The fullest and most complex expression in Glenmorangie’s repertoire, Signet, represents centuries of spirit distilling history. The technical details behind this whiskey are a secret, but it is known they use their oldest malt and age it in their hand-picked oak casks. They also single out the use of a unique chocolate barley malt that adds boldness and toasty luxury to the malt. The crown’s jewel that wins gold medals wherever it’s featured.
The first nose is dominated by charred aromas of Italian espresso, roasted cacao beans, burnt cinnamon and roasted nuts. Still, a second wave of aromas rewards the nose with dried citrus peels, black tea and a very particular sweet aroma redolent of aged Sherry.
The chocolate barley malt is revealed on the palate with unsweetened cacao powder, raw sugar, orange peels and some figs and prunes in the mid-palate. Coating, exuberant, and this is a thick palate but has the right freshness from keeping it balanced.
Hickory and mesquite smoke dominate the aftertaste over a pleasant core of dried orange peels and vanilla paste. Very long and evolving, the finish is comparable to the finest malts in Scotland.
If the perfect malt exists, the Signet might be it, especially if you enjoy the darker aromas of smoke, espresso and oak spices. Perhaps too serious, especially considering the signature freshness in other Glenmorangie expressions. This is nevertheless a dark beauty, a contemplative expression for special occasions.
The Private Edition Comanta 2014, created by master distiller Dr. Bill by using red wine casks, has a similar depth and could be the only expression to match Signet’s boldness. Yet, expect a very different set of aromas cherries instead of figs, and milk chocolate instead of roasted cacao beans.