Glenmorangie Puts the Baked into Bacalta with Its New Limited Edition Whisky

  • Bacalta, Scots Gaelic for baked, is the latest release in the Private Edition range ($100)
  • Dan Dunn

For eight years running, Glenmorangie has indulged its ardent supporters’ thirst for the new and different with limited release bottlings under the Private Edition banner. These sought-after whiskies are crafted using a process called “extra maturation,” in which the spirit ages (as per usual) in ex-bourbon casks, before soaking up further layers of flavor resting in used wine barrels. It’s a process Glenmorangie pioneered three decades ago, and over the years it’s yielded some memorable whiskies, along with a few missteps.

The legendary Bill Lumsden is Glenmorangie’s director of distilling, whisky creation, and whisky stocks. Along with that impressive title comes the freedom to try just about anything this side of bacon infusion. Twenty years ago, he dazzled Scotch aficionados with Madeira Finish, the world’s first whisky extra-matured in Madeira sherry casks. Today collectors pay top dollar to get their hands on stock from that off-market line.

Bacalta, Scots Gaelic for baked, is the latest release in the Private Edition range ($100). In returning to the sun-drenched Portuguese archipelago, Lumsden’s aim was nothing short of creating the finest Madeira-finished Scotch ever.

Mission accomplished. Here’s how:

Lumsden arranged for custom-made casks to be assembled from tight-grained, air-seasoned American oak staves. The casks were heavily toasted to ensure the wood’s deep, rich flavor would emerge. Barrels were then shipped to Portugal and filled with Malmsey wine—an exceptionally sweet variety of Madeira made from the Malvasia grape. The Malmsey-laden casks matured in the heat of Madeira’s sun for two years before being emptied, shipped to the Scottish Highlands and filled with bourbon barrel-aged single malt. Two years later, the Bacalta went into bottle at 92 proof.

At first whiff, honeycomb and apricot aromas assert themselves. Ah, but keep on sniffing and you’re likely to detect mineral notes and white chocolate shortbread cookies. On the palate, baked apple and apricot flavor come straight away, followed by marzipan, candied dates, fresh melon, and a wee bit of white pepper spice. Mouthfeel is gratifyingly warm and a bit oily. Bacalta finishes with a flourish of tropical fruit, bolstered by pleasant chocolate and evergreen notes. Overall, it’s a complex and very flavorful whisky that, like its forebear, is sure to become a collector’s item. (glenmorangie.com)

From Around the Web...
Glenmorangie Pride 1974 ($9,050). Photo by Anna Isola Crolla
Glenmorangie’s new Pride 1974 whisky is a knockout…
Riedel Vinum Extreme Rosé Provence Glass, $69 for a set of two
An exquisite new way to enjoy rosé, just in time for summer…
These blends of rare old malt and grain whiskies elevate the art of blending to new heights…
Glenmorangie Bacalta
This limited edition from the legendary distillery is destined to become a collector’s item…
Photo by Damion I. Hamilton
Cuban cigar legend Montecristo turns 80 with a big party at Harvest Inn by Charlie Palmer in Napa...
The 2006 Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs is “an all-Chardonnay cuvée, in the style our ancestors created,” says  Taittinger
A classically trained artist, Vitalie Taittinger is furthering her family’s traditions in Champagne…
5 Superb American Whiskeys
These top non-bourbon made-in-America spirits showcase the freedom of whiskey distilling in the U.S...
Puebla ($85)
Mezcal is gaining in popularity and entering the premium market…
 Hochstadter’s Family Reserve Straight Rye Whiskey ($200)
This premium rye whiskey is an homage to pre-Prohibition spirits…
Nikka Coffey Malt Japanese Whisky ($75)
This Japanese whisky uses Scottish barley in its malting…