Glenmorangie is one of the most famous and well-respected Highland single malts. The distillery has a long tradition of pushing the envelope with innovative approaches.
William Matheson founded the Glenmorangie distillery in 1843. Matheson, a prominent whisky figure, part-owned Balblair and had ties to The Dalmore through his relation Alexander Matheson.
Glenmorangie – which translates as “glen of tranquillity” – was built on the site of a former brewery, which had been in operation since 1738. The distillery was large for its time, producing approximately 90,000 litres of alcohol. Matheson completely rebuilt the site in 1887, and sold it in 1918. It had a number of owners in the years that followed, until it was bought by Moët Hennessy in 2004 for £300m.
Today, Glenmorangie is a global name but it was only promoted as a single malt from 1979.
Glenmorangie has been a pioneer of cask finishing since 1986. The distillery’s first release, 1963 Vintage, released in 1987, was finished for 18 months in ex-Oloroso butts. This tradition continues to this day under current Head of Distilling and Whisky Creation Dr Bill Lumsden. In addition to cask finishing, Lumsden and Co have also experimented with chocolate malt in the form of Glenmorangie Signet, and their own strain of wild yeast with Allta, released in 2019.
Glenmorangie is famed for long fermentation and distillation in the tallest stills in Scotland. At more than 16 feet tall, the stills – as tall as giraffes – allow long interaction between the vapour and copper. The distillery has its own water source, the Tarlogie Springs. The hard, mineral-rich water is key to the defining light and floral characteristics of Glenmorangie.
In 2021, LVMH showed the world a glimpse of the Glenmorangie Lighthouse – a new whisky lab, complete with a pair of eight-metre-high copper pot stills that can be adapted to create different styles of whisky. This new playground for innovation will experiment with raw materials and every other stage of the whisky-making process.