is like a third thing that is inextricably derived from, but never reducible to its source material. [Bill: Are you talking about the nose?]. No, Bill, I’m talking about the lab—
–wait a minute, I am talking about the nose!
It smells so Glenmo right out of the bottle. [John, looking at the bottle: “Do you mind if I call you, ‘Glenmo?'”] Well, it’s the most luscious leap into a distillate-forward spirit I can remember. How gentle the Tokaji casks were! Fruity, sweet, and with Modigliani’s brush sweeps. We smell the fruit section of a breakfast buffet that has been allowed to ferment a little. There’s banana, kiwi, tangerine, and clementine. There’s also melon and squishy apricot. Returning to it later we get bright lemons sniffed by arctic stoats in formal attire.
The mouth provides even more fruit, and a clearer bead on what we were nosing. A musty muslin wedding dress stored in a sun-splashed attic. It’s that big and bright. We get branch-fermented cherries pressed into service for a delicious gastronomic Slurpee. There is something bitter on the back end. I think of it as a hit of slatey chalkiness found in a big, sweet, slurpable lassi.
Dr. Bill’s crackerjack marketing team must have had fun with this one. I imagine he said “see what story you can tell with this one. I think it goes well with cake.” Well, he’s not wrong about that. But it makes me think that we need a new series, so that he can produce more editions in the “tale” series. Why not a maritime version: “A Tale of Hake”? Then one for the seismology community: “A Tale of Quake.” Or a splashy co-branding for Canadian hip hop fans: “A Tale of Drake.”
The finish is as long as my riffing on names for this new series of whiskies. That is, until the long, joy-killing hand of the editor grabbed my pen by its lapels and shook it. [Stephen: “You’re welcome.”]. Yes, it’s a long finish on the back half of the tongue, full of memories about the beautiful, rich mouthfeel. Nectary. That’s the word that comes to mind. Like peach brine from a ceramic-lined can. I think this could declare itself king of my food pyramid, and I would not object. It gets stronger and richer the longer you drink it.
On the scale of 20th Century painters–
The Glenmorangie Tale of Cake is Wayne Thiebaud–Right now, all of our readers, even the Saint Petersburg bots, are conjuring in their neural networks an image of the many different desserts that sit in pastel repose on platters and cake stands. This whisky has the very same bearing of a timeless icon, but with the freshness of something new, light, and inviting. Mmmmm…..
–Our thanks to Glenmorangie and Tori Katz of Wagstaff for the sample!