This sixth release in the Private Edition series is from a few years ago. The Glenmorangie Tùsail deviates from what was done previously in the series, when the focus was on different types of wood maturation. Instead, this was distilled from Maris Otter barley, an old variety that is barely used anymore.
Maris Otter is a winter variety and is planted in October, growing al through the winter months. Because of that, it is less suitable for alcohol production. In those colder months the Maris Otter barley grows less starch, and more protein, which means less alcohol, but (in theory at least) more flavour. To top it off, this barley germinated in the traditional way on malting floors.
Glenmorangie Tùsail (46%, OB, 2014)
Nose: Opens up on lots of vanilla and sweetness (toffee, cotton candy), with accompanying aromas of red apple peel, mild oak, and coconut. There are a few light spices, like cinnamon for instance, but also a whisper of nutmeg. Taste: Similar modus operandi as the nose, as this has a sweet arrival (apricot jam), before continuing down a more spicy path. Ginger, cloves and cinnamon pop up. There’s even a mild grassiness. Finish: Lingering spices, before settling into flavours of subtle yellow fruit.
It tastes quite oak forward, so to speak, which is a shame. It has matured in ex-bourbon casks, of which I suspect a big chunk were first-fill. With a distillate from an ancient barley type, it’s a shame that the cask overshadows the distillate. More refill casks next time please.