Once again my wonderful wife surprised me with a nice bottle of Scotch when I got home today--a bit of a minor celebration. Her motivation in selecting whiskeys for me is ever-changing, but this particular one came on recommendation from someone working at the liquor store as a new item that they just got in and which they were limiting to one per customer. Little did she know I had read the backstory on this particular Scotch earlier that morning, and was certainly intrigued.
Each year Glenmorangie releases a Private Edition bottling, usually something particularly special or different. In this case, it was more of the latter. The Tusail was distilled using a different barley from the norm. In reading up on it, I learned that it used what is called Maris Otter barley, a unique winter barley that used to be used quite frequently in fermentation and brewing, particularly among British brewers. Apparently, though, it is a slower fermentation process as compared to other barley, and it fell out of favor, replaced in large part by barley that provided greater yield.
Glenmorangie decided to give this unique strain of barley a try for its sixth Private Edition release, and Tusail is the result. It is 46% ABV, and does not carry an age statement (as seems to be the case with so many new releases).
On the nose it was one of the best scents I've ever enjoyed, reminding me of dried apricot and brown sugar -- sweet but not overly sweet. I seriously want to bottle this scent as a cologne. I could tell it was going to be something very tasty.
On the palate it is equally as sweet, again reminding me of dried apricot, but with a walnut flavored undertone. It was actually less fruity than I expected. It actually had a certain flavor that makes this Scotch unique, kind of in the same way that wheat gives bourbons a certain quality that distinguishes wheaters from other bourbons.
This Scotch was "meatier" than most, if that makes sense. It was a bit oily, full bodied, and very flavorful, but not strong in any way. On the back end it had a light smokiness that carried through to a sweet aftertaste.
Interestingly, after a few pours, it felt like the fruit flavors increased, coming across more as a sherry-finished Scotch. This actually made me like it even more.
All in all, this was a winner of an experiment for Glenmorangie, and I was sad to see that last pour go (but very happy to enjoy it).