Memories are a powerful thing, and they can work both ways. Sometimes the taste of a great whisky can bring back memories, at other times memories can lead into making a great whisky. This last happened at Glenmorangie, where its Director of Distilling, Dr. Bill Lumsden, had fond memories of the Glenmorangie Madeira Finish. Created over 20 years ago, it was the very first whisky in the world that was matured in Madeira casks. This whisky became the inspiration for Glenmorangie’s eight Private Edition single malt whisky, the Bacalta.
Maturing whisky is a very complex art, as it is a natural process with a lot of variables that can influence the taste. Glenmorangie trusted on its experience in this field to create something unique. They ordered custom made oak casks, which were heavily toasted on the inside. While this adds a layer of complexity to any whisky, they went even further to induce a unique range of taste notes to this whisky. Glenmorangie first shipped them to the beautiful island of Madeira, filled them with Malmsey, the sweetest Madeira wine, and let them soak up the sun of this sub-tropical island for two years. Upon return to the Glenmorangie distillery, the then empty barrels were filled with a Glenmorangie spirit that was already matured in ex-bourbon barrels.
Naming this Private Edition single malt whisky Bacalta is nothing but appropriate as it means “baked” in Scots Gaelic. That is also what you get back in the nose and flavor of this whisky. The extra toasted barrels, combined with soaking up the Madeira wine for two years, result in a very warm nose of sun-ripened fruit. Honey is also present, probably from the combination with the maturation on the ex-bourbon barrels. This especially comes into full bloom when tasting the Bacalta, where honey seems to mingle with caramelized fruits, hints of orange and apricots. They linger on in the finish, where they turn into more of a fudge flavor, creamy and still full of fruit. This extraordinary palette of flavors makes the Glenmorangie Bacalta indeed worthy of being the brand’s eighth Private Edition single malt whisky!