After an nearly decade-long absence from cabinets, the limited-edition Glenmorangie Astar is reborn.
While it’s made the identical approach as the unique model, Glenmorangie’s head of maturing whisky shares Brendon McCarron tells The Sunday Times that the brand new Astar is a “reimagining of the original”.
The cult favorite, limited-edition single malt scotch is matured in tailored oak casks from timber grown within the Ozark mountains of Missouri.
In truth, the unique model of Astar, first launched in 2008, needed to be withdrawn in 2012 as a result of the supply of bespoke casks proved troublesome to maintain.
“We literally choose the trees that are going to be made into casks and, from that stage, we are involved in every step of the process,” he says.
Every variable is managed by Glenmorangie’s exacting specs, together with the usage of tight-grained, slow-growth timber.
“You get more porosity, so the whisky is going to soak more easily into the wood,” says Mr McCarron, who is in his late 30s.
The wooden for the casks is then air-dried as a substitute of dried in a kiln for at the least two years, earlier than the casks are barely toasted and closely charred. They are then crammed with bourbon and seasoned for precisely 4 years earlier than they’re emptied, shipped to Scotland and crammed with Glenmorangie spirit.
“You could say it’s a first-fill exbourbon cask whisky, but it’s bespoke – a tailored suit versus buying one off the peg,” he says.
Due to fashionable demand from prospects, it made its return to cabinets worldwide, and Singapore, late final 12 months.
“First, the original Astar was really loved and, second, more and more people are asking for cask strength whisky,” he says of the choice to convey it again.
Cask power whisky is undiluted and bottled on the proof at which it’s drawn from the barrel. But the 2017 model of Astar, which is Gaellic for “journey”, is just not the very same liquid as its predecessor.
While the unique Astar got here in at 57.1 per cent alcohol by quantity (ABV), the 2017 model is bottled on the extra palatable 52.5 per cent ABV.
“I love the original Astar, but it was too high in strength, even for me, and it was better with a little bit of water,” he says.
It can also be barely totally different on the nostril and palate. He describes the brand new model as “brighter in terms of citrus and fresh squeezed lemon, but the original Astar was more toasty and honeyed with clove spice”.
Adding water additionally brings out the hallmark Glenmorangie flavours of stone fruit akin to apricot, peaches and nectarines. But he insists they’re “fine margins of difference” between the unique and the replace.
Mr McCarron, who joined the company in 2014, has an extended historical past with whisky, having labored in each step of whisky making, from malting barley to disgorging – or releasing mature whisky from barrels.
“The only bit I hadn’t done was maturation and understanding the wood, which is what I do now,” he says.
Historically, Glenmorangie is synonymous with its cask administration practices. In specific, Glenmorangie’s director of distilling and whisky creation, Dr Bill Lumsden, is thought for his pioneering wooden administration strategies and experimentation with casks at numerous ages.
Under Dr Lumsden’s watch, Mr McCarron has been concerned with the manufacturing of Milsean, the seventh release in Glenmorangie’s Private Edition sequence, and the travel retail unique, Glenmorangie 19 Year Old, amongst different expressions.
But given that almost all of his expertise was with making the uncooked spirit, he says “he wants to experiment with flavours and textures”.
Like his boss Dr Lumsden, Mr Mc- Carron has an experimental streak.
“There were certain things I wanted to do (at previous companies I worked at) and I was just told no, so you make the same spirit every day, every week of the year – which is what most distilleries do,” he says.
“But I knew Dr Lumsden specialises in using different casks and that Glenmorangie was doing things, so that attracted me.”
He has already laid down some experimental casks. But with the time it takes whisky to age, it’s concerning the lengthy game.
“It’s going to take 10 years before I realise if it is good or not… but I hope they are going to be brilliant.”
• Glenmorangie Astar is out there at liquor shops and whisky specialists, akin to Le Vigne and The Whisky Distillery, with a suggest retail worth of $240.