Glen Moray Madeira Cask Project
Philip Day recently tasted Glen Moray Madeira Cask Project. In this article, he reviews this interesting whisky from Speyside and shares his thoughts. Moreover, with Father’s Day just around the corner, this could prove the ideal gift.
If you have been thinking long and hard about getting that special something for your Father as a Father’s Day present that is acceptable but is definitely not run-of-the-mill – something that shows that although you have tried to keep in contact via mobile phone or video chats during these past few difficult months, you feel the need to show how much you care and appreciate all he has done for you over the years- then have I got an excellent suggestion for you.
Glen Moray Distillery, based in Elgin in the heart of Speyside, Scotland’s whisky capital and home to several of the most highly-regarded Speyside single malts, announced on the first of June the latest addition to its Curiosity Range of experimental limited edition: the Glen Moray Madeira Cask Project, a small batch single malt whisky expression exclusive to the UK.
This single malt Scotch whisky expression has been fully matured in old sweet Madeira hogsheads for 13 years and 10 months, to create a rich and indulgent combination of Glen Moray’s traditionally classic Speyside style of whisky with the sweet fruit and toffee-like flavours of Madeira wine.
Madeira is made exclusively on the subtropical Portuguese island from which it gets its name. It is renowned for its nutty sweetness which is balanced by a fresh, tangy acidity. It is these rich notes that permeate through this new Glen Moray expression to create its distinctive flavour.
Only seven ex-Madeira hogshead casks were filled with Glen Moray spirit and laid down and stored in ‘Warehouse 1’ which has been the home of many of the Elgin-based distillery’s maturation experiments over the years.
1468 bottles have now been released to the UK market as the third expression in the ‘Elgin Curiosity Range’, which aims to push the boundaries of single malt maturation and celebrate Glen Moray’s long-standing passion for cask experimentation and flavour.
The decision to release the expression was taken by the new Head of Whisky Creation, Dr Kirstie McCallum, who spent time sampling some of the warehouse casks and realised that a ‘hidden treasure’ had been discovered in its midst. The decision to release it now rather than wait until it was 14 or 15 years old was that she considered it to have achieved its optimum characteristics and delaying could mean that the Madeira notes would go on to overpower the whisky and spoil the well-rounded nature of the expression she was looking for.
Dr McCallum explained: ‘Single malt whisky matured in Madeira casks has been prized in the industry before, but typically the casks have only been used to ‘finish’ more conventionally matured whisky. That’s what makes this expression so very special. Our new make spirit has been slowly mingling with the luxuriously sweet flavours of Madeira for nearly 14 years, giving a depth of flavour and an intense character that couldn’t otherwise be created. It’s a delicious dram, a dessert in a glass, and we are very much looking forward to sharing it with whisky drinkers in the UK.’
Glen Moray Madeira Cask Project
(Elgin Curiosity Collection: 2006 Madeira Matured)
- Cask Type: 13 years and 10 months matured exclusively in Madeira hogshead.
Tasting Notes (Supplied by Glen Moray):
- Colour: Amber (natural colour)
- Nose: Toffee, dark chocolate, fig and dates balanced with sweet pears, creamy berries and subtle exotic spices.
- Taste: Sweet syrup with deep notes of toffee, chocolate, black coffee and figs, developing to sweet oak, poached pears and soft fruit.
- Finish: Rich lingering and sweet with gentle exotic spices and dried fruit.
Personal tasting notes (Official sample kindly provided by Glen Moray through Burt Greener Communications)
- Nose: Engagingly sweet notes of toffee and good quality dark chocolate. Fruity aromas with an initial evocative combination of freshly baked custard and spice-infused poached pears or mouth-watering pear drops.
- Taste: A stylish, creamy mouth feel. After an initial wave of vanilla fudge mixed with mocha coffee. The influence of the Madeira oak barrels is there throughout but does not overpower the whisky spirit. The creaminess and the poached pear notes develop to create an overall well-rounded layered dram.
- Finish: Lengthy lingering, creamy caramel with enduring notes of a rich fruitcake and warming enticing spices.
The very fact that allowing the whisky to mature in the Madeira barrels has given the spirit time to interact, instilling it with greater depth and character. In short, the maturation period has created a creamy, very accessible, classic dram, suitable for someone who wants to try something more exotic than supermarket whiskies on their journey of whisky discovery but is afraid of paying over the odds. This whisky expression is well priced and easily compares to other high-end expressions for which you would pay considerably more.
ABV: 46.3% non-chill-filtered/ 70 cl
The expression is exclusive to the UK market and is available from good specialist whisky retailers (such as ‘Masters of Malt’, ‘The Whisky Shop’, ‘The Whisky Exchange’ and others).
Glen Moray is one of Scotland’s best-loved single malt whiskies. Located on what was once the Elgin West Brewery site on the banks of the River Lossie. in the heart of Speyside, Scotland’s whisky capital, the Glen Moray distillery has been producing fine single malt since 1897.
Pure waters from the river, locally malted barley, distillation in traditional copper stills and maturation in American ex-bourbon casks combine to give the whisky its smooth, well-balanced, classic Speyside character.
Glen Moray has always been a place where curiosity about flavour and cask maturation has been encouraged. Records dating back to its early days show new make spirit maturing in a wide variety of different casks – considered a highly unusual practice at that time. A passion for experimentation and a deep knowledge of wood have been passed down through generations of Glen Moray distillers.
The result is today’s exceptional and extensive range of whiskies, offering a flavour and style to suit all tastes. Glen Moray is the 5th biggest malt whisky brand by volume in the UK and is growing in international markets.
For most of its working history since 1924 it was owned by Macdonald & Muir (which changed its name to the Glenmorangie Company Ltd. in 1996). In 2004, the French luxury goods group Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH) bought Glenmorangie. In 2008, LVMH sold off the Glen Moray distillery to La Martiniquaise. It is currently managed by its Bardinet spirits group subsidiary.
Founded by Jean Cayard in 1934, La Martiniquaise is an independent French spirits group with a large portfolio of international brands. Headquartered near Paris, the group operates in over 100 countries with 38 subsidiaries and production sites. The Group’s four pillars are Scotch whiskies, ports, brandies, wines, rums and craft spirits from France. For additional information see: www.la-martiniquaise.com
Over the years, the Glen Moray Distillery has built an exceptional portfolio of Speyside Single Malts. It currently offers a wide variety of select malts under the following portfolios:
The Elgin Classic Collection:
- Classic Single Malt
- Glen Moray Classic Sherry Cask Finish
- Glen Moray Classic Peated Single Malt Whisky
- Glen Moray Classic Port Cask Finish
- Classic Chardonnay Cask Finish
- Classic Cabernet Cask Finish
The Elgin Heritage Collection:
- Glen Moray Fired Oak 10-year-old Single Malt Whisky
- Glen Moray 12-year-old Single Malt Whisky
- Glen Moray 15-year-old Single Malt Whisky
- Glen Moray 18-year-old Single Malt Whisky
The Elgin Reserve Collection:
- Edinburgh Rugby Private Edition
The Elgin Prestige Collection:
- Glen Moray Mastery
Glen Moray has earned many awards over the years: its Glen Moray 1994 Sherry Cask Finish was awarded ‘Best Scotch Speyside Single Cask Single Malt Category Winner of 21 [years] & over’ in the World Whiskies Awards 2018.
The latest being for Glen Moray Fired Oak 10-Year-Old Single Malt Whisky, launched in the UK at the end of 2018, winning the Speyside 12 Year Old and Under category in the World Whiskies Awards 2019.
Further information on these expressions as well as details of tours of the distillery are available on the Distillery website.
Glen Moray Distillery
+44 (0)1343 550 900
In short, this dram should provide a unique experience, as its delicious taste and more-ish nature is certainly well worth acquiring.
Press release care of Burt Greener Communications
Zoom media virtual testing/Q&A with Dr Kirstie McCallum (Head of Whisky Creation at Glen Moray) 03/06/2020 3-3.30pm
Images: Kindly provided with thanks by Burt Greener Communications