Whisky Focus - Glenmorangie Lighthouse Onsite Innovation Distillery

Glenmorangie Lighthouse A New Onsite Innovation Distillery


10th September 2021
Glenmorangie today opened the doors to Glenmorangie Lighthouse, a new ground-breaking innovation distillery within the Glenmorangie distillery site.

Glenmorangie Lighthouse Distillery

The innovative and creative folks at Glenmorangie, led by Director of Whisky Creation Dr Bill Lumsden, have been busy once again, today Dr Bill and his team opened the doors to a new home for Glenmorangie whisky creation where they can let their imaginations run wild, a ground-breaking innovation distillery within the Glenmorangie distillery site which they have named the Glenmorangie Lighthouse.

As whisky fans will be well aware, Glenmorangie has been pushing single malt boundaries for decades with the creation of some stunning expressions over that time. From pioneering wood finishing to Glenmorangie Signet unparalleled mocha flavours, and the ground-breaking Private Edition series, Director of Whisky Creation Dr Bill Lumsden is endlessly experimental in his quest to dream up delicious whiskies for more people to enjoy. His "What if...?" approach has inspired the Lighthouse, the first on-site innovation distillery dedicated to a single malt brand and created solely for experimentation. Conceived to bring Dr Bill’s most extraordinary ideas to life, it is a playground where he and his team can let their imaginations run wild.

The innovative multi-million-pound Lighthouse Distillery stands at the heart of Glenmorangie’s Highland Distillery, with its 20m-high glass stillhouse a new landmark for the site where Glenmorangie has been creating its single malt since 1843.

Looking out over the Dornoch Firth, Glenmorangie’s Lighthouse recalls the many lighthouses dotted along Scotland’s dramatic coastline, originally built to help sailors navigate coastal waters. Designed by Paris-based Barthélémy Griño Architects, it will give Glenmorangie’s whisky creators unparalleled flexibility at all stages of their whisky-making, enabling them to vary the character of their spirit as never before. The innovation distillery has been created for experimentation rather than yield. Areas of innovation include:

  • Glenmorangie Lighthouse stillThe Lighthouse: This stunning glass tower offers all Glenmorangie’s visitors a glimpse of its two copper stills. Modelled on the 12 giraffe-high stills in Glenmorangie’s main still house, these new stills have been custom-designed by the Distillery’s whisky creators.
     
  • The Stillhouse: Equipped with two of the giraffe-high stills which will enable them to alter Glenmorangie’s spirit character in ways previously unimagined. For instance, by being made able to act as if they are shorter, they can create a heavier spirit, more akin to that created at Glenmorangie’s sister distillery, Ardbeg. By contrast, the stills can also be made to act as if they are even taller, to create a spirit even lighter than that which Glenmorangie already creates. Behind the Lighthouse’s glass façade is a wood-aluminium hybrid cladding. To reflect the delicious impact that wood has had on Glenmorangie’s taste over time, the cladding has been created with the bourbon and sherry casks used to create the limited expression Glenmorangie Lighthouse.
     
  • The Brewhouse: Next door, in this traditional-style building, experiments with barley, water and yeast will take place during mashing and brewing. These stand-alone facilities (including a mash tun custom-designed to influence spirit character by creating different clarities of wort) mean that the Lighthouse can operate entirely of its own accord. This allows its experimental work to continue unhindered, while the main Distillery remains dedicated to satisfying the world’s growing demand for Glenmorangie’s delicious signature single malt.
     
  • The Sensory Laboratory: Crucially, the position of the sensory lab, and the innovative nature of the distillery means that the team will be able to study raw spirit, rather than the mature spirit they would more usually work with. They will be able to assess their experiments after every six-hour spirit run, enjoying the flexibility to alter recipes in ways which would never be possible in the main Distillery. Complete with a tasting room and terrace, this floor will also give spectacular views of the neighbouring Dornoch Firth, to inspire those inside.
     
  • The Power source: Glenmorangie is committed to preserving and sustaining its wonderful Highland surroundings. As a result, the Lighthouse will be partly powered by biogas, created in Glenmorangie’s own anaerobic digestion plant, from the by-products of distillation.
     

Dr Bill said: "Our Lighthouse is the new home of imagination. Here, we’ll indulge our most fantastical ideas as we strive to create a whole array of different flavours. We will play with raw ingredients and make small adjustments and big changes in ways never tried before. Nothing is off limits, as long as it’s delicious."

Thomas Moradpour, President and CEO of The Glenmorangie Company, said: "Global demand for Glenmorangie is growing significantly. The first of its kind, our Lighthouse experimental distillery is the keystone of our plans to stay at the forefront of taste innovation. By giving our talented creation team free rein, we will welcome even more consumers worldwide to enjoy delicious whiskies."

To mark the Lighthouse opening, Glenmorangie is releasing a limited edition single malt named Glenmorangie Lighthouse, a 12 year old single malt created with bourbon and sherry casks which they describe as a mouth-wateringly soft and fruity whisky (full tasting note below). Glenmorangie Lighthouse is a limited release of 3,000 bottles, it is now encased in the Lighthouse’s walls and is only available at the Distillery, its spectrum of flavours is said to be a sign of all the wondrous whiskies yet to come, it has a RRP of £85.

If you want to explore some of Dr Bill's whisky creations then you will find the current Glenmorangie whisky range as well as some earlier limited releases available from specialist online whisky retailers such as The Whisky Exchange, Amazon and Master of Malt
 

Glenmorangie Lighthouse Review


Glenmorangie Lighthouse is non chill-filtered and bottled at 48% ABV.

Producer's Tasting Notes:

Nose: Fresh, bright, clean and perfumed, with soft velvety vanilla, fresh red apples, honeycomb and the merest whisper of oak. With water, a curious ‘green’ note like fresh pepper and olive.

Taste: A silky mouthfeel leads into honey, almond, milk chocolate, apricot and fudge, with hints of icing sugar, baked oranges, honeydew melon, and, again very much in the background, soft, sweet resinous oak wood.

Finish: More orange, vanilla and oaky notes.
 

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