Although it isn’t technically a blend because it is comprised of single malts from the same distillery, the Glenmorangie Signet has nevertheless caused me to consider and to perhaps appreciate what a true blended whisky can be.
Last year I found that my cabinet held several bottles that were nearing empty. Rather than enjoying each as an individual, I thought I’d study each and attempt to make my own blend. In the end, I think I combined six or seven various editions. I tasted each concoction along the way to make sure I was on the right track. After adding one last bit from a well-known edition, I brought my chemistry experiment to a conclusion. I swirled the new concoction within the bottle, excited that I’d created something special. When I poured the new blend into my glass, I discovered that I had officially bottled my own blend of crap. The last single malt, although wonderful by itself, when added to my blend, it ruined the whole thing.
Even though I have clearly expressed on this blog that I am a single-malt guy, I do tip my hat to the distillery masters who create and oversee the making of blends, especially those involved in the creation process of this particular edition. Persistence and precision must be co-equals in the challenge. Allow me to provide visuals with the help of my children.
Persistence is essential because the process toward success or failure is always a long one. You must have a viciously determined eye on the prize.
As the process wears on, one can grow loopy with exhaustion, becoming ready to give up and pursue another road.
In the midst of tiring persistence comes the great need of precision. Precision is essential because one false move along the way and off the cliff you’ll go.
You’ll weep over a ruined batch. You’ll scratch your head and wonder what went wrong.
But as the bold and unrelenting go forth, the day of rejoicing is sure to emerge from within the ranks of the whisky creators.
Behold, the prize is claimed in the discovery of a new and more perfect blend made from all of the right portions.
The Glenmorangie Signet is a wonderful exhibition of both persistence and precision. The complimentary booklet that accompanies this edition reveals that a portion of this whisky is made with what is called “chocolate coffee malt,” which essentially is high roasted barley typically used to make stout beer. This particular single malt is then “married with some of Glenmorangie’s rarest whiskies,” and as I have learned from sources close to the distillery, these other whiskies are no less than 30 years old. All of these together have delivered a wonderful Glenmorangie expression worthy of high praise, laud, and great honor — even from a single malt enthusiast.
At the first pour and swirl within a clean dram, you’ll notice the thick potion clinging heavily to the glass, almost like you just poured yourself a glass of thinned maple syrup. I found this to be delightful and wonderfully inviting.
The nose reveals the trademark Glenmorangie fruitiness with hints of coffee and malt. When you add a little water, the aroma opens up to a rich floral arrangement, perhaps lilacs.
The palate is everything the nose promised — delightfully rich and yet not overly indulgent with sweets. After a few sips, I could easily swear before a jury of peers to having tasted rum and chocolate.
The finish isn’t as complex as the nose and finish. It wanes with gentle care, funneling all of the aforementioned delights into a long delivery of the trademark citrus that Glenmorangie keeps locked within its divine core.
The Glenmorangie Signet isn’t necessarily inexpensive, but I would urge my fellow whisky lovers to consider putting down that lesser bottle and pocketing the money for a later exchange. In fact, you’ll need to do that three or four times to afford this bottle. Trust me, it will be worth it. In fact, consider this action as one that requires persistence and precision, but is most assuredly rewarded with the opportunity for joyful rejoicing once the Signet blend is in your hands and glass.