Glenmorangie 10: A Memorial Day Tribute

For some reason for special occasions we raise a glass of something fine.  I’m a big proponent of this.  At times, however, these occasions necessitate solemn reflection and respectful remembrance. Today is such a day—Memorial Day.  On a day such as this, rather than raise a glass it may be more appropriate to pour out a dram to those fallen.  In spite of my political beliefs, which wars I believe were necessary and which were essentially criminal, today I pour a glass out to this country’s fallen soldiers.  As it seems scotch is often the choice for such tributes, tonight I too shall consume scotch. I’m not pouring any out though; I’d prefer not to get booze in the carpet.

My beverage tonight is a bottle of Glenmorangie 10 year that my mother and stepfather gave me for my birthday.  Since my birthday is in March, clearly I’ve been saving this review for a special occasion…Or a night when I can convince myself  to write; tonight it just so happens these things coincided.  Anyways the 10 year is Glenmorangie’s base-line baby, aged in old bourbon barrels and presumably providing the base that all their special offerings build off of.  So, is this bottle a worthy tribute to the roughly 1.4 million U.S. soldiers who have died in combat?  Shall we taste?


The Nose on this whisky is quite interesting, with grassy notes, a heavy citrus presence that reminds me of a well-made margarita and, finally, a peach cobbler with ice cream note that seems to come in after I’ve stopped inhaling.

This scotch is somehow walks a line between very light flavors and a rather rich body, with soft vanilla dominating throughout, just a touch of caramel in the middle and a hefty share of green apple / pear notes near the end that brings just a touch of tart astringency to the palate.  The finish returns with a bit more acid and astringency that remind you of that citrus nose, and wipe your tongue off like orange oil on a guitar fretboard.  It’s pleasant, crisp and surprisingly refreshing—perfect for a cool night while I walk the fine line of chilled toes and open windows.

So let’s go back to the theme of the day, and the question I previously posed— is this bottle a worthy tribute to the roughly 1.4 million U.S. soldiers who have died in combat?  Can anything be?  I highly doubt there’s a bottle of bourbon worthy of a man’s life, and I love nothing more than bourbon.  As a tribute however, this stands up as well as any, and I feel it fortuitously matches the weather of this Memorial Day as well. So, tonight I drink to those who gave the last full measure of devotion to this land, so that we may live to drink another day.  I pour out a dram to thee, right into my thirsty mouth.

This is an old Mose Allison jazz number. No really, I’m not shitting you. As perhaps your discerning ear has told you, it is a wailing sonic explosion. The original Entwistle / Moon rhythm section of the Who is rumored to have caused the great 1964 Alaskan Earthquake, and that’s before they went heavy. The song’s lyrics are spare, “the old man, he’s got all the money, and a young man, ain’t got nuthin’ in the world these days.” This is nothing new for rock ‘n’ roll, and certainly not for the Who. If you’ll recall in “My Generation” they politely requested the older generation “f-f-fade away.” This song is bigger than its words; it’s a montage of war. Pete Townsend’s guitar is a firefight in the jungle, it is napalm cooking human flesh, and the occasional daisy cutter dropped in for good measure. Roger Daltrey’s vocals scream with the anger and desperation of a man watching the mud under him stain red. The young man has been worked by the old man long enough, he’s sick of being robbed, sick of fighting the old man’s war. He’s sick of having to earn his dues in blood, just so he can one day be an old man with all the money so he can send young men off to shred each other to bits like scared pit bulls in a hole. To my friends in the service, I respect your willingness to sacrifice–I just hope you don’t have to make the ultimate sacrifice because those old men on the hill say so. So “happy” Memorial Day to all the young men, who ain’t got nuthin’, including their lives, because some rich old man told them that the young men from (insert country here) hate their freedoms. To the honored dead. Just remember, freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.