Astar is all wood-driven. If there ever was a designer Glenmorangie whisky, this is it. To quote Bill, this whisky is made from “slow growth, air seasoned, heavily toasted, lightly charred, ex-bourbon, American oak barrels.”
Astar doesn’t have an age statement, but it is in the 9-10 year old range, so comparing it to the standard 10 year old is logical. Astar is a more dynamic expression compared to the 10 year old, handled in a very personal way with every detail of its maturation carefully monitored using only the finest oak to age it in. If you like Glenmorangie aged in bourbon oak without being finished in the wine cask du jour, then you will immediately fall in love with this whisky.
In fact, did you know that Bill has slowly been incorporating Astar-like whisky into the 10 year old bottling? If you thought that Glenmorangie 10 year old has been gradually improving over the past few years (like I did), this is the reason for it. According to Bill, as much as 30% of the current 10 year old bottling is Astar-like whisky. So, just imagine what pure Astar tastes like. Here’s my formal review of the whisky.
Glenmorangie Astar, 57.1%, $85
Astar’s flavor profile is similar to Glenmorangie 10 year old in many respects (showing a superb balance of sweetness, fruit and spice). It’s not as subtle as the 10 year old expression, but it is creamier, richer, and fleshier, with loads of honeyed vanilla, coconut cream pie, toasted almond, vibrant spice (cinnamon, mint) and a basketful of citrus and summer fruits. And the fact that it is bottled at 100 British Proof (57.1% abv) just accentuates every flavor and helps to make this whisky quite invigorating. Imagine Glenmorangie 10 year old with a shot of testosterone. I don’t rate very many ten year old whiskies or younger over 90. This whisky certainly has earned that right.
Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 93
Similar to Signet, Astar will become a permanent whisky in the Glenmorangie range. It will be available in the U.S. in 2009.
Bill Lumsden is doing amazing things for the Glenmorangie company, both with Glenmorangie whiskies and Ardbeg whiskies. He’s a true leader and one of the greatest innovators in the Scotch whisky industry.