Highland /

Glenmorangie

In the far north of Scotland on the banks of the Dornoch Firth lies Glenmorangie Distillery, arguably Scotland’s best selling malt producer, making some 10 million bottles per year.

Glenmorangie’s routes date back to the 1730s when a brewery was built on the site of the Morangie farm. It wasn’t until 1843 that the distillery was established by David Sutherland. Typically of highland distilleries of the era, the renovation was done on a shoestring budget and two second hand gin stills were purchased. Gin had fallen out of fashion after the Gin Acts of 1736 that had tried to stop the mass consumption of gin, as popularised by William of Orange as an alternative to Brandy and polluted water!

William Matheson, founded the the distillery and renamed the site Glenmorangie to give it Scottish association, important during the Victorian era as Scotland’s popularity rocketed. The distillery was sold the distillery to Leith-based blender MacDonald and Muir in 1918 who had produced the popular ‘Highland Queen’ whose namesake was Mary, Queen of Scots who landed in Leith on her return from France in 1561.

Production was booming across all Scotch Whisky distilleries but prohibition and the great depression in the USA changed the industries fortunes and glenmorangie was Mothballed for 5 years in the 1930’s and again in the 1940’s due to World War Two and the short supply of the raw ingredients of Barley.

by 1948 production had returned to pre-war levels and, buoyed by strong sales internationally the number of stills was increased from two to four in 1977. By 1982 the distilleries water supply the Tarlogie Spring had come under threat and was struggling to provide the distilleries insatiable ned for spring water, so the distillery purchased around 600 acres of land around the Spring to ensure future production was safe. The increase in available water allowed a further expansion from four to eight stills in 1990. Four more stills were added in 2009 bringing the total to twelve.

The oak barrels in which Glenmorangie ages comes from distillery-owned woods in the Ozarks Mountains of Missouri. Once harvested the wood is air-dried for 24 months before being built into barrels and leased to Tennessee whiskey manufacturers for four years. The cask is then shipped to Scotland and filled with Glenmorangie spirit, giving the finished whisky a sweet finish in part from the bourbon soaked oak.

The Macdonald family retained ownership of the company until 2004 when it was sold to the French drinks and fashion conglomerate Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton for £300 million.

The name is pure Victorian marketing. Glenmorangie is loosely Gaelic for ‘The Glen of Tranquility”, although the distillery doesn’t sit in a glen.

Glenmorangie Distillery
Tain
Highland
IV19 1PZ

Glenmorangie.com

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