Review: Glenmorangie Companta Single Malt Whisky

Glenmorangie's Companta Private Edition Single Malt Whisky
Glenmorangie’s Companta Private Edition Single Malt Whisky

We review a lot of spirits here at Drink Spirits, and every once in a while we pour a sample and immediately know that we’ve got a real gem on our hands. This was the case with Glenmorangie’s Companta Private Edition Single Malt Whisky. Very much like the Ardbeg’s Committee releases or Laphroaig’s Cairdeas, Glenmorangie’s Companta Private Edition  release is a small, limited edition bottling of a special expression of single malt whisky. The word companta comes from the Scots Gaelic word for friendship (very much like Cairdeas). With this Companta Private Edition, companta refers to the collaboration between Glenmorangie and the French vineyards in Burgundy that produce Grand Cru Clos de Tart as well as  a sweet fortified Côtes du Rhône.  Glenmorangie’s Companta uses casks from both of these producers as finishing barrels for a non-age statement release. We’ve seen a fair number of interesting sherry and port finishes, but the choice here of finishing barrels from Glenmorangie is unique. 

Glenmorangie Companta Private Edition Single Malt Whisky (46% ABV / 92 Proof, $99) –  ruby amber in color, Companta has an amazingly complex and aromatic nose with a symphony of dried fruit including dark cherry, apricot, and plum. The fruit is joined by walnuts and milk chocolate. The heart of the nose is a tightly integrated and deep spice that brings together oak, allspice, a touch of smoke, and tobacco. The nose on Companta is wonderfully complex and exceptionally integrated. The entry for Glenmorangie’s Companta is as flavorful and complex as the nose, with the dried apricot, cherry, raisin, and green apple leading things off but quickly followed by a nice depth of spice.

The midpalate of Companta is nothing short of spectacular, deeply complex and amazingly flavored, a tight integration between fruit and spice capturing all of the wonderful aromas from the nose. In addition to dried fruit, ginger, cinnamon, chocolate, oak, and tobacco, there’s a nice smoke, salt, and a touch of rancio. Trying to describe the midpalate of Companta is like trying to capture an amazing sunset in a review – words just don’t do it justice. There’s so much to discover that you’ll find yourself diving back in after every sip. It’s in the finish where the Clos de Tart really shows itself as things dry slightly but without losing the sense of lushness that is really apparent in the midpalate. The balance between lush and dry is so expertly crafted, it’s hard not to appreciate the absolute mastery that went into crafting this spirit. 

Special whisky releases have become quite common in the marketplace, often drawing from a wide range of finishing barrels and aging techniques. Glenmorangie and Dr Bill Lumsden have really done something special with Glenmorangie’s Companta, drawing on very specific wine barrels to create something that has enormously deep complexity, strong integration, and a unique character. Put simply, Glenmorangie’s Companta Private Edition is amazing whisky. The only problem is that it’s going to be hard to find and difficult to get, but those lucky few who do manage to get a bottle will get to appreciate one of the best single malts we’ve tasted in a while.