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Glenmorangie distillery began life as a brewery on the outskirts of Tain in the Northeast of Scotland. When William Matheson took charge in 1843, however, the site was converted into a distillery which he named Glenmorangie.
Matheson acquired a pair of stills from a London gin distillery and shipped them to Tain. Even though they have long since been replaced, their shape and design remain critical to the character of the Glenmorangie spirit. The tall, elegant necks of those stills have been replicated and Glenmorangie now houses the tallest stills in Scotland, allowing them to create a light, refined new make spirit.
Single malt whisky is distilled in copper for three main reasons. Firstly, copper is easy to work with and can be moulded to any shape or design. It is also an excellent conductor of heat and removes impurities from the spirit. The shape of still is of great importance to the character of a finished whisky with a taller, longer neck like Glenmorangie allowing for more copper contact and lighter, purer alcohol reaching the summit whereas squat, bulbous stills like Lagavulin for example, allow heavier phenolic compounds to rise, creating an altogether oilier, weightier whisky.
Glenmorangie takes great pride in the spirit produced in their tall stills and it would seem that they are not alone, as their single malt is the best selling in Scotland, and third best selling in the world.
The 10 year old Glenmorangie ‘Original’ is bottled at 40% and is available in the UK for around £35.
Smell: Malty with Vanilla, Orange and a little Chocolate. Also a Floral Heather note, some Cream and Lemon – like Lemon Meringue Pie.
Taste: Honey, Orange, a little Pepper, Vanilla and a touch of Coffee.
Thoughts: An entry-level single malt that’ll cost you around the £30 – £35 mark. I must confess, Glenmorangie isn’t a favourite of mine but it’s an issue of personal taste rather than any matter of quality. I can see the appeal but I just prefer something a little more robust. It’s light but carries decent flavour and would work very well as an introduction to the world of single malts.
*If the whisky reviewed in this article has caught your eye, you can buy it from Master of Malt here. Please be aware that as an affiliate I can be paid a small commission on any purchases you make after following links from my page. The whisky is also available from several other excellent retailers.