Glenmorangie ‘Artein’ 15 Year Old Highland Single Malt Scotch
Single Malt Scotch and Super Tuscan Collide!
The Glenmorangie Distillery Company is a pioneer when it comes to cask finishing, and rightly so. They have been using this technique of double cask maturation with much success long before anyone else really thought of it.
It all began in the 1990’s when the company first started experimenting with different casks ranging from Bordeaux, Madeira, Malaga, Cognac, Port etc. The term double cask maturation, finishing or ACEing (Additional Cask Enhancement) refers to the placement of a whisky into a second barrel to further develop the flavor and taste profile of the whisky but without losing the distillery character of the original whisky.
At the time, many of these types of cask were passed over in favor of the much cheaper bourbon barrels which had become much easier to procure due to the upswing in bourbon sales in the US. As you may know a bourbon barrel can be used only once, before they are sent across the pond to the crafty Scots and Irish to be used again and again!
So the researchers at Glenmorangie took whiskies which were similar in style to the original 10 year old and then placed the whisky in the various finishing casks. The period of time that the whisky rested in these casks varied from between 6 months to several years. In 1995 the distillery released a Port, Madeira and Sherry finished malt to much critical acclaim, and they have never looked back!
Twenty years later, the distillery under the direction of Dr Bill Lumsden released ‘Artein’ a whisky which is part of their limited release ‘Private Collection’ series. Artein was born out of terroir and the relationship between the character of the whisky and the character of the finishing cask, in this case a Super Tuscan from Italy. Two sets of bourbon cask whisky, a 15 year old and a 21 year old were married together before being filled into Sassicaia red wine casks. Sassicaia is considered one of Italy’s leading Bordeaux-style red wines. After a second period of maturation the resulting liquid is bottled.
The whisky has a most interesting dark raspberry color. The palate is rich yet extremely smooth with red berry fruit, honeysuckle and white chocolate complemented by a soft sweetness. If you need a great example of a double matured/finished/ACE’ed whisky then this is the one.