Revisiting the Glenmorangie Tasting Set has brought a couple small surprises, namely a slight bump in appreciation for Nectar d’Or and a respective decrease in fondness for The Original. However, I was most interested in trying the other two expressions. Quinta Ruban, as you’ll see here, still won me over and has proven to be one of the few non-Islay scotches that doesn’t bore me. Then we have today’s subject: Lasanta, which takes Glenmorangie and finishes it in a combination of Oloroso and PX Sherry casks for two years. I saved this one for last since, when I first tried it, I hated it. My less experienced palate couldn’t get over a bitter, borderline sulfuric note. I wasn’t sure how to properly describe it, but almost nothing I liked about the other three expressions was present in Lasanta. Or so I thought.
Anyone who’s spent any length of time with whisky knows that tastes can (and often do) change. Expressions I used to enjoy have worn off of me while others I thought I disliked have ended up becoming favorites. Between that and a slight increase in exposure to sherry-finished spirits (see: Rabbit Hole Dareringer), it’s absolutely worth giving Lasanta another chance. Let’s dig in.
Nose: Trail mix. Fruits to include raisins, apricot, and fig, combined into a bright, juicy syrup. Nice supply of honey and almond butter. Swirling brings a fresher, crisper aroma to the fruit notes—think red apple and pears baked with cinnamon.
Palate: Sweet lead quickly followed by a drier, slightly bitter essence. Red fruit medley on the front palate, slightly dry wine on the mid and back palate. Treads into a sulfur-like note, but stops just shy. Red grapes (possibly fermented), prune, fig, and oak. A touch of raw nut butter with dried fruit bits (apricot and raisins) mixed in.
Finish: Mild side of medium. The bitter Glenmorangie core comes out, leaving a light mix of dry and bitter notes. Grapes, dried apple, and honey. Underdeveloped nut butter and cream.
There it is. The jump in enjoyment Lasanta brought me was so great, I almost can’t believe this is the same whisky I once bemoaned. Many of the qualities I’ve come to expect from sherry are present, from the immediate impression of trail mix to the traces of cream, honey, and waxy nut butter. As with its finished siblings, Lasanta does a nice job reining in the rough, bitter qualities of the standard Glenmorangie. What’s interesting is that while The Original starts off bitter and ends on a softer cumulative note, Lasanta starts out soft and silky only to quickly bring the bitterness out on the back. It’s an odd bit of personality reversal that leaves me scratching my head.
The most conflicting part about Lasanta, however, is how undeveloped the sherry influence feels. Perhaps this is another example of my palate needing even more time and exposure, but as it stands, I feel it could benefit from mimicking its port-finished counterpart. An extra couple of years could go a long way toward enhancing this expression, or it could end up being a case of diminishing returns. Regardless, Glenmorangie’s Lasanta is a curious option that I wouldn’t recommend to entry-level drinkers, but I also hesitate to say long-time enthusiasts would get much out of it. Is it better than The Original? For me, yes. I’d even consider grabbing a bottle just to see how it develops over time, but otherwise? I don’t think it adds much to the Glenmorangie lineup.