I’ve often wondered what a single malt Scotch completely aged in rye whiskey barrels would taste like and thanks to the Glenmorangie Spios I now know what a classic Speyside aged in rye barrels becomes. Now if we can just get someone like Talisker and Kilchoman to use them so we can see what happens when big peat meets big spice.
My underlying hope for the Glenmorangie Spios is that it opens the path to even more experimentation in the Whisky industry. Recently Diageo got blocked to use tequila barrels to age whisky because it wasn’t “standard practice” and I think that’s total BS. Ex-rye barrels aren’t exactly “standard practice” either and tequila barrels are really just ex-Bourbon barrels anyways so what’s the big deal?
I understand wanting to preserve the history and all that, but when it comes to barrel experimentation, let the market decide. If tequila aged whisky tastes like crap and no one buys it then Diageo is the one that’s out all that money. Sometimes the minute, pedantic, interpretation of the rules gets in the way of innovation and need to be revisited, but I digress, I’ve gotten off topic. On to the Glenmorangie Spios review!
Glenmorangie Spios Review
In Glenmorangie’s Words: Glenmorangie Spios
“The ninth annual release in our acclaimed Private Edition series, Glenmorangie Spìos is the first Glenmorangie ever to be fully matured in American ex-rye whiskey casks. Full-bodied and savoury, its innovative character was inspired by the bygone elegance of America’s golden whiskey era, when American rye whiskey was fêted in the country’s most prestigious saloons. Glenmorangie Spìos (Scots Gaelic for ‘spice’ and pronounced ‘spee-oss’) recalls the spirit’s elegant past, inviting rye’s rare notes of cinnamon and clove to shine through in the Highland Distillery’s uniquely smooth spirit, for a single malt whisky of sophistication and subtle spice.”
Glenmorangie Spios price, ABV, age and other details
Region: Speyside, Scotland
Mash Bill: 100% Malted Barley
Glenmorangie Spios Tasting Notes
Honey, orchard fruit, spice, buttery graham, tangerine, vanilla, Fun Dip and a bit of frosting and malt.
Fruit, spice, graham, malt, banana, cocoa and a bit of oak, tobacco and an herbal character.
Medium -> Apple heavy fruit, malt, cocoa, spice and oak. But not like a bourbon oak, but like a small-barrel-craft-rye-whiskey kind of oak.
BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Good sense of balance, medium body and a soft chalky feel.
OVERALL – Glenmorangie Spios
Glenmorangie Spios is a fun whisky. Is it the best Glenmorangie I’ve ever had? Nope. Is it the most unique, intriguing and, as I just said, fun Glenmorangie I’ve ever had? Yup. The aroma is easily the best part of the Spios – it’s elegant, soft and complex. The palate is less dynamic and comes across as less “modified” from the Glenmo 10 until it starts to fade into the finish which is where it gets really interesting.
The finish starts out fruity and malty, but after a few seconds this heavy essence of rye whiskey and “craft oak” (young oak) arrives and dominates the fade-out with the other notes moving to the back of the room. I always look forward to trying these yearly releases and the Glenmorangie Spios is no exception. I may not like each year’s release, but that doesn’t make them any less exciting; experimentation is always a fun thing to witness.
SCORE: 86/100 (B)
*Disclosure: This Glenmorangie Spios was graciously sent to me by the company for the purposes of this review. The views, opinions, and tasting notes are 100% my own.