Like clockwork each year, single malt fans can look forward to seeing the what new experiment Dr. Bill Lumsden and team present as the latest bottling in the Glenmorangie Private Edition series. The range has taken many interesting twists and turns over the past 11 years. From various wine cask finishes to the use of new oak to fermentation with wild yeast, Glenmorangie certainly isn’t afraid to try something new year over year. As is the case with experimental releases (sister company Ardbeg does something similar each year), no two expressions are ever the same. That unpredictable variation in flavor means that each release may not always resonate equally with fans depending on their taste preferences.
Over the years, I have found most Glenmorangie Private Edition releases to be good with some of them being quite terrific. In the case of 2020’s A Tale of Cake, however, the whisky didn’t quite do it for me. On the surface, it seemed like it was a cool concept. Classic ex-bourbon cask Glenmorangie is then finished in Hungarian Tokaji dessert wine casks. I love the intense honeyed sweetness of brands like The Balvenie and I happen to really enjoy Glenmorangie’s Nectar D’or which is finished in Sauternes casks. You could imagine how surprised I was to find that I didn’t hold A Tale of Cake in a similar high regard. As is always the case with these reviews, I tried this whisky over the course of multiple nights to confirm my notes and make sure I didn’t try this on an off night for my palate.
Glenmorangie A Tale of Cake is non-aged stated and as is the standard for the series, the whisky is bottled at 46% ABV.
|Ripe peaches, sweet white wine, clove, honey, lemon zest, a bit of vanilla. I get the vibe they were going for but the sweetness smells artificial to me. With water, some banana emerges.
|Mixed fruit in syrup, lots of sugary sweetness up front, grapefruit and more lemon, almond, some pears and cinnamon emerge after a bit.
|The finish drops off quickly with hints of tropical fruit, vanilla, a bit of oak, maybe a touch of chocolate and some baking spice.
|There was plenty of sweetness and citrus in this whisky but I kept waiting for a balancing pastry, bready, or grainy note that never really materialized. The finish was pretty short and disappointing and the sweetness was strange to me. I have to imagine the Tokaji casks are the cause of this unusual profile. I followed this up with a few sips of Nectar D’or as a control pour and much preferred that profile. I guess this release just wasn’t for me. As always, your results certainly may vary.