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The Glenmorangie distillery is probably one of the best known in Scotland alongside Glenfiddich. The name Glenmorangie comes from either the Gaelic “Gleann Mor na Sith” which roughly translates as “valley of calm”, or “Gleann Mor-innse”, which means “valley of large meadows”. However they have opted instead for “the glen of tranquillity”. Known for being a game changer in the field of barrel management, today they are one of the top international brands of scotch whisky and regularly create new innovative bottlings.

Evidence of illegal whisky distillation in Tain, where Glenmorangie was eventually founded, dates back to around 1700. The Glenmorangie site began life as Morangie Farm in 1703 and while small scale distillation likely happened, it is known that in 1730 a brewery was built on the farm which eventually became a distillery in 1843. John and William Matheson bought the former Morangie brewery and began distilling alcohol in stills which were originally designed for gin distillation. As money was running low, the tall copper stills were used for whisky production. In 1887, the distillery was completely rebuilt and transferred into the ownership of the Glenmorangie Distillery Company Ltd. 

In 1918, Glenmorangie was acquired by the Macdonald family from Leith near Edinburgh. During the USA prohibition, Glenmorangie was a victim due to their popularity in that country and as such had to close down in 1931, however, production resumed in 1936. The distillery was expanded in 1976 with the addition of two new stills, however in 1980 the decision to close the onsite maltings was decided to much disappointment. But with closings there is more development with four more stills being added in 1990 and by 1997 Glenmorangie redesigned the old stillhouse into a visitor centre and museum.

In 2004, Macdonald & Muir, who owned Glenmorangie as well as Ardbeg, was acquired by the French luxury group Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy (LVMH) for around 300 million pounds. LVMH currently owns brands such as the Cognac Hennessy, the Champagne Moët and Chandon, Christian Dior and Louis Vuitton. LVMH increased the number of stills to 12 and established Glenmorangie as a premium brand on the international whisky market.

The distillery is noteworthy as it has the largest stills of any distillery in Scotland. At 5.14m high, their height guarantees a large amount of reflux and a delicately light and mild whisky. In addition to this, they only use it’s oak barrels twice to mature the whiskies, to help supply the amount of oak barrels needed, Glenmorangie actually bought oak forests in the USA.

The standard whisky of the distiller is the 10 year old Glenmorangie Original, which has been matured in ex-Bourbon barrels. It is very balanced with hints of citrus fruits and vanilla. Other releases include the 12 year old Lasanta which has been aged in ex-Bourbon and Sherry casks giving you lashings of sultanas honeycomb and hazelnuts, the 14 year old Quinta Ruban has been aged in ex-Bourbon and Port casks from Portugal which gives you flavours of mint chocolate, walnuts and a finish of sweet Oranges. Finally the Nectar d’Or which uses a sweet Sauternes cask to provide you with flavours of ginger nutmeg and toasted almonds.

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