House of Casks features three different 12-year-old single malts from three distilling regions in Scotland, the Highlands, Speyside and Lowlands. The result is three very unique whiskies.
The 12-year-old is becoming the predominant “base” malt - the starter. The 10-year-old has frequently proven to be rougher, is cheaper and is often the “go to” malt for those wondering what the “fuss is all about.” If you happen to try Laphroaig or Talisker “unaware” as your first taster then let’s face it, you probably won’t try single malt again.
“Three distinct regions, three distinct casks”
The ‘House of Casks’ malts includes the Glenmorangie Lasanta a Highland malt, the Glenkinchie 12-year-old a Lowland malt and the Balvenie 12-year-old Triple cask a Speyside malt. The three malts are as distinct as their regions, however, Glenmorangie Lasanta hails as the ‘Hero’ whisky malt of the month, and certainly brings the ‘House’ down in terms of its exquisite flavour and deep rich colour.
Glenmorangie Lasanta 12-year-old
“Warmth and Passion”
Glenmorangie Lasanta is this month’s Hero malt. Liquid gold in a glass. If it had a cape it would be imbued with passion. ‘Lasanta’ is Gaelic for warmth and passion. Luxurious, elegant and with an unmistakable enticing sweet aroma, Lasanta is a warm embracing hug whenever you need one.
Award-winning, Lasanta won the ‘Best Highland Single Malt’ for 2017 at the World Whisky Awards. A whisky to celebrate any occasion, even walking the dog, Lasanta covers it all.
Having loaned its oak casks to Jack Daniels for four years, Lasanta spends ten years maturing in those white oak casks. The magic happens in the final two years where the whisky is extra-matured in Oloroso and PX Sherry casks from Jerez in Spain. There is no peat or smoke to be found.
“Water is the key”
Glenmorangie starts with its water, picking up flavours from the clover and heather in the hills. The result is an incredibly luxurious and succulent whisky, hugely rich and creamy with dark chocolate, dried fruit and fresh honey. Lasanta is a must try for anyone from those starting out to the whisky aficionado. Oh, and did I say there is no smoky peat?
Deep and molten gold in colour, Lasanta is exotically elegant through the influence of the sherry. The nose is aromatic dried fruits, especially oranges and sultanas mixed with caramel. Smooth milk chocolate with a tinge of wood spices and a finish of warm nutmeg. The initial taste is warm and rich, but slightly spicy.
Raisins, raspberry jam with caramel toffee and a touch of oak create this warm and sweet character, followed by walnuts and butterscotch. The finish is silky in texture with a long finish. Let Lasanta be your next passion in a glass.
If you are looking for a ‘wee dram’ to reawaken your mind then Glenkinchie’s light sweet floral yet spicy, oaky, the flavour is far from overpowering. This is an easy and very palatable malt and its simplicity is its strength.
“Largest still influences flavour”
One of only three distilleries still producing single malt in the Lowlands of Scotland, Glenkinchie is located just 15 miles south of Edinburgh and has just two operating stills, one of which is still the largest in Scotland. The large copper stills’ help to remove the overly fruity flavour when it is in the cask.
“No more 10-year-old”
There is no 10-year-old and the 12-year-old is the flagship malt. If the first ‘sip’ doesn’t settle those fraught nerves, Glenkinchie is light enough that a second one is quick to follow.
“Just a splash of water”
Glenkinchie is a graceful golden colour with a light and fruity nose. There are hints of malted barley, fresh cut grass, lemon meringue pie and cocoa, with just a smidge of peat. On the tongue, the fruity nose gives way to spice, ginger root, and a slight sootiness. Malted barley, oak, lemon and pepper follow but the high alcohol content (43%) comes through at the end with a slight “burn”. To finish a dry, semi-sweet dessert wine with lemon and a slightly bitter graininess. This malt does well with a dash of water to lengthen the finish.
Balvenie 12-year-old Triple Cask
The Balvenie Triple Cask 12-year-old sparkles of glitter and relaxation. Smooth, yet sophisticated, Balvenie is one for watching the sunset on a sandy beach.
Balvenie is located in Dufftown, yes, the same location as Glenfiddich, which makes the challenge between the two distilleries an interesting story. Triple Cask is a departure from Balvenie’s popular Double Wood and meets its brother head on. The term ‘triple cask’ refers to the use of three casks, but how does that work?
“Triple Cask, International flavour”
Balvenie is matured for 12 years in the three traditional types of cask – first-fill American Oak, refill American Bourbon and Oloroso Sherry casks.
“Marriage in a tun”
It is then “married” (mixed together) in a large wooden vessel known as a marrying tun, where it matures for another 6 months. The result is a stunning blend of flavours, nose and colour that mixes, vanilla and orchard fruit with cinnamon spice, custard creams and oak. No water required.
“Tea and custard creams”
Balvenie is golden with shards of amber. It has an elegant, aromatic, nose with layers of honeycomb and spice, exotic dried fruits, and vanilla with cinnamon and hints of raisins. First taste and the palate follows on from the nose. Definitely fruity with sweet oranges, green apples, apricot, and depth with oak, cinnamon, layers of green tea and mint. Right at the end, tea and custard creams. The finish is warm and to savour with sponge toffee, slight oak and burnt marshmallow for sweetness.
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