It takes a brave person to mess with a winning formula, especially when it comes to an iconic single-malt whisky such as Glenmorangie, which has been perfected over generations in oak casks that are up to one hundred years old.
But Dr. Bill Lumsden, who for ten years has been the master distiller at Glenmorangie, is up to the task. Thankfully, he's an industry treasure, one of a very small group of alchemists who have the skill to make wonderful whisky. So if he says it's okay to change Glenmorangie, then it's okay.
The whole Glenmorangie range has been revamped and repackaged. The standard ten-year-old is now called the Original, and the eighteen- and twenty-five-year-olds remain in place but are the equivalent of a new model of car: same name, basically same shape, but a seemingly better engine.
The wood finishes have been completely overhauled, reduced to just three, and given new names. The best is Glenmorangie Lasanta, finished in sherry casks. It is vibrant, full and fruity, and it's fully recognizable as a classic Glenmorangie Highland-style malt—just one that takes the spirit into new territories.
Not all whisky lovers are pleased by the changes, it must be said. Their point: Why fix what isn't broken?Glenmorangie's answer is that the search for perfection never ends. Even after hundreds of years, great malt whisky can get better. Here's the proof.
If You Go
Glenmorangie Distillery (011-44/1862-892-477, glenmorangie.com). The spirits distilled here are the most popular single malts sold in Scotland.
Tain Golf Club (011-44/1862-892-314, tain-golfclub.co.uk) is the local Old Tom Morris classic. Twenty minutes north is Royal Dornoch (011-44/1862-810-219, royaldornoch.com), a course Donald Ross called "the most beautifully situated links in the world."
Glenmorangie House (011-44/1862-871-671, theglen morangiehouse.com), a short drive from the distillery, offers six charming rooms in the main house and three adjacent cottages.