Glenmorangie Spìos (with Tasting Notes)

Glenmorangie Spìos is the ninth edition of Glenmorangie's Private Edition series, which is eagerly awaited each year. The "Private Edition" is more than a limited collectible bottling for whisky nerds. It is also a peep-hole into the experimental kitchen of the Scottish whisky industry. And again, with this year's innovative barrel experiment by Glenmorangie, the question arises: what path will the Scottish Whisky Industry have to take, and where will it lead them to?

Glenmorangie Spìos. Foto: MargareteMarie

Every year, I’m always very curious about Glenmorangie’s new release for their Private Edition, and I can hardly wait till I get to try it. But not for the reasons that you might suspect, I’m neighter a collector nor a whisky flipper. 

The Private Edition has a completely different value for me. For many decades, Glenmorangie has been at the forefront of whisky research and the Private Edition provides a unique opportunity to gain insight in some of the results of this research. Especially when it comes to new barrel experiments.

Glenmorangie Spìos, sample. Foto: MargareteMarie
Recently, I talked to a brand ambassador of a large Scottish Whisky corporation who confirmed to me what almost all distilleries currently fear: barrels and casks will be in very short supply in the near future. 

Many distilleries have expanded in recent years, and many others are  planning further capacity expansion in the near future, such as Edradour, Kilchoman, The Macallan, Glenfiddich or Glenmorangie. Add to that an incredible number of new distilleries around the world: in Scotland, Ireland, France, Japan, Sweden, even Israel, whisky is being produced more and more often. 

And they all need barrels. Of course we all wish our whisky to come from old, deeply soaked Spanish sherry casks. But the number of available barrels is already out of proportion to demand. And the pressure to source more  barrels will continue to rise in the next few years. 

Most distilleries are aware of this dooming lack of barrels in the future, and they are currently looking for alternatives to find interesting flavors that can enrich the whisky scene in the future. Most work is done in secret, rarely do we learn anything about the composition of the products. 

Unlike the Private Edition of Glenmorangie. Those who have carefully followed the special bottlings of recent years have also gained an insight into the wide range of different types of barrels, and have been able to gain first-hand experience about the special and unique aromas that are thus created - in a positive as well as in a negative sense. 

The ninth edition of the Private Edition has been fully matured in barrels that were previously below the radar of the Scottish whisky industry: Rye barrels. Barrels that previously contained American Rye whiskey. 

I'm a huge fan of Rye Whiskey, and I also have some ryes on my whiskey trolley. If you have never had a Rye, you should try a Bulleit Rye, a Jim Beam Rye, a 1776 Rye or a Masterson's Rye. And if it does not meet your expectations, you can still mix a very delicious Manhattan with it. 

But let's go back to Spìos and finally turn our attention to the key question: what can we expect from maturation in a Rye barrel? What kind of  unique flavors arise here? And above all - how does that taste?

 Tasting Notes: Glenmorangie Spìos, (limited) Private Edition No. 9;  46%, non chill filtered

Glenmorangie Spìos, sample box. Foto: MargareteMarie

On the Nose:

As soon as I'm  pouring out, I am greeted by unusually rich fruity aromas, whose strong acidity reminds me of apple wine, which my father used to make when I was a child. Immediately,  Spìos has my  interest.

In the glass,  many yellow-golden honey notes develop and juicy, sweet-and-sour apple and pear flavors dominate. After a while, these lush fruity notes become more subtle, almost disappearing at the end. Instead, a bitter tartness and the delicate scent of hay glide through the glass, paired with a thick portion of wood dust from the barrel workshop.

On the Palate:

On the tongue, the herbal notes fully develop. Fresh sourdough and cloves dominate, the overall impression is full-bodied, strong and tart, almost bitter, and a bit dry, with strong oak notes. The barrel almost threatens to overpower the liquid. At 46% it is anything but mild.


strong and spicy, but surprisingly short.


The stark contrast between luscious, sweet-and-sour fruit flavors and tart-bitter, herbal, spicy, woody notes surprised me. The Rye influence is remarkable, and makes the otherwise very pleasing and  elegant Glenmorangie look suddenly sturdy and robust.

The Spìos is certainly not the most beautiful Glenmorangie, but very unusual, strong in taste and exciting. You do not have to like it, but it's definitely worth trying.

This year's Private Edition will polarize the fans.

PS: My thanks to the manufacturer (and Tobias) for sending the product sample.


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