The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Glenmorangie launches limited edition whisky

In 2008, on its ceaseless quest for perfection, Glenmorangie created The Astar (Scots Gaelic for “journey”), a single malt whisky entirely matured in bespoke oak casks from the Ozark mountains of Missouri, designed to impart the wood’s maximum flavour to the spirit. Today, Glenmorangie Astar returns with a limited-edition release to New Zealand which brings a new richness and complexity to its silken depths – and renews the Highland Distillery’s homage to the power of wood.

Glenmorangie has always regarded the oak casks in which whisky matures as vital to the quality of the final spirit. Such is the Distillery’s dedication to sourcing the ideal wood for whisky maturation, that its skills in cask management have been long renowned throughout the industry. In the casks created for The Astar’s precious releases, Glenmorangie brings all of its expertise to bear. Every step of their design has a direct influence on the whisky’s tastes and aromas.

The Astar’s custom-made casks began their journey in the Ozark mountains of Missouri, where Glenmorangie carefully selected slow-growth oak trees, for their porous structure. Staves were cut from these oaks to the Distillery’s exact specifications. Then, they were left to season in the open air for at least two years, so that they might breathe and soften, gaining the whisky’s first hints of vanilla and crème brulée.

After being coopered into oak casks, they were gently toasted to contribute further flavours of almond and coconut. Filled with bourbon, they were set aside to mature for four years to smooth away any rawness.  Finally, they were emptied, shipped to Scotland and filled with Glenmorangie’s delicate and complex spirit, for a long, slow maturation.

The Astar’s first, limited release was much coveted.  And ever since, Glenmorangie’s Director of Distilling, Whisky Creation & Whisky Stocks, Dr Bill Lumsden, has longed to revisit the single malt’s unique character.  But casks designed to such precise specifications require many years and much dedication to create.  Indeed, they are so rare, that it has taken Dr Bill almost a decade to orchestrate the whisky’s return.  For 2017, he brings The Astar back to life in a new limited-edition which displays all the smooth, creamy depths for which its predecessor was renowned.  Delivered at a slightly lower strength, The Astar’s renaissance also delivers a newfound richness and complexity.

Dr Bill said: “At Glenmorangie we are always searching for perfection – and The Astar’s first release, entirely matured in our designer casks, was a momentous step on our journey.  I’m delighted to be able to share the 2017 release with more single malt lovers – and to celebrate with them the whisky’s wonderfully creamy, spicy aromas and silky tastes of soft fruit smothered with vanilla custard.”