Editor’s Note: This whisky was provided to us as a review sample by Glenmorangie. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.
The experimental releases continue at Glenmorangie with the latest being A Tale of Winter. Dr. Bill Lumsden, Director of Whisky Creation at Glenmorangie, set out to capture the coziness of winter after being snowed in at home. A Tale of Winter is a 13-year-old single malt finished in fortified Marsala wine casks from Sicily.
Marsala is a town on the western coast of Sicily. Marsala has a higher alcohol content ranging from 15 to 20 percent because it is fortified with brandy. It is classified by its color— gold, amber, and ruby— and ranges in sweetness from dry to very sweet. Many may think that it is just a dry wine for cooking, but like olive oil, Marsala has had an image problem due to cheap knockoffs.
So why is Glenmorangie finishing its whisky in Marsala? The flavor profile of Marsala typically contains apricot, tamarind, vanilla, brown sugar, and tobacco. Dried or stewed fruit and nuts can be found as well. The whisky is already mellowed in ex-bourbon barrels, but the Marsala on the finish provides that wintery scene Dr. Bill was searching for.
The bottle, like A Tale of Cake, is brightly colored, however, A Tale of Winter is dressed up in a knitted sweater pattern. It is not hard to miss on the self if you stumble upon it. You can’t go wrong indulging with a little experimental Glenmorangie.
Tasting Notes: Glenmorangie A Tale of Winter
Vital Stats: 46% ABV. 13-year-old Highland single malt finished in Sicilian Marsala wine casks. 750ml ~$100.
Nose: The nose opens with lemon-scented nail polish remover. Although potent, it is not harsh, rather more ethereal. Vanilla bean lingers over the dram like pudding. The nose reminds me of a holiday spiced fruit cake. Slices of orange mingle with dried apricot. Lastly, clove and allspice provide depth and warmth.
Palate: “Ooooooh,” is my expression after the first sip. The whisky is light and warm like a cozy sweater. The orange slices from the nose are bright on the palate. Demerara sugar does not over-sweeten the dram, but it helps pull out the vanilla bean. The whisky is full of spice— clove, allspice, and a stick of cinnamon. The orange and vanilla bean linger on the breath after the sip, and that is when you get a bit of oak.
Dr. Bill has hit the mark with trying to recreate a cozy winter scene. This limited edition A Tale of Winter from Glenmorangie is a hit. It may be too spicy or hot for some Glenmorangie fans. Sidenote: if you are a rum lover, or know a rum lover, this may be the whisky for you.
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Courtney Kristjana is a leading whiskey taster in the country. She left a career in Gerontology after an article on Heather Greene inspired her to follow her passion for whiskey. She is studying to become a Master of Scotch and someday hopes she is nominated for the Keepers of the...