[Editor’s note: In the tasting notes that follow, we review this whisky as it comes, despite the fact that it’s designed for mixing into cocktails. Afterwards, we get a few words from John on the cocktail included with the sample we received. We don’t review cocktails, but we stretched a bit to give you dear readers a little something on that front.]
The Glenmorangie Ten? The Glenmorangie X Factor? The Glenmorangie Chi? The Glenmorangie Kiss? The Glenmoranie Times? I reject all of these in favor of the Glenmorangie Unknown Variable. Let’s solve this equation, shall we?
The nose of the Glenmorangie X (a.k.a. The X by Glenmorangie) is redolent with virgin oak, all the better to stand up in cocktails. It’s round and creamy, peach-y and cherry-y, orange-y and apricot-y: All ripe, luscious, and inviting. Hiding beneath the fruit, a kid’s pet turtle slowly escaping the terrarium, making its way across the oak floorboards to a life on the run. Like Wordsworth’s poetic Soul, trailing clouds of glory, the turtle trails clouds of mank, algae, and standing water. Somehow, though, it all works together in such a way that a bright future awaits the runaway.
The mouth brings even more cream and fruit: Rather than mixing this up, we wondered whether it would be best served as a session whisky. Take a bottle along as you spectate at a crucial mountain climb for the Tour de France, a stage that will likely determine the year’s winner. There’s body and heft; I wonder if “thicc” or “chonky” would well describe the orotundity of the voice emanating from the mouth.
The finish is a light and lovely ride, a kitten encountering snow for the first time, skittishly putting its paws down and prancing them up and out as it processes all the new sensations in the world. There is–maybe the escaped turtle?–a sense, though, of a blunted menace, fists wrapped in shrouds, a belligerent driver rolling down their window, yelling at you after you’ve parked that they saw the spot before you did. (WTF? you think. How is this a turtle?) Somehow, this frisson of danger, of being inserted into the world, the dangerous world, red in tooth and claw, plays very well with all the lovely notes of the Glenmorangie X. The equation is balanced: Good + Evil = Humanity.
On the scale of infinite regressions–
The Glenmorangie X is Turtles All the Way Down–If the earth rests upon a turtle, what does that turtle stand on? Another turtle! And what does that turtle stand on? It’s turtles all the way down. After a drink of the Glenmorangie X, what should you have? Another Glenmorangie X! And after that? It’s Glenmorangie X’s all the way down.
On the cocktail, “The X Grapefruit”–A cocktail made of vodka and grapefruit juice is “a greyhound,” and I imagine that there are times and places for one. But this? This is a dog that moves to the sound of its own starting whistle, runs for its own pleasure, and chases nothing but its own desire. The X Grapefruit–blending Glenmorangie X, Grapefruit juice, maple syrup, and club soda–reminds me a little of a penicillin, but that’s just because it’s the only other scotch whisky cocktail I’ve tried. Let’s say this has more of a tetracycline vibe. We were curious to see how the eminently drinkable, indubitably sessionable Glenmo X would get along with its tangy, sweet, and fizzy friends, and, to borrow a phrase from Life cereal, we like it. I’m ready for another and another after that.
–Our thanks to Glenmorangie for the sample and the cocktail sample!