This year’s release from the Glenmorangie Private Edition series is named Companta - Scots Gaelic for "friendship" - a nod to the "Auld Alliance" between France and Scotland, because this is a whisky whose maturation has been completed in French wine casks.
Wine finished whiskies are not easy to get right so it comes as no surprise that Dr Bill Lumsden - head of the Whisky Creation Team at Glenmorangie - spent a good while seeking out the perfect casks for this latest expression. For the Companta recipe whiskies matured in two types of wine casks were used, Clos de Tart from Burgundy and a sweet fortified wine from Côtes du Rhône.
For the better part of a decade now Glenmorangie has been constantly associated with a willingness to experiment. The company's Distilling & Whisky Creation Director - Dr. Bill Lumsden - and his team have long advocated the cask as the dominant factor in the final character of a matured malt, augmenting their ever-popular 10 year old with wine-cask finished bottlings such as Quinta Ruban (extra-matured in port casks) and an annual "Private Edition" release.
Last year saw a break from what had been a thoroughly modern series, and instead looked to what was an old style of Glenmorangie which, like the vast majority of distilleries, would have included more than a touch of smoke in years gone by. In contrast, 2013's Ealanta reads as quite the opposite; matured exclusively in virgin oak casks for 19 years, this could well be the very model of a modern vanilla drenched single malt.