Exclusive Media Invitation: Glenmorangie Technical Tasting with Dr Bill Lumsden, Director of Distilling, Whisky Creation and Whisky Stocks
A week ago I was invited to have a Glenmorangie technical tasting with Dr William (Bill) Lumsden who is the leader of The Glenmorangie Company’s legacy of pace-setting whisky creators. He oversees the creation of Glenmorangie’s beautifully complex and elegant spirit, from its birth on the shores of the Dornoch Firth in the Highlands of Scotland, through to its journey of maturation to deliver a range of renowned whiskies.
Dr Lumsden is regarded by the malt whisky industry as an innovator, creating sublime whiskies that have truly revolutionised the single malt market. In recognition of the work of his team, The Glenmorangie Company has been awarded the industry’s coveted Innovator of the Year for 2 years running, in 2007 & 2008.
Combining mastery of art and science, Dr Lumsden, a Biochemistry Phd, joined The Glenmorangie Company as Glenmorangie Distillery Manager in 1995, progressing to his current position as Head of Distilling and Whisky Creation just 3 years later.
Renowned for his ground-breaking wood management techniques, Dr Lumsden travels the world’s wine and spirit regions, searching for oak casks to impart unique characteristics to the company whiskies. When found, he experiments by marrying exceptional casks at various ages, to longer maturations. He is responsible for the Company’s pioneering, and now famous use of slow growth, air-seasoned Ozark Mountain oak barrels (known as ‘designer casks’) which form the heart of Glenmorangie expressions.
In recognition of his position as one of the world’s most knowledgeable and forward-thinking distillers, Dr Lumsden has been bestowed with a wide array of prestigious awards and accolades. He is unique in being honoured with The Malt Advocate Magazine Industry Leader of the Year Award 3 times, in 2001, 2006 and 2008. He was crowned as Whisky Magazine’s Ambassador of the Year 2007 (Scotland and Global), and only last year achieved ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Industry’ at the world renowned IWSC (International Wine and Spirit Competition) awards.
In 2011, the release of Glenmorangie Pride 1981, provides a peerless showcase for this unique talent. This is a whisky full of passion, patience and artistry. But his talent is also prodigious and diverse as proven by the recent launch of Glenmorangie Signet and private editions, such as Glenmorangie Finealta, which are released in limited quantities every 12 months.
Glenmorangie The Original
Full Taste Notes
Pale lemony gold
Imagine yourself in an Italian garden surrounded with mandarin, lemon, apple, pear and peach trees, their fruit ripening in the sun. Add to this the scent of vanilla ice cream, then enjoy the herbal aromas of geranium and wild mint growing nearby
Add water to The Original and you wander into a flower garden with lemony bergamot, apricot and mandarin. Floral notes of geranium, sweet honeysuckle and piquant narcissus mix with mint and the herbal essence of eucalyptus, nutmeg and ginger
Savour the fruits of the Italian garden as creamy vanilla slips like liquid silk over the tongue as peaches and cream, mandarins and lemons effervesce in the mouth
Aromatic essences of fennel and nutmeg tantalise with crumbly almond and coconut that gives way to a nectar that envelops all the fruit, spice and nut flavours in a honeyed caress
The charming sweetness of delicious juices is left on the tongue
Glenmorangie 18 Years Old
Full Taste Notes
The cornucopia of an autumn harvest festival table describes the overflowing abundance of arresting aromas that tantalise at the first nose of Glenmorangie 18 Years Old. The rich, resinous quality of nuts cascades into a crisp toffee sweetness of crème brulée, merging with caressingly smooth, creamy vanilla. Hints of vibrant oranges & lemons are found. Crunchy textured walnuts follow, oozing into golden honeycomb that trickles over sun-ripened sticky dates. Then sparkling floral tones emerge, taking the edge off any cloying sweetness, with the green, almost herbal bouquet of geranium, tempered with musky jasmine and the bright, sharp clarity of narcissus.
With water, 18 Years Old reveals a rich oaken, balsamic character that yields to soft vanilla. At this moment, the signature Glenmorangie fruity complex reveals itself in golden apricots and dates mingled with hazelnuts.
Glenmorangie 18 Years Old slips like silk over the tongue with a full, rounded flavour, starting with grapefruit & orange. The palate is then entranced with an accord of melting honey, creamy malt and aromatic florals that segue into the warm, syrupy nuttiness of hazelnuts and walnuts from the Oloroso sherry casks in which the whisky is matured. Savour the rich, sticky date and fig flavours as they are heightened by the unexpected caress of woodsmoke.
Lingering and enticing with the subtle sweetness of dried fruit and the nutty dryness of sherry.
Glenmorangie The Nectar D’Òr
Full Taste Notes
46% non chill-filtered
Tempted by the aromas wafting through the door of a French patisserie, you step inside to discover a tangy tarte au citron with its crisp pastry case and smooth lemony cream topping. Next to it is with its fluffy sponginess and milky vanilla aroma is a Genoise cake decorate with crystallised lime and orange peel. You can smell plump juicy sultanas, dates, warming ginger, coconut and nutmeg. In the background, gingerbread is baking in a wood-burning oven
Slip some water into the whisky to release the frothiness of lemon meringue pie and the rich aroma of baking fruitcake and warm gingerbread drizzled with crème anglaise
The smooth, melting creaminess of lemon tart leaves the mouth full of citrus tang that gives way to crème caramel and zesty lime. This is replaced by warming ginger coupled with the mellow nutty flavours of nutmeg and toasted almonds that add warmth and chewiness that melts into oozing lemon meringue and melting honeycomb
Languid and sweet with lemon zest, vanilla cream and delicate hints of ginger and nutmeg
Dinner in a dark, elegant panelled dining room, where a fire in the hearth illuminates the darkness, creating intriguing shadows and silhouettes. The dessert course is delivered to the table with a flourish as a waiter offers strong Aruba espressos or fresh mint tea to the diners. A chocolate torte, dusted with cocoa releases its aroma into the warm air to fuse with the steaming coffee and mint as layer after layer, Glenmorangie Signet reveals even more depth. Next, a dark, treacly plum pudding appears on the table, rich with sherry, candied orange peel and warming spices of ginger and cinnamon, bathed in a golden butterscotch sauce. Lastly, a dish of chocolate dipped dried fruits, dates and crisp cherries are placed on the snowy cloth
The contrast of melting rich sweetness with an explosive crackle of sizzling spices and bitter mocha is dark and delicious; a velvet explosion. The voluptuousness of baked apricots followed by the tang of orange peel. Add water and your senses are enveloped with cinnamon coupled with coffee beans, walnut oil and the maltiness of digestive biscuits. Poured over ice, the bitter-sweet flavour is enriched with nuts, raisins and warm ginger
A fresh spring like breeziness of mint and a bright lemony green quality
These Taste Notes were crafted by Dr Bill Lumsden and Anna-Marie Solowij, Former Beauty and Health Director, UK Vogue and twice-winner of the Jasmine Award for Fragrance Writing.