Mark Twain said, “Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.” We wholeheartedly agree, especially when you’re drinking a whiskey as fine as Glenmorangie Single Malt Whiskey.
Many single malt whiskies are made with love and care, but only Glenmorangie marries tradition and innovation with over 170 years of dedication. The special traditions of Glenmorangie rest in the hands of the Men of Tain, select local Highland craftsmen. For generations, they have dedicated their working lives to the quality and character of Glenmorangie whiskey, using the finest Scotland has to offer.
With its warm pale gold color and floral aroma, the brand’s flagship Glenmorangie original is a result of classic whiskey-making. It opens sweetly with notes of mandarin oranges, creme brulee and menthol, followed by hints of vanilla and peaches. This sophisticated yet accessible profile is something that appeals equally to new drinkers and dedicated malt whiskey enthusiasts alike.
GLENMORANGIE HAS A STRICT STANDARD OF QUALITY
Brothers William and John Matheson founded the Glenmorangie distillery at the Morangie Farm in 1843. Since then, they have employed local men who maintain the heritage and standards of Glenmorangie. The deep understanding of whiskey, the skill and indefinable feel for the spirit has been passed on through generations.
“There’s a very particular mindset to the Men of Tain,” says Dr. Bill Lumsden, Glenmorangie’s Director of Distilling and Whiskey Creation. The dedication and unique process has created a distinct taste that serves the brand well. “It has incredible complexity and finesse. It is unusual to find so many flavors and this degree of delicacy, especially in a Scotch malt whiskey. This is a universal taste, arguably the most accessible quality single malt.”
GLENMORANGIE USES THE TALLEST STILLS IN SCOTLAND
Much of the whiskey’s unique complexity is down to its distillation in the tallest stills in the Scotch whiskey industry–magnificent copper columns that are almost 17 feet high. Still is the term used to described the distillation apparatus used in the process.
“People traditionally used copper to build stills because you could mold the metal by hand,” explains Brendan McCarron, Glenmorangie’s Head of Maturing Whiskey Stocks.”The industry later discovered that copper is a catalyst, which strips out the undesirable notes during the distillation process. The taller the still, the more copper exposure the spirit gets. So, our very tall copper stills are a big part of bringing those beautiful light, delicate aromas to the fore in Glenmorangie Original.”
GLENMORANGIE IS THE EXPERT WHEN IT COMES TO CASKS
For many years, Glenmorangie led the industry in the pioneering use of only the finest oak casks to mature the whiskey. Glenmorangie Original, the brand’s flagship, is matured exclusively in the finest first and second fill bourbon casts for a minimum period of ten years.
“Most whiskey makers will use casks made from wood that has been cut only a matter of months previously,” Dr. Bill says. “For us, it takes a minimum of eight years from when the wood is cut to when we get our hands on the barrel.” That’s 18 years from cut wood to finished bottle–an unseen testament to quality.
Finally, Glenmorangie is matured for carefully defined periods in unheated warehouses. Other whiskey-makers use heated warehouses to drive the flavor out of the wood. Also unlike the others who use their casks several times over, Glenmorangie retires their casks after using them just twice.
“It’s a gentler regime,” says Dr. Bill. “But we’re completely dedicated to ensuring that we get the right flavors and the right maturation. You can’t rush it and you can’t cut corners.”
GLENMORANGIE IS THE PIONEER IN EXTRA-MATURATION TECHNIQUES
In the 1980s, Glenmorangie pioneered the original concept of extra-maturation using a variety of exclusive ex-wine casks. The Whiskey Creation Team are still the leading experts in this field as they painstakingly explore the most distinguished vineyards of Europe in the search for exceptional casks. These casks provide rich, intriguing and compelling layers of flavors and tastes to the original character of Glenmorangie.
The unprecedented technique of extra-maturation allows the pure spirit to lie in the peaceful darkness and solitude of fine American white oak ex-bourbon casks for at least ten years. It is then transferred to different, high quality ex-wine casks for a further two years. Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban extra matures in ex-port pipes from the Quintas (or wine estates) of Portugal. The Glenmorangie Lasanta in ex-Olorosa Sherry casks from Jerez in Spain. The Glenmorangie Nectar D’Or in ex-Sauternes wine barriques from France.
At their heart, the Extra Matured Range whiskies have the quintessentially Glenmorangie character. But each particular exclusive cask gives additional and individual qualities, forming a unique expression influenced by each distinguished provenance. It’s a journey for whiskey enthusiasts to explore and discover such a range of tastes, flavors, aromas and textures.
As with everything in the world of Glenmorangie, they’re not about rushing themselves. Why would they? In the marriage of intuition and science, of wood and whiskey, time brings out the best in everything. Not for nothing does the Gaelic name Glenmorangie translate as “glen of tranquility.”