Saturday, 23 January 2010

Glenmorangie Distillery

Glenmorangie Distillery
Ross-shire IV19 1BR

North Highlands, Scotland - Active

Flavour profile

Glenmorangie is, to me at least, the quintessential Highlands whisky. I associate the Highlands with robust whisky replete with intense bold flavours, tending to be on the sweet side, but occasionally containing big whiffs of peat and smoke. The Glenmorangie range is quite diverse in its range of flavours, as the official bottlings have mostly been finished in different ways, but even so, there are several common flavour elements running through them.

From the Wordle below, the most common flavour is vanilla, followed by condensed milk. Then a trio of chocolate bar flavours - chocolate (of course), raisins, and honey. Most of these flavours come from the finishing casks I think. Unfinished Glenmorangie (at least the couple I've had) has vanilla, is quite cereally and slightly biscuity. However, except for the vanilla, the finishing casks tend to overwhelm these flavours and replace them. There is one exception however - Glenmorangie Astar, where the whisky has been aged in American oak. It's loaded with vanilla, biscuit, some cereal elements, and surprisingly, smoke.

All the Glenmorangies I've tasted so far are here.

Glenmorangie 10 yo - good
SMWS 125.20 - good
Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban - very good
Glenmorangie Nectar d'Or - very good
Glenmorangie Lasanta - good
Glenmorangie 18 yo - very good
Glenmorangie Astar - very good

Distillery history

Founded in 1843 by William Mathesen, who was formerly a partner at Balblair distillery. The distillery was part sold to Macdonald & Muir and Durham Ltd in 1918. The new owners kept the name of the distillery (Glenmorangie Distillery Co) in the company name. In 2004, the luxury company LVMH bought the distillery. The distillery was silent from 1931-1936 and again from 1941-1944.

Glenmorangie is part of Baillie Nicol Jarvie and Highland Queen. After the LVMH takeover the range was revamped, with the flagship Glenmorangie 10 yo being rebranded as the Original, and a number of quite delicious finished expressions being introduced (with some existing ones also being rebranded). There aren't very many indie bottlings, although the Scotch Malt Whisky Society (part owned by the same parties) have a few casks now and then.

Potted distillery facts

Water source: Springs from the Tarlogie hills, a source of hard water
Six, stainless steel, 48,500 litres each
Wash stills:
Four, long and reflux bowl neck, 11,400 litres
Spirit stills: One, long and reflux bowl neck, 8,200 litres
Spirit still Lyne arm: Almost a right angle
Production per year:
approximately 3,000,000 litres

- The Scottish Whisky Distilleries, Misako Udo

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