La destilería de Glenmorangie se encuentra en Tain, uno de los burgos más antiguos de Escocia, fundado en 1066 en la región de Easter Ross.

Sus colinas, el agua de manantiales naturales de Tarlogie y la costa protegida resultaron el lugar perfecto para que nuestro fundador, William Matheson, comenzara a crear su whisky.

Tras adquirir la granja Morangie, situada en una bahía protegida a orillas del estuario de Dornoch en la costa del Mar del Norte, William Matheson se dedicó a convertir el edificio en una destilería para crear el whisky que luego iba a llamar Glenmorangie. El nombre Glenmorangie, en gaélico escocés, significa la cañada de la tranquilidad, y refleja la belleza de la zona.

Glenmorangie Descubre como se elabora el mejor wishky escocés del mundo. PLAY VIDEO


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Private Edition 9: Spìos

A most elegant innovation

The chandeliers glisten, strains of piano music float on the air – and men and women laugh and chatter, raising their glasses in elegant toasts. This is early 20th-century America. And, in the most prestigious saloons, American rye whiskey was the spirit of choice.

A century on, the long-lost taste of America’s golden whiskey era is born again in Glenmorangie Spìos, the latest annual release in our Private Edition series. Now in its ninth year, this acclaimed collection of rare and intriguing malts is renowned by aficionados for showcasing the Highland Distillery’s passion for innovation. And, as he reflects on the bygone elegance which inspired Glenmorangie’s first single malt whisky ever fully matured in American ex-rye whiskey casks, our Director of Whisky Creation, Dr Bill Lumsden, calls rye whiskey’s past to mind.

Glittering heyday

“There was a time when rye whiskey was the height of fashion,” he smiles.  “Indeed, at this time, rye whiskey was the drink to be seen with in America’s most prestigious saloons. It even inspired some of those classic cocktails we still drink today, such as the Manhattan. But over time, rye whiskey fell into obscurity and became rather forgotten.”


In the late 1990s, as Dr Bill travelled to the U.S., his interest was piqued by this little-known spirit – then created by only a few distilleries. “Rye whiskey was not well known at the time and its scarcity was alluring to me,” he recalls. “The spirit has a very intriguing profile, with all these distinctive, herbal flavours, spices, clove, cinnamon…  It seemed like a particularly sophisticated kind of whiskey – and I thought its taste profile would beautifully complement the house style of Glenmorangie.”


A smoother spirit

There and then, he vowed to harness American rye whiskey’s rare spice in a savoury single malt whisky. And so, long before rye’s recent resurgence came about, Dr Bill’s vision for Glenmorangie Spìos – a whisky entirely matured in American ex-rye whiskey barrels – began to take shape.


From the outset, Dr Bill knew that the success of this experiment would depend upon the inimitable character of our spirit, which is distilled in Scotland’s tallest stills. Its renowned smoothness would invite rye’s subtleties to shine through in a way that many other spirits would not” Dr Bill explains.


It would take more than 18 months for him to source the finest first-fill casks from rye whiskey’s heartland of Kentucky. He arranged for these hand-selected, heavily charred oak casks to be shipped to the Glenmorangie Distillery, where they would be filled with our new-make spirit.  Dr Bill adds: “For the whisky I had in mind, I was looking for a lot of goodness from the wood, so only a full maturation would do.”  Then, in a quiet corner of the warehouse in which some of his rarest creations come to life, these exceptional casks began to impart their intriguing flavours to the spirit within.


Exquisite spice

Years later, Dr Bill’s experiment emerged from its casks. As full-bodied and spicy as the whisky he had envisioned all those years before, this exclusive limited edition now takes its place in our Private Edition.


“The name Spìos, which is Scots Gaelic for ‘spice’, hints at the distinctive character that the whisky took from the rye barrels,” enthuses Dr Bill.  “The classically smooth taste of Glenmorangie’s spirit is beautifully balanced by all that wonderful spiciness of clove, cinnamon and ginger.  I love the way that these two subtle sets of flavours complement each other. The savoury sophistication of this single malt whisky is sure to delight the most discerning connoisseur.”

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Grand Vintage Malt 1991

A whisky of implausible harmony

Marrying two profoundly different wood-finished whiskies, Glenmorangie Vintage Malt 1991 is the fourth limited-edition release in our celebrated Bond House No.1 collection, created to showcase some of the distillery’s most scarce vintages. The collection was named after the largest of Glenmorangie’s 19th-century bonded warehouses which was home to our casks of maturing spirit until it was transformed into our towering still house in 1990.

Glenmorangie is famously one of the pioneers in wood-finishing, an art that was in its infancy when the spirit for Glenmorangie Vintage Malt 1991 was being distilled. At the time, our whisky creators were immersed in a period of intense experimentation, exploring a variety of new techniques and finishes.

While revisiting some of 1991’s rare parcels of wood-finished whisky many years later, Dr Bill Lumsden, Glenmorangie’s Director of Distilling, Whisky Creation & Whisky Stocks, was inspired to defy convention and bring together two contrasting whisky styles. While both had been long-aged in ex-bourbon casks, one of the parcels he selected had been finished in Oloroso sherry butts for sweetness and spice; the other in Burgundy barrels for earthy, truffle notes. He then expertly softened them with a hint of whisky that had aged in new toasted oak. Married together after 26 years’ maturation, they form an expression of exceptional intensity.


Glenmorangie Vintage Malt 1991 is a mellow dram with a rich, plum character. Its aromas of apricots, plums and baked apples lead to flavours of black pepper, ripe fruit and smooth milk chocolate on the palate, followed by a long, undulating finish.


Dr Bill says, “Bringing together two such incongruous whiskies goes somewhat against convention which, in part, is what drew me to the challenge of combining them. Glenmorangie Grand Vintage Malt 1991 honours the distillery’s pioneering exploration of wood-finishing in the early 1990s.”

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An original approach to wood

Wood is the vital spark in a whisky’s flavour. It contributes more to the taste of the spirit than any other ingredient or process. For that reason we take our wood management very seriously. We also approach it originally.


In The Beginning Was The Wood…

Whisky cannot be Scotch whisky – to be technical and legal about it – unless it has been matured in oak – only oak – for a minimum of three years. In the past, other woods were often used, chestnut especially, but nowadays it is oak which is required. To be Scotch, a whisky must be matured in a warehouse in Scotland. For us that means on the shores of the Dornoch Firth at the Glenmorangie distillery where our whisky can interact with a cool, damp Scottish scene!

Glenmorangie Original, our flagship expression, spends 10 years in oak. Some producers favour European oak, but for us it is American white oak which allows us to create the elegant, alluring Glenmorangie taste. Our pioneering research into the effects of wood took us to the Ozark Mountains of Missouri where we found the slow growth-wood which brings the greatest maturation effects. Slow-growth timber contains more of the porous growth which takes place in springtime and it is this wood which goes into our ‘designer casks’. But first it is air-dried (not kiln-dried). All drying reduces astringency and further improves the wood’s permeability, but it is air-drying which additionally brings out the soft and smooth qualities of our whisky.
The casks made from the slow-grown, air-dried oak are used for maturing Bourbon for four years and then shipped to the Scottish Highlands. Being American white oak they deliver the cleanest possible taste; and with a little more vanilla and less tannin they help reveal Glenmorangie’s natural sweetness and fruitiness.
Having gone to such lengths in creating highly specific casks, you might think we’d keep them forever. But actually, despite the expense of the proposition, we only ever use them twice: first-fill and one single refill. That’s because cask activity, the positive effects the wood has on the liquid – the purifying delicacy, the addition of fragrance, flavour and colour – diminishes after each fill. So for us the casks are exhausted after two uses.

Dr Bill Lumsden, our whisky creator, says that Glenmorangie Original’s delicate complexity is, above everything, the product of the considered wood search and careful cask creation:

“It is precision which brings about perfection and in the world of whisky there can be few more precise procedures than the creation of our designer casks, specifically the use of slow-growth American oak, the natural air-drying, the gentle toasting and the exacting Bourbon-seasoning. They are key to the floral aromas, the flavours of vanilla, peach and citrus and the qualities of delicacy and finesse which are at the heart of our house-style.”

To Finish Or Not To…

After ten years in first fill and second fill casks, Glenmorangie Original is ready to be bottled. Alternatively, after two more years finished in various and very specific sherry butts, it becomes Glenmorangie Lasanta; after two more years finished in Port pipes, it becomes Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban; or after two more years finished in Sauternes barriques, it becomes Glenmorangie Nectar D’Or. This is the art of extra-maturation, or wood-finishing, pioneered and popularised by Glenmorangie and now pursued by almost all in the whisky industry.