Highland distillery Glenmorangie will release its latest expression in the U.S. in January 2011: Finealta. Finealta finds Glenmorangie, as many Scots distilleries are doing, experimenting with peat more and more, opening up new avenues for their malts beyond special wood finishes, which have dominated for a decade.
Finealta is certainly a change of pace for Glenmorangie, and overall it’s a lovely and lively blend of peat notes and character from the oloroso sherry casks in which it was finished. The smoke is playful at first, and it lingers throughout the body. That sherried sweetness comes to the forefront and back throughout the spirit, rising at first with lots of nougat character in the mid palate, then returning for seconds at the finish, where it harmonizes curiously with the peat’s farewell. What’s missing is much more nuance in this malt. Secondary character is hard to come by — as perhaps the peat, while on the light side, is drowning out Finealta’s other notes, which are normally nuanced and elusive in Glenmorangie’s typically delicate style.
B+ / about $55 (TBD) / glenmorangie.com