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Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Scandimania: Glenmorangie 10 Year Old Original Single Malt Whisky

I do love modern technology. When you really sit back and think about some of the technological advances we have at our finger tips, it really does amaze. In fact, as I write this I am a living embodiment of how incredible technology is: I have a battery powered bluetooth keyboard which is connected to an iPad mini. The keyboard itself is sensitive to light and will only provide backlit keys when the light is low. I'm told by the manual that if the backlight isn't used, at two hours a day usage, the battery will last an entire year. Longer than most of my whiskies last me.

Add to this my current location: I'm sitting in an airline seat, on a giant hunk of metal currently hurtling through the sky at… let me check on the screen imbedded into the seat in front of me where I have a GPS readout of exactly where my plane is in the sky... yes, at 504 mph (ground speed).

The whole thing, this amazing mix of technology, is pretty mind blowing, really.

We live in an incredible time when we have technology like this at our fingertips and we eat and drink better than the most successful kings in history. We are very blessed people.

But as technology develops, some (which were hyper-exciting at the time) become obsolete. Take the entertainment centre in the seat in front of me: I remember my first ever long haul flight when I was about 12, flying to Canada for an extended family holiday. The sheer excitement of films, TV shows, games... all hidden behind a small screen to play with for hours was amazing. Nowadays, not so.

In fact, such is my distrust of the quality of the entertainment I'm likely to find in-flight, that I've taken to loading up my iPad with all the goodies that I might need. I'm hardly likely to find Alpha Papa: Alan Partridge The Movie, on a US carrier's servers, I feel.

In loading up my iPad with titbits of entertainment, I took to downloading the final episode of Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall's Scandimania, a show which has aired in the UK on Channel 4. Known for his very British approach to cooking, HFW (as we shall refer to him) went on a mission to discover what it is that makes the people of Sweden, Denmark and Norway so darn happy. Over three shows he left his comfort zone and went in search of the stories about industry, history, culture and food.

I had previously managed to see his shows on Sweden and Denmark when they were broadcast, but missed the final show, all about Norway and so used C4's on demand service, 4OD, to download it onto my iPad for this flight across the Atlantic.

The show was of particular interest to me, as regular readers to will know that I am a Norwegian passport holder. Now, I would be the first to admit that I'm not the best when it comes to upholding simple national traditions, such as speaking the language. 

Shame on me. 

Nor do I own the national dress and I rarely celebrate 17th May (Norwegian Independence Day).

However, there is an undeniable affinity that I feel with Norway and in particular the city of Bergen. Seeing it feature on the show made my heart beat a little faster and a smile creep across my face for a place I spent most summers as a child but precious few days as an adult.

In his final episode of Scandimania, HFW singles out Norway for its understated success; now the fourth richest country in the world, you may well find Norwegians in the best shops in London, but you sure-as-$hit wont find them having their matt black Lamborghini clamped outside Harrods or buying Premiership football clubs. They leave that type of 'class' to other wealthy nations.

Watching the show led me to wonder: if Norway was a whisky, which would it be? The answer was pretty simple: Glenmorangie.

Always around and one of the biggest selling single malt Scotch whiskies in the world, Glenmorangie is, despite being owned by uber fashion house LVMH, I think pretty understated. Yes, they advertise and yes, they speak of their quality but they don't seem to shout about it; they just get on with it.

I was recently re-introduced to their entry level offering at the launch of their new annual limited edition Companta (which we review here), the 10 Years Old 'Original' and fabulous it was too. I probably hadn't had a dram of it in about two years and was pleased to find that it was as delicious as I'd hoped it would be. A rare find indeed.

Glenmorangie - Original - 10 Years Old - 40% abv - £29 here or £26 here

Nose: A sweet yet malty nose gives hints of real vanilla pods, banana bread and both green and red apple skins. It is a developed nose that is delicate yet full of flavour. A lot going on without being unbalanced.

Palate: Drinkable neat, it gives some peach, more malt and banana initially on the palate, which develops nicely into lemon meringue pie, mango and a touch of vanilla at the death.

Finish: Soft and smooth with some spice and the vanillas again.

Overall: One retailer above currently has this for £26 for a 75cl which comes with a mini of another of the Glenmorangie stable. A steal? I would think so. This whisky is one to not be forgotten about if you're looking for some change from £30 (here in the UK) for a classic Highland single malt whisky.

The rediscovery of this dram threw me a puzzle: why did I 'forget' about it in the first place? Especially when I have been happily ordering Glenfiddich and The Glenlivet's lower priced bottles rather freely at bars recently. The only answer that I can come up with, is that the Original is rather softly spoken. Rather understated. Rather, erm... Norwegian.