Nov 142014

In Gaelic, taghta means “the chosen”, and they mean chosen by the people.

It started out by Dr. Bill Lumsden choosing three casks: Grand Cru Burgundy, Grand Cru Bordeaux and Manzanilla sherry, opening a website with Bill Lumsden’s video tasting notes for the “Glenmorangie Cask Masters”, which is the distillery’s official fan club and membership is open to all to vote. Overwhenlmingly, cask C was chosen – and Manzanilla sherry it is. Here’s Bill’s Cask C video.

(you can watch the videos for Cask A and Cask B using the links)

The next stage was the name. Dr. Aonghas MacCoinnich, is a professor of Celtic and Gaelic, and he suggested three names: Salain (sea salt), Taghta (chosen) and Coileanta (mastery). You know which way that went 🙂

Then came the label design, allowing Cask Masters to choose among three labels, the middle one getting the final nod:

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The final, and least interesting stage, was the chosen location for the launch of the whisky, at the distillery itself in Tain. I’ll tell you that Tel-Aviv, while suggested, did not make it to the finals 🙂 It’s worth noting that the Taghta isn’t part of the Private Edition series. The next whisky in that series is called the Tusail and is made of Maris Otter Barley, coming soon…

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OK…enough history…let’s get to the drink itself

Glenmorangie Taghta (46% ABV, NCF, NC)

Appearance: Bronze, thick and sluggish legs.

Nose: Clearly Glenmorangie spirit, with the tart fruity Manzanilla with honey and spring flowers. The tartness dissipates leaving a classic Glenmo with cooked clove and wood spices.

Palate: Tart, spicy and somewhat bitter, with oak and some charred notes (not smoke, though). The palate is different than what the nose suggests.

Linger: Long but not very strong, bitter and sour notes (think yum!) with grapefruit rind, pepper and some wood.


This is a very enjoyable dram, although I think this one would have been a real classic at cask strength. The Manzanilla sherry works very well. Not quite on par with the Astar (also a Limited Edition), but excellent.

I’ll finish with a small rant:
Phil Thompson (of Dornoch Castle fame) posted this in the MM&F group on Facebook. My only comment will be a very loud slapping #facepalm…


Jul 292014

Bunnahabhain, the South African owned “other” Islay distillery, produces mostly unpeated whisky, yet has it’s own character due to the closeness to the distillation process and an affinity for long term maturation in special casks. At Bunnahabhain, they run the relatively large stills at only 47% of capacity, to increase copper contact and get more of a lighter spirit. It works, as the heavier, oily character of Islay is absent, being clearly coastal, but much lighter than the regular Islay whiskys.

It’s also worth noting that Bunnahabhain spirit is at the heart of  the Black Bottle blended whisky, together with contributions from all other seven Islay distilleries.

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Bunnahabhain 16 Year Old Manzanilla Cask Limited Edition of 3,792 (53.2% ABV, NCF, NC)

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Color: Bronze, thick and very slow legs.

Nose: White raisins steeped in water, milk chocolate, oatmeal with brown sugar sprinkles, cooked fruit and watered down balsamic vinegar.

Palate: Balsamic vinegar notes are dominant, nutmeg, mildly sweet cut fruit, coriander and espresso coffee.

Linger: Long and sweetish with chili pepper sauce (like Tabasco) with tartness, the linger ends up with beer notes, which is also what you’ll find nosing your glass the next morning.


Overall, the Manzanilla Sherry is much tarter than both Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez, with balsamic vinegar a dominant note on the palate and in the finish. Personally, I’m in the sweeter sherry camp, and will generally stick to Oloroso and PX.

I thank Ran L. for sharing this dram with me!