The highland distillery of Glenmorangie is adorned with prestige for many reasons. It is home to the tallest whisky stills in Scotland and has earned a mountain of awards over the years. Both are interesting and impressive but many would say their greatest feat is the innovative spirit they have regarding wood. Glenmorangie started a designer cask program 26 years ago, and over the years has experimented with every facet of wood management from using different types to various drying regimens. Their team led by the renowned Dr. Bill Lumsden brought all that experience to bear back in 2008 when they created The Astar. It was a whisky aged completely in white oak casks from the Ozark Mountains in Missouri. The Astar was a limited release and quickly became a gem in whisky hoarders’ collections. The process to create such a whisky is lengthy but now Glenmorangie has brought us a second edition.
The flavor profile of The Astar is uniquely impacted by the white oak used and it’s important to understand the meticulous process this wood must go through. After specific slow-growth trees are selected and cut down, the wood is air-dried for two years. This wood is then turned into casks, toasted, and filled with bourbon. The bourbon spends four years aging in the casks which are then emptied and shipped to Scotland. Glenmorangie whisky finally meets the casks and they are left to mature. The liquid gold that is The Astra comes out of these casks brimming with aromas of mint, honey, butterscotch, pear, and lemon. It is rich and creamy on the palate with flavors of pineapple, stone fruit, and vanilla. As it evolves and deepens, hazelnuts, toasted oak, and almonds show themselves. A long finish with honey, coconut, and a hint of anise slowly fades out. The Astar is a complex, dessert-like whisky befitting of the Glenmorangie name.