Published: Saturday December 20, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Saturday December 20, 2014 MYT 9:39:58 AM

Glenmorangie’s Private Edition whiskies are worth a taste

Our columnist finally gets a taste of some of Glenmorangie’s lastest Private Edition bottlings.

EARLIER this year, while speaking to Glenmorangie’s Distilling and Whisky Creation Director, Dr Bill Lumsden, the topic of the limited Glenmorangie Private Editions came up, and he told me, “If you see one, GET IT.”

Since then, I’ve been longing to try some of these limited and unique bottlings that Glenmorangie have been releasing since 2010, when they first launched the Sonnalta PX, a 10-year-old American oak cask-matured whisky that was extra-matured in Spanish ex-Pedro Ximenez (PX) casks.

That was followed in 2011 by Finealta (a recreation of a recipe dating back to 1903), Artein in 2012, and 2013’s Ealanta. This year’s edition, Companta, was only recently made available in Malaysia.

Unfortunately, I never really got to taste any of these limited edition bottlings until recently, when Glenmorangie Malaysia was kind enough to set up a tasting of the last three Private Editions – the Ealanta, Artain, and Companta – for me and a few of my Star2 colleagues, conducted by Moet Hennessy Diageo brand ambassador Chong Wai Keng. And by the time we were done with the tasting, I was wishing that I had a few private bottles of Private Edition to go home to.

Glenmorangie Artein

Glenmorangie Artein

Named after the Gaelic word for “stone”, Dr Lumsden created this whisky to pay tribute to the significance of stone to Glenmorangie, having been intrigued by the influence of stone in the natural ingredients of the whisky.

The distillery’s relationship with stone begins with the Hilton of Cadboll Stone, an ancient monument that Glenmorangie has adopted as their logo, and continues with the layers of limestone that filters their Tarlogie Spring water.

To add to the rocky influence, the Artein is matured in casks that previously held “Super Tuscan” wines made with grapes grown on rocky Tuscan hillsides.

Taste-wise, the Artein quite aptly evokes a sense of earthiness, especially considering the inspiration behind the whisky.

On the nose, there were some distinct earthy, mushroom-y, truffle notes as well as the tannins from the Super Tuscan wine. With a splash of water, there was a slightly grassier aroma, and a fruitier and slightly more floral flavour. The finish was quite short though, but with a lingering earthy taste.

Glenmorangie Ealanta

Glenmorangie Ealanta

One of the more sought-after Private Editions, thanks to a certain Jim Murray, who picked the Ealanta as his 2013 Whisky Of the Year in his Whisky Bible.

The name “Ealanta” is Gaelic for ‘skilled and ingenious’, and is a testament to Dr Lumsden’s ingenuity when it comes to his experiments with wood and casks. Ealanta is a 19-year-old Glenmorangie, fully matured in virgin American white oak casks from the Mark Twain National Forest in Missouri.

This uniquely porous oak wood is air-dried for over two years, but the casks it is made into are never seasoned with any other whisky. This gives it a very sharp woody nose. On the palate, however, it is rich, creamy, and has a wonderful vanilla note that ends with a short but distinct citrus orange finish.

Glenmorangie Companta

Glenmorangie Companta

The most recent Glenmorangie Private Edition bottling, the Companta is a blend of spirits extra-matured in Grand Cru wine casks from Clos de Tart, as well as those that held a sweet fortified wine from Côtes du Rhône.

With a name that is Gaelic for “friendship”, bottling is a tribute to Dr Lumsden’s longstanding love for French vineyards, and inspired by his travels across France’s greatest vineyards, and the friends he made along the way.

Somehow, for me, it just did not have the wow factor that the previous two whiskies had. Personally, I thought it was the sweetest of three Private Editions we tried, probably due to the fortified wine influence, though the white wine influence certainly does stands out remarkably here, especially in the very grapelike finish. I liked it more with a splash of water, as it gave the Companta a slightly more balanced palate, and a much mellower wine-like finish.

> Michael Cheang once took a test that compared the names of Glenmorangie whiskies to Hyundai cars. He got Companta wrong. Drop him a note at the Tipsy-Turvy Facebook page (

Tags / Keywords: Lifestyle, Opinion, Tipsy Turvy, Glenmorangie, whisky, Bill Lumsden

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