Whisky Focus - Glenmorangie Allta Private Edition 10

Glenmorangie Allta Private Edition 10

29th January 2019
Glenmorangie Allta, the 10th release in the innovative Private Edition series highlights the influence the strain of yeast used in whisky production can have on the final taste of a whisky.

Glenmorangie Allta Private Edition 10Its that time of year once again, when Glenmorangie unveil the next instalment of their Private Edition series, this year it is the Glenmorangie Allta Private Edition which is the 10th edition in the popular series and a whisky which aims to highlight the influence the strain of yeast used in whisky production can have on the final taste of a whisky.

The innovative Private Edition series is the creative handywork of Glenmorangie's Director of Distilling, Whisky Creation & Whisky Stocks, Dr Bill Lumsden and as always Dr Bill has come up with something off the normal beaten track of the core range of Glenmorangie whiskies we are familiar with.

Yeast has always been a key ingredient in Scotch whisky production but its importance is rarely mentioned, where in fact its impact on taste can vary depending on the strain of yeast used but in modern distilling most distillers use 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.

With a background in yeast physiology, Dr Bill, 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.

Dr Bill was inspired to collect a few ears of Cadboll barley from the barley fields near the distillery and took 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, which Glenmorangie tell me created an exceptionally fragrant spirit. The resulting spirit was filled to ex-bourbon barrels, including many second-fill casks, to showcase the fruity character given by the yeast. Glenmorangie tells me that the rich, creamy whisky which emerged years later, unveils a new seam in Glenmorangie’s character.

Dr Bill commented on the new Private Edition whisky saying: "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."

With Glenmorangie Allta (Scots Gaelic for ‘wild’ and pronounced ‘al-ta’), the Distillery reveals the importance of yeast to Scotch whisky’s myriad of flavours, bottled at 51.2% ABV it is non-chill filtered and has a RRP of £79, I haven't yet had a chance to taste so I cannot comment on its quality but the official tasting note is below for you to consider.

If you want to find out just how 'wild' Glenmorangie Allta is, it is now available from specialist online whisky retailers such as The Whisky Exchange and Master of Malt and The Whisky Shop

Glenmorangie Allta Private Edition 10 Review

Producer's Tasting Notes:

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.

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