Glenmorangie unveils its first whisky created using wild yeast to mark tenth anniversary of Private Edition Series – Scotch Whisky News

Allta bottle & box on white

Glenmorangie unveils its first whisky created using wild yeast to mark tenth anniversary of Private Edition Series 

— Rich and fruity single malt celebrates tenth anniversary of Private Edition series —

29th January 2019: The first whisky created from yeast growing wild on Glenmorangie’s own barley, marks the tenth anniversary of the Highland Distillery’s pioneering Private Edition series. For a decade, Glenmorangie has invited whisky aficionados to explore its passion for innovation through this acclaimed series of rare and intriguing limited-edition single malts. Now, in the collection’s rich, fruity tenth release Glenmorangie Allta (Scots Gaelic for ‘wild’ and pronounced ‘al-ta’), the Distillery reveals the importance of yeast to Scotch whisky’s myriad flavours.

Yeast has always been a key ingredient in Scotch whisky. But over the years, its impact on taste has been all-but forgotten and emphasis placed on other aspects of whisky-making instead. With a background in yeast physiology, however, Glenmorangie’s Director of Distilling, Whisky Creation & Whisky Stocks, Dr Bill Lumsden, has always remained keenly aware of yeast’s potential. Years ago, he recalled a little-known story the late, great whisky writer Michael Jackson had told him, about a unique ‘house’ yeast Glenmorangie was said to have possessed. And he began to further explore yeast’s influence on flavour.

As Dr Bill walked the barley fields near the Distillery, he was inspired to collect a few ears of Cadboll barley and take them to the laboratory for analysis. There, he discovered Saccharomyces diaemath – a species of wild yeast unidentified until that point – and which, crucially, could be used for creating whisky. Dr Bill was intrigued to discover this wild yeast’s effect on Glenmorangie’s spirit. So, he arranged for the yeast to be cultivated and, when the barley on which it had grown was ready for use in the Distillery, he brought them together in the whisky-making process, to create an exceptionally fragrant spirit. He then transferred this spirit into superior ex-bourbon barrels, including many second-fill casks, to showcase the fruity character given by the yeast. The rich, creamy whisky which emerged years later, unveils a new seam in Glenmorangie’s character.

This landmark malt embodies Glenmorangie’s creativity. Since 2009, the series has allowed the Whisky Creation Team to explore rare cask finishes, experiment with raw ingredients and give their imagination free rein. Dr Bill said: “Glenmorangie Allta is a worthy whisky with which to mark the Private Edition’s tenth anniversary. Yeast’s influence on taste has been overlooked for years, but it’s an area ripe for exploration. With a nose of biscuit, baking bread and floral notes, and rich tastes of vanilla, orange syrup and sweet chilli, Glenmorangie Allta opens up compelling possibilities for the future of Scotch whisky.”

Bottled at 51.2% ABV, and non-chill filtered for extra body and texture, Glenmorangie Allta is available from from 29th January and from department stores and specialist whisky shops from 5th February, RSP: £79.

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Tasting Notes:

Glenmorangie Allta is non-chill filtered and bottled at 51.2% ABV.

Colour: Pale straw

Nose: Rounded, with biscuity, yeasty tones. Gentle floral notes of carnations and Parma violets, baking bread, very gentle vanilla, soft raisins and sweet mandarin orange.

Taste: A crisp citrus bite to the mouthfeel. Butter candy, creamy vanilla, orange syrup with slightly yeasty background. Gentle mint, the tiniest hint of sweet chilli and delicate, dancing, floral notes.

Finish: Long and earthy with hints of bittersweet orange and peppermint.

About Glenmorangie:

Glenmorangie Single Malt Scotch Whisky originates in the Scottish Highlands where, at
the Glenmorangie Distillery, it is distilled in the tallest malt whisky stills in Scotland for a purer spirit, expertly matured in the finest oak casks for great depth, and perfected by the Men of Tain, who have passed their skills down the generations, often from father to son.  These select craftsmen go to unseen lengths to ensure that Glenmorangie is made in the same unhurried, uncompromising way as it always has been.  The Distillery was founded in 1843 and is renowned as a pioneer in its field, uniting tradition with innovation.

The Glenmorangie Private Edition series:

Celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, Glenmorangie’s award-winning Private Edition series provides an annual opportunity for whisky lovers to experience a rare and intriguing single malt. Its acclaimed releases include:

Glenmorangie Sonnalta (International Spirits Challenge ((ISC)) 2009 and International Wine and Spirits Competition ((IWSC)) 2010 Gold Medals)

The first Glenmorangie finished exclusively in Pedro Ximénez sherry casks. 

Glenmorangie Finealta (IWSC 2012 Gold Medal)

Uniquely inspired by a Glenmorangie recipe from 1903. 

Glenmorangie Artein (IWSC and ISC 2013 Gold Medals)

The first Glenmorangie to be finished in Super Tuscan wine barrels. 

Glenmorangie Ealanta (IWSC and ISC 2013 Gold Medals and World Whisky of the Year in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2014)

Matured in virgin American white oak casks from the Mark Twain National Forest in Missouri. 

Glenmorangie Companta (San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2014 Gold Medal)

The first Glenmorangie whisky to be part-finished in Clos de Tart casks. 

Glenmorangie Tusail (ISC 2015 Gold Medal)

The first Glenmorangie created using rare floor malted Maris Otter barley, to explore the impact of the grain on the flavour of single malt. 

Glenmorangie Milsean (ISC 2016 Gold Medal)

The first Glenmorangie to be extra-matured in deeply toasted red wine casks. 

Glenmorangie Bacalta (IWSC 2017 Gold Medal)

The first Glenmorangie to be extra-matured entirely in bespoke Malmsey Madeira casks. 

Glenmorangie Spìos (ISC Trophy 2018)

The first Glenmorangie to be fully matured in ex-American rye whisky casks. 

Glenmorangie Allta

The first Glenmorangie created from wild yeast discovered on the Distillery’s own barley.

About Dr Bill Lumsden:

Dr Bill Lumsden is Glenmorangie’s acclaimed Director of Whisky Creation, Distilling & Whisky Stocks. Dr Bill is regarded by the malt whisky industry as an innovator, creating whiskies which have revolutionised the single-malt market. In recognition of his team’s work, The Glenmorangie Company was named Distiller of the Year at the IWSC in 2012. Dr Bill, who has a PhD in biochemistry, has combined art and science in his work since he joined The Glenmorangie Company in 1995. He is renowned for his groundbreaking wood management techniques, experimentation with exceptional casks at various ages, and use of wood-finishing. Dr Bill has won a series of prestigious awards and accolades. In 2015, he was named as the ISC’s Distiller of the Year. He was honoured with the title of Master Distiller/Blender of the Year, at Whisky Magazine’s Icons of Whisky 2016 awards. He also won the International Whisky Competition’s award for Master Distiller of the Year 2016 and 2017. In 2018, he was again named ISC Distiller of the Year.

About yeast:

Yeast is one of the three ingredients in Scotch whisky, alongside barley and water. It is added to the wort during the fermentation process, in which yeast converts those sugars present into alcohol. Many years ago, Scotch whisky distillers would have used their own ‘house’ strains of yeast. As times changed, many distillers began using a particular strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae (the species used by the drinks industry), which is very efficient in creating alcohol, and provides a neutral flavour. Whisky makers looked to other parts of their craft, such as maturation, to influence taste. Dr Bill, however, who has a PhD in yeast physiology, was aware that yeast’s ability to impact flavour was being overlooked. And in Glenmorangie Allta, he determined to showcase its influence.

About the creation of Glenmorangie Allta:

Although yeast is all around us – in the soil, on plants, such as barley, and even on our skin, not all species are suitable for use in distilling. Acting on his intuition, Dr Bill sent a sample of the  barley grown in fields near Glenmorangie’s Highland home, Cadboll, to be tested in the laboratory. There, he found that the yeast those ears harboured –  Saccharomyces diaemath – was ideal for creating whisky. He arranged for Saccharomyces diaemath to be cultivated by Glenmorangie’s yeast supplier. Then, when the barley on which it had grown was ready for use in the Distillery, he brought them together in the whisky-making process, to create an exceptionally fragrant spirit, which would perfectly demonstrate yeast’s impact on flavour. 

About Michael Jackson

Widely recognised as a leading authority on whisky, Jackson was a writer and journalist as loved by those in the industry as he was (and still is) renowned throughout the world. As well as writing about beer, Jackson wrote a series of books on whisky, including: Michael Jackson’s Malt Whisky Companion and Whisky: The Definitive World Guide. He received numerous accolades for his work and was named as a Master of the Quaich, by the exclusive, international society Keepers of the Quaich, which recognises outstanding commitment to the Scotch whisky industry. Jackson died in 2007, aged 65. 

Responsible Drinking:

The Glenmorangie Company advocates responsible drinking and suggests that drinkers savour Glenmorangie whiskies in moderation and in line with recommended daily guidelines for alcohol consumption.

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