Thursday, August 11, 2011

Review: Glenmorangie Nectar d'Or

Glenmorangie Nectar d'Or
Price:  $70 - 80
Strength:  46%

My first taste of the Nectar d'Or was pretty underwhelming.  It was at Whisk(e)y-a-GoGo this past February, and I'd been looking forward to trying this offering from Glenmorangie for some time.  I've loved everything I've had from the distillery, so it was pretty surprising that this and the Finealta, a lightly peated offering that I was equally excited about, both fizzled on the tongue.  Of course, shortly after the tasting, I realized the rather silly mistake I'd made.  In the wine world, when tasting wine, you make sure to go from your driest wines to your sweetest wines, to avoid damaging your palate.  The best dry wine will taste tongue puckering after a few sips of a very sweet wine.  Well, I find tasting Scotch to have a similar dictum:  I find it best to go from the lightest, sweetest malts to the smokiest.  Did we do that at WAGG this year?  Well, one of my first tastes was Kilchoman...enough said.  In our defense, the setup at WAGG is chaotic at best, and it can be difficult to route oneself optimally from table to table.

I'd felt bad ever since.  I'm quite fond of Glenmorangie; they've been a favorite distillery for the past year or so, starting with the Astar, my first review here at Water of Life.  So, then, my wife and son decided it would be a great first Father's Day gift to get me a bottle of the Nectar d'Or, so I could give it a fair shake.

Happily, my first impressions in the wake of the Kilchoman were far exceeded.  Nectar d'Or is aged in American Oak and finished in French Sauternes wine casks.  Sauternes is a rather expensive French white dessert wine, which brings a light, sweet taste to the malt that I really enjoyed.  I found notes of citrus, faint coconut (which shows up in several Glenmorangie offerings), mild sweet raisins (maybe the golden kind), and not surprisingly, a pleasant white wine touch.  As with everything I've had from Glenmorangie, the flavors are very well balanced, and the texture is smooth.  This is a non-chill filtered offering, and while certainly not as tongue-coating as the Lasanta or Astar, definitely sticks to the tongue and leaves a pleasant finish.  It's not a cask strength Scotch, but at 46%, neither is it diluted as fully as the majority of malts are.

The Sauternes finish and lighter touch make this malt a perfect summer Scotch for me.  When the hot months come around, chewy sherry monsters and peat bullies just don't appeal to me as much.  I find myself looking for bourbon with a little ice, or even better, a sweet, light malt like this one.

Score:  92 (A-)  As a side note, "In the Wake of the Kilchoman" sounds like it should be an epic Scottish poem, or perhaps the title of a song or album by a Celtic progressive rock band. (Is there such a thing?  That sounds cool!)

Other Glenmorangie reviews:

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  1. I think the opaque names of these Glenmo offerings have put me off a bit. If they went more with the Balvenie naming scheme and did something like "Glenmorangie 12 Sauternes Wood", I'd probably be more inclined to purchase. With your review of this and the La Santa, I'll have to give these another look. Now you need to review the Quinta Ruban for the sake of completeness.

    This summer I have also tended to shy away from peat and sherry monsters. I've been in the mood for dry Scotches that have a little smoke and a little sherry: Springbank 10, Black Grouse, and Oban 18. Once there is a lick of Fall in the air though, I'll be back in the peat.

  2. I have had the Quinta Ruban, but it was quite a while ago. I've also not had the Glenmorangie 10, though I've been meaning to for some time. In fact, I should move it up the short list, as it can be found pretty cheap.

    I actually don't mind the opaque names from Glenmorangie. I'll raise an eyebrow if a no name distillery or bottler does the same, but I've had enough from Glenmorangie at this point to feel safe with whatever they put out. Is it really a bold trend, or just a marketing gimmick? I don't know, but I love everything they've put out, so I don't mind.

    I very much want to try the Oban 18, that sounds excellent. What does the Black Grouse go for, that also sounds pretty good.

  3. NH stores sell Black Grouse for $40 for a 1.75 L bottle. I like Black Grouse, but Malt Advocate liked it even more:

    As far as naming, I suspect Glenmorangie had a large hand in setting the trend. The same company also owns Ardbeg, which explains a lot.