Whisky Focus - Glenmorangie 23 Year Old Dr Bill Lumsden x Azuma Makoto

Glenmorangie 23 Year Old Dr Bill Lumsden x Azuma Makoto

24th June 2024
Glenmorangie has collaborated with Japanese botanical artist Azuma Makoto for the packaging for a limited edition 23 year old expression, Glenmorangie Dr Bill Lumsden x Azuma Makoto, the first whisky ever from the Highland whisky maker finished in casks that once held Chardonnay white wine from the Meursault appellation in Burgundy.

Glenmorangie 23 Year Old Dr Bill Lumsden x Azuma MakotoGlenmorangie Highland single malt Scotch whisky to unveiled a rare limited edition that they say captures the essence of the natural world. The 'Glenmorangie Dr Bill Lumsden x Azuma Makoto 23 Years Old' results from a collaboration between Glenmorangie's Director of Whisky Creation, Dr Bill Lumsden, and Japanese botanical artist Azuma Makoto. This single malt, inspired by their mutual appreciation of nature, is said to embody the Japanese concept of shinra bansho, celebrating the interconnectedness of all things. Azuma Makoto has translated the whisky’s intricate notes of flowers, rain-soaked moss, and earthy nuances into a stunning botanical artwork displayed on the edition’s packaging.

During a visit to Glenmorangie’s Highland Distillery, Dr Bill and Azuma, a close friend of the brand, were captivated by the natural beauty surrounding them. Azuma shared with Dr Bill the idea of shinra bansho, encompassing everything from the earth to the sky. This inspired them to collaborate on creating a unique single malt that honours nature in all its forms.

Dr Bill envisioned a whisky that intertwines Glenmorangie’s floral characteristics with the subterranean world that sustains plant life. He began with a classic Glenmorangie, aged in bourbon casks, exuding aromas of lemon balm and orchids. He then blended this with Glenmorangie’s first whisky ever finished in casks that once held Chardonnay white wine from the Meursault appellation in Burgundy. The result is a whisky with notes of moss dampened by rain, burning oak, and the earthy scents of the forest floor, creating a rich, mellow, and profoundly deep spirit.

In his Tokyo studio, Azuma Makoto was inspired by the whisky’s flavours to craft his own masterpiece. He gathered orchids, roses, and various wildflowers from Scotland and beyond, weaving them through tree bark, roots, and moss. His intricate, flowing botanical sculpture, titled Shinra Bansho, pays homage to the evolving harmonies of nature. This beautiful piece, reflecting the layered complexity of Dr Bill’s creation, is showcased on the whisky’s packaging.

Dr Bill said: "Our collaboration with Azuma Makoto is a delicious celebration of nature’s wonder. Including our first whisky finished in Chardonnay casks from Burgundy, this 23-year-old single malt encapsulates nature in all its forms, through notes of lemon balsam, poached pears and cocoa powder layered on the oaky, earthy tones of the forest floor. Azuma-san’s stunning sculpture, featured on the whisky’s packaging, evokes the fragrant scents and elemental depths of this extraordinarily rare whisky – a gift from nature itself."

Azuma Makoto said: "I was honoured to partner with Dr Bill for this special celebration of shinra bansho. My sculpture is a response to my view of Earth’s blessings – my sense of gratitude for nature – and for the flavour of the Highlands, expressed deliciously in Dr Bill’s whisky."

The whisky will be available at select retailers in the UK, China, Japan, Taiwan, India, and the USA, as well as Glenmorangie’s inaugural boutique in Terminal 2 of London’s Heathrow Airport. It has already won over some whisky critics, earning a Double Gold award at the International Spirits Challenge 2024.

As you can imagine you will need deep pockets if you want to taste the Glenmorangie Dr Bill Lumsden x Azuma Makoto 23 Years Old, it has a RRP of £1,050 and you will find it available f
rom specialist online whisky shops such as The Whisky Exchange and Master of Malt

Glenmorangie 23 YO Dr Bill Lumsden x Azuma Makoto Review

Bottled at 46% ABV.

Producer's Tasting Notes:

Nose: Rich, heady and fragrant. A burst of syrupy fruits such as peach, pineapple, damson and plum, followed by some more savoury notes like burning oak bark, roasting chestnuts, baking sourdough bread and some hints of damp forest floor. Water releases some herbal and floral notes, with a touch of scented incense, aromatic orchids and even some grapey, vinous notes.

Taste: Rich, sweet and fruity, with an almost waxy mouthfeel. There are flavours of lemon balsam, honeycomb, poached pears with a dusting of cocoa powder, followed by some gentle woody or balsamic notes.

Finish: Lingering and mellow, with hints of eucalyptus, lemon and toasty oak.

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