Glenmorangie is one of the World’s best selling single malt brands. Although single malts have been bottled and sold internationally for over 100 years, it was not until the 1960s that the big whisky companies started aggressively promoting single malts. The first four distilleries to do so were: Glenfiddich, Glenlivet, Macallan and Glenmorangie, in that order. Interestingly, 55 years on, those four distilleries are still the best selling single malt whiskies in the world, and are ranked in the same order for sales.
There are a few distinguishing characteristics which make Glenmorangie unique. First and foremost, its stills, which are the tallest and most slender in all of Scotland. “They are 8 metres high (26ft 1/4 inches) with their long copper necks standing at 5.14 metres (16ft 10 1/4 inches), the same height as a fully grown adult giraffe!” These stills ensure that only the lightest and most delicate vapours make it to the condenser, thus resulting in lighter more delicate spirit. The distillery was converted from a brewery originally established on Morangie farm in the 1730. Rather than the more traditional dumpy pot stills, the founder installed a pair of 2nd hand gin stills in the distillery. Today’s stills are modeled on that design.
Glenmorangie also has a unique water supply. The distillery is fed by the Tarlogie Springs, which bubble up from a limestone aquifer, rather than the granite filtered water used by almost every other distillery in Scotland. These natural minerals give it its ‘hard’ water qualities and provide Glenmorangie with a raw ingredient unique amongst Highland distilleries.
Last but certainly not least, the distillery is famous for its Sixteen Men of Tain. Historically no more than 16 men worked at the distillery. As demand and production grew, there were never more than 16 men on shift at a time. Times have changed, and production techniques have changed too. There are many more than 16 men and women working at the distillery and for the brand today, at last count close to 400 (2004). The company now refers to the “Men of Tain”, craftsmen who make the whisky.
Glenmorangie Distillery is located along the Dornoch Firth, about a half hour’s drive north of Inverness on the A9. The nearby town of Tain, is Scotland’s oldest “Royal Burgh”, having been granted its charter in 1066. The distillery was acquired by their largest customer, a family firm MacDonald & Muir, in 1918. Macdonald & Muir was purchased by Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy in 2004 along with Ardbeg and Glen Moray distilleries. The latter was spun off, as it was not considered a luxurious enough brand to fall under the LVMH banner.
Glenmorangie Original 10 Year - 40% – American Oak – Andrew’s Tasting Note: “Nose: soft, silky and velvety; loads of white fruit, Red Delicious apples, citrus: hand pick California desert oranges; soft toffee, marzipan and grassy malt; floral with peaches. Palate: still soft, silky and velvety; layers of white, citrus and stone fruits; more sliced apple, pears, orange, lemon and peaches; more toffee chews, chewy-grassy-malt, soft floral notes and gentle toasted oak notes. Finish: medium and light, but layered and pleasant; vanilla, fruits and oak gently fade. Comment: this may not be the world’s most complex whisky, but for 10 years and sub $70 it is pretty bloody good.” – $68