Glenmorangie Dornoch Review

“Appearance Over Content”

Country: Scotland
Region: Highlands 
Brand: Glenmorangie Dornoch (Limited Edition)
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: NAS 
Chill-Filtration: Yes
ABV: 43%
Whisky Review # 562
Sample provided by Mauricio from Brazil. Many Thanks!

Colour: Golden Hay (Artificially Coloured)

Nose: Young, Light, Malty, Sweet and quite Crisp. Fortunately, I don't get any annoying Sulphur as was the case when I reviewed The Glenmorangie Tayne recently. The Sherry influence is quite limited so I suspect that the Amontillado Finish of part of the Spirit used in the Dornoch was not too long. I also don't get significant Smoke - or Peat notes although there is a Dusty Road/Earthy feeling to the Nose. Instead I find Malt, Caramel, Straw, mixed Nuts and Dried Fruits, Buttered Toast, light Peanut Butter, Toffee, light Honey, light Vanilla, slightly Sour Apple Juice, Pear-Drops, Citrus and hints of Fresh Herbs and Pineapple.     Most of the Aromas are mere impressions. The Spirit is still young and the Cask influence is limited. Malt, Orchard Fruit, Nuts and Caramel are the main drivers. The Alcohol is noticeable but doesn't spoil the Nosing fun. All in all, the Dornoch is slightly "boring" on the Nose. 
Taste: Slightly Thin, Young and Bitter Sweet with a Sour Edge to it. I find Toasted Cereals, Straw, Caramel, Toffee, Brown Sugar, Honey, Butterscotch, mixed Nuts and Dried Fruits, Sour Apples, Pepper, Aniseed, Cinnamon, Ginger, Cardamom, Orange Juice, Earth and hints of Milk Chocolate and Espresso with Milk. A slightly higher ABV would have helped the Dornoch.     

Finish: Middle-Long, Bitter-Sweet and Medium Spicy. A little Dry towards the end. The Citrus (Orange, Nectarine, Lemon) is much clearer now. I also find Caramel, Toffee, light Vanilla, Toasted Barley, Oak, light Honey, Nuts, Earth, Sour Apples, Pepper, Ginger, Fresh Mint, light Aniseed and a hint of Espresso.    

I added a few drops of Water and the Nose gets additional Floral - and Fresh Herbs notes. Palate and Finish become too Thin. 

Rating: 82.5    

Nose: 20.5 - Taste: 20.5 - Finish: 21 - Overall: 20.5

General Remarks: Glenmorangie was founded in 1843 by William Mathesen. A nice Visitor Centre was opened in 1994 and a museum followed in 1997. Since 2004 it is owned by Moet-Hennessy. Glenmorangie has always been one of the pioneers to experiment with different Wood Finishes. 

This is the story behind the Dornoch as you can find it on the Web Site of the Distillery:
"Established in 1843, the Distillery was named Glenmorangie, Scots Gaelic for Glen of Tranquillity, perfectly describing its peaceful setting on the banks of the picturesque Dornoch Firth, a vast sea estuary and a worldwide Site of Special Scientific Interest

To raise awareness for the conservation of the Dornoch Firth, Glenmorangie has partnered with the Marine Conservation Society to preserve this precious waterway.

It is this unique location that is perfectly celebrated by our latest limited edition"

The Dornoch was launched in late 2014 as a "Limited Edition", basically only available at Travel Retail Shops. It is a special marriage between Spirit that matured in traditional Ex-Bourbon casks and lightly peated Spirit finished in Amontillado Sherry butts. The price is usually in the 80/100 US Dollar range (September 2016).

Drinking Experience Neat: Good but uneventful.    

Conclusion: The Dornoch is not a bad Single Malt but it's still a rather Young Whisky. The Oak influence is limited and I can't find significant Peat - or Smoke notes. It's perfectly drinkable although a higher ABV would have helped the Delivery as it's actually quite Thin. I appreciate that a small part of every sale is transferred to the Marine Conservation Society but otherwise the Dornoch is way too expensive for what it offers. Another NAS expression with a nice story! If you like Glenmorangie you better stay with their Original!

Jan van den Ende                                                             September 29, 2016

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