Glenmorangie Tùsail

The sixth release in Glenmorangie’s revered Private Edition series

Label mock-ups for Glenmorangie’s latest Private Edition release have just appeared online and if the labels are anything to go by, Tùsail sounds like a rather interesting one.

Glenmorangie Tusail label

Unlike the five annual releases before it, Tùsail doesn’t appear to get its unique point of difference from the wood used in the maturation process. Instead, it looks like Dr Bill Lumsden and his team of boffins have had a crack at playing with the bare bones of this whisky instead, using a traditionally floor malted Maris Otter barley. Maris what? A brewers barley, developed in the late 1960’s and often used in the production of premium ales.

I personally can’t recall ever having tasted a Glenmorangie produced with traditional floor malted barley (well, not that I’m aware of anyway), so this could be interesting. As with previous Private Editions, it appears that Tùsail will again be bottled at 46% ABV and will be non chill-filtered.

No further info on price or release dates, but if previous releases are anything to go by, select northern hemisphere markets should expect to see this late December or in January 2015. Fingers crossed this makes it to Australia early next year.

Nicks Wine Merchants

Searching for whisky in Melbourne, Australia

On a recent trip to Melbourne, I finally made the short trek to a store that I’ve visited hundreds of times online – Nicks Wine Merchants.

You’ll find Nicks in Doncaster, around 19km (11 miles) east of Melbourne’s CBD in the same shop they’ve been in for over 50 years. Walk through the doors and it’s pretty hard to not get a little bit excited with this sight.

Nicks selection 1

Way better than browsing online! I’m pretty sure I stood there for a good 5 minutes with my mouth slightly agape.

Nicks selection

These photos probably show a third of what they had on their shelves – everything from Glenfiddich 12 year old to Highland Park 40 year old, Jim Beam white label to George T Stagg and hundreds of bottles in between.

They even have a really well-stocked tasting counter where they’ll happily let you try before you buy – and not just core range bottles either!

Nicks - tasting

Hang on a sec, what’s that Ardbeg lurking in the corner?

Nicks - Alligator lurking

That’s right, they even had a bottle of Ardbeg Alligator available to taste! It’s not every day someone offers you a free taste of Alligator.

Nicks - Ardbeg

I didn’t take down any tasting notes, but yes, it was a pretty nice one.  Would I pay current collector prices for a bottle though? No – as I’d want to open it and drink it and just don’t think I’d get three times the enjoyment of a lesser-priced Ardbeg… In saying that, it was pretty special drop and it would be a rather nice feeling to have one of these in your cabinet!

The staff at Nicks were genuinely knowledgeable about whisky (and all of the products they stock). We ended up talking about Glenmorangie Ealanta and The Whisky Bible phenomenon (Ealanta sat on shelves for a good six months in Australia before seemingly selling out over night following the whisky of the year announcement).

I hadn’t actually tried it, but they soon sorted that one out for me, kindly finding an open bottle out the back.

Nicks - Ealanta

Quite unlike any other Scotch whisky I’ve tried before – heavy on the bourbon notes and spice, but still unmistakably Glenmorangie. The small quantity of this that landed in Australia should have sold-out on taste alone – really quite enjoyable. Before you bombard their website – like everyone else, they’re sold out.

A big thanks to the friendly and knowledgeable staff for their time and for the good whisky banter. If you live in Melbourne – or you’re just passing through – Nicks is well worth a visit for any whisky or spirits fan.

News for Australian Glenmorangie & Ardbeg fans

Glenmorangie Companta

If you’re a Glenmorangie fan, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of their annual ‘Private Edition’ release. It all started with the highly-praised Sonnalta PX back in 2009, followed by Finealta and Artein. Then there was last year’s release, Ealanta, which was awarded whisky of the year by the author of the Whisky Bible, Jim Murray. The 2014 Private Edition release – Companta – has just gone on sale in both the UK and USA and is fast selling out by the looks of it.

From what I understand, approx. 60% of the whisky in Companta has been matured in ex-Grand Cru casks from Clos de Tart, with the remaining 40% coming from whisky that’s been matured in ex-Rasteau fortified wine casks from Cotes du Rhone.  These were then married together, producing the amazing crimson-amber hue seen in the photo below.


Source: Kevin Mackintosh for Glenmorangie

The Australian market missed out on the first few releases, but the folks at Moet-Hennessy (the Australian importers of Glenmorangie & Ardbeg) did bring Ealanta to our shores last year. Will we see Companta arrive this year?

No official confirmation from Moet-Hennessy at this stage, but I’ve heard from someone in the industry that Companta will be reaching our shores around April. Let’s hope they’re right, as I for one am really looking forward to trying it.

Ardbeg Auriverdes

This next one hasn’t been officially announced just yet, but someone did a little digging around online and managed to find these very curious front and rear labels for the new Ardbeg Auriverdes. I have a feeling we’ll be hearing a lot more about this one in the coming months!

Auriverdes frontAuriverdes rear

Along with the name (which I believe translates to ‘Gold and Green’), the wording and imagery on the label has lead many to speculate that Ardbeg’s latest has some association with the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.  Here in Australia, we’d like to think the green and gold reference has something to do with us – I somehow don’t think that’s the case though.

As with Companta, there’s no official confirmation from Moet-Hennessy just yet, but rumour has it we will see this expression in Australia around June. In time for Ardbeg Day 2014 perhaps? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to try both of these expressions!

ps. I always like to include my own photography in my posts, but until I’m able to get my hands on these gems, these stock images will just have to do! Isn’t Kevin Mackintosh’s photography magical!