Water to Whisky

  • This is the story of how local barley and mineral-rich water are fermented, distilled and matured into our unique, delicate whisky.

  • Malting

    The first thing we'll do is add a small amount of water to the barley, forcing germination. This barley is then ground into a powder called 'grist' so that the sugar produced during germination can be accessed more easily.


    The grist is mixed with hot water in a large vat called a Mash tun. It is here that the barley starch will be converted into sugar. The resulting sugary liquid is then passed into the washback where yeast is added, triggering the extremely lively process of fermentation that sees the sugar finally turn into alcohol


    A dark beer-like liquid of about 8% alcohol is passed from the washback into our double distillation process. Here the liquid is heated, condensed, and heated again in order to gradually separate alcohol from water.


    Having seperated the finest part of distillation, this so called 'spirit cut' is locked away in American white oak casks for at least 10 years. This gives the bourbon or Tennessee-seasoned wood time to gently infuse our spirit with layers of delicate flavours.


    After its 10-year stint in American white oak casks this whisky is now ready to be called Glenmorangie Original. At this stage it can either be bottled or, if we wish to create an expression from our extra-matured range, transferred into a specially selected cask for two more years.


    This is where the seed will start to grow shoots, converting fatty stores within into starchy tendrils growing out.


    Our very own ancient spring produces water that, having spent 100 years underground, is unusually rich in minerals.


    We separate large particles from the sugary liquid found in the mashtun before feeding them to cows, the lucky little things.


    The copper helps purify the vapours, and the fact we have the tallest stills in the industry means that we create a more elegant and complex spirit.


    In a process that hasn't much changed for a hundred years the 'spirit cut' will be separated from the rejected 'foreshots' and 'feints'.

  • TAX

    At Glenmorangie we are maturing so much whisky that if we were to empty our warehouses tomorrow, the tax bill alone would exceed £700 million!


    Extra matured in Port pipes from Portugal this expression has developed a ruby red colour and velvety rich smoothness.


    Having spent a further two years maturing in Spanish Oloroso sherry casks this extra-matured whisky has acquired added spice and nuttiness.


    During maturation about 2% of the whisky in each barrel will evaporate every year. They call this the 'angels share' and it equates to around 120 million bottles 'lost' throughout Scotland.


    It's within rare Sauternes 'barriques' that this expression begins to take on its lemony, sumptuous finish.