We had the pleasure of celebrating the global launch of the Glenmorangie Bacalta at a well crafted, beautiful lunch and tasting at the Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai. Inspired by long sunny days on the island of Madeira, ‘Bacalta’ translates to ‘baked’ in Scottish Gaelic. It is the 8th release of The Glenmorangie Private Edition, an award winning range that provides an annual opportunity for whiskey connoisseurs and aficionados to experience rare and intriguing single malts. Some of the previous releases include Glenmorangie Finealta; Glenmorangie Ealanta and the Glenmorangie Milsean among others.
The lunch was a grand but very intimate affair, cured hamachi fillets paired with Glenmorangie The Original and 36 hours sous-vide lamb paired with Glenmorangie The Lasanta. The Original surrounds you with mandarin, lemon and peach ripening in the sun with the scent of vanilla ice cream and wild mint. Like the most delicious dessert menu imaginable, The Lasanta teases the senses with chocolate covered raisins, honeycomb and smooth caramel toffee. Just before dessert was served we moved to a more serious set up for a virtual tasting with Dr. Bill Lumsden, Director of Distilling & Whiskey creation. The thought of four countries coming together on a virtual chat platform to unravel the Bacalta and compare the trio of single malts was intriguing. With an audience from Australia, Hong Kong and India, Dr Lumsden joined us from Scotland.
Dr. Lumsden oversees the creation of Glenmorangie single malt whiskey that originates in the Highlands of Scotland. He is regarded as a pioneer of innovation in the malt whiskey industry and travels the world searching for the best oak casks that will complement Glenmorangie’s whiskies and impart unique characteristics all on their own.
As we moved from The Original to The Lasanta to Bacalta the tasting got more powerful and concentrated. Glenmorangie has been long renowned for its expertise in cask management. That’s their top priority. In 1987, the Distillery pioneered a process called extra-maturation, now widely used in the industry. Extra-matured whiskey is first matured in ex-bourbon casks, and then transferred into ex-wine casks where it spends more time building layers of flavour.
In the case of Glenmorangie Bacalta, every step of this extra-maturation was special. The casks were created particularly for extra maturation; they were heavily toasted to ensure the finest flavours would emerge. They were filled with specifically sourced Malmsey Madeira on the island and baked by the heat of the sun for two years! The casks were then emptied and transported to Scotland and filled with specially selected Glenmorangie whiskey, already matured in ex-bourbon barrels, to create the glorious Glenmorangie Bacalta.
This whiskey is connoisseurs’ delight, fragrant honey, ripe apricots and sweet white chocolate aromas with the taste of mint toffee with baked fruits, marzipan, caramelized oranges and dates. The finish is rich and syrupy with more caramelized citrus and creamy fudge.
Dr Bill’s easy words to end the tasting describe the Bacalta immaculately ‘For years I had longed to create the best Madeira-finished whiskey possible. Glenmorangie Bacalta is a burst of sunshine in a glass’.