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Glenmorangie honours Tokyo with new whisky

The whisky company pays homage to the Japanese capital with its limited-edition single malt called A Tale of Tokyo.

Inspired by his travels to Japan’s capital, Dr. Bill Lumsden, director of whisky creation for Glenmorangie, sourced a small number of Mizunara casks in the hope that the unique, bold flavours from the Japanese oak would embue the whisky’s light, floral character with something complex.

The resulting flavour profile is one where “pepper meets bitter cherries and coconut,” says Lumsden. “Also, mouth-watering orange zest that fuses with incense and sweet oak.”

On the finish are classic Glenmorangie flavours of mandarin, almond and marzipan.

Lumsden’s quest to source the Mizunara casks took several years due to the scarcity of the barrels. It takes around 200 years before the wood from Mizunara oak trees is ready to harvest. Contrastingly, American oak takes around 100 years to mature adequately for cask creation.

Adorning the packaging of A Tale of Tokyo is artwork by Japanese artist Yamaguchi Akira, who depicts his own perspective of the city’s layers of history and culture in the design.

The bottle and box show famous landmarks from Tokyo, including the Tokyo Tower and Ueno Park, alongside elements from Glenmorangie’s Highland Distillery, including its whisky stills.

“I’m fascinated by the contradictions between Tokyo’s bustling streets and tranquil gardens, ancient and modern buildings, its many sensory experiences and its culture,” said Lumsden. “My time there over the years made me wonder whether I could capture my experience of Tokyo, and these beautiful intricacies, in whisky form.”

“I partly matured a proportion of Glenmorangie spirit in rare Japanese Mizunara oak casks, which I’ve been curious to experiment with for some time. The influence of this wood is incredibly complex and unusual; it required balance and softening with Glenmorangie matured in Bourbon and Sherry casks, and the result is a dram as full of delicious sensory contrasts as a trip to Tokyo.”

“Bottled at 46% ABV, the bronze-coloured liquid has “powerfully herbal” aromas with hints of toffee, incense and saddle-soap, followed by a resinous note and a touch of cedar wood.
Glenmorangie A Tale of Tokyo will be available exclusively from Selfridges from 1-15 October, and at selected whisky specialists from 16 October onwards. It has an RRP of £76.

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