By Chris Gill
When perusing a dessert list after a spectacular meal I generally have few problems selecting the food portion (chocolate usually wins). For me the bigger challenge is what to drink—Cognac? Armagnac? Scotch? Sauternes? Port? Grappa? Usually I end up selecting a drink that combines two of those selections—an extra matured (or double matured) single malt Scotch whisky. An extra matured Scotch goes through the normal aging process in oak casks but is transferred to and finished in a second cask previously used to age Sherry, Sauternes, Port, or other generally sweet wines. This finishing technique adds additional layers of complexity that add subtle hints of the original contents of the second barrel and complement the character of the Scotch in its initial aged form.
The Distillers Edition Scotches from Cragganmore, Dalwhinnie, Glenkinchie, Lagavulin, Oban, and Talisker all offer great introductions to this magical process, but Glenmorangie has elevated the extra maturation process to an art form. Glenmorangie offers a wide range of extra-matured Scotch whiskies, including Lasanta, Nectar D’Or, Qunita Ruban, and their Private Collection Sonnalta PX. I’m particularly drawn to Nectar D’Or, which is initially aged 10 years in Bourbon casks and finished an additional two years in Sauternes barriques.
The honey-like aroma of botrytis in Nectar D’Or’s nose delivers a stunning first impression, and those characteristics carry through to the palate, where the citrus and honey flavors of Sauternes blend magically with the smoky oak, vanilla, nutmeg, and tobacco personality of the Scotch itself. This is as ideal a marriage of Scotch and Sauternes as one could imagine, with the two distinct flavor profiles melding in perfect harmony. Nectar D’Or is a touch sweeter than an ordinary single malt Scotch, but not as candy-like as some double matured Scotch whiskies. Its flavors are so complex and satisfying that I’m often tempted to forgo my beloved chocolate and contemplate the fascinating depth of Nectar D’Or on its own.