Glenmorangie Private Edition Series Turns To Wild Yeast For 10th Whisky - The Whiskey Wash

Glenmorangie Private Edition Series Turns To Wild Yeast For 10th Whisky

By Nino Marchetti / February 11, 2019

The Glenmorangie Private Edition Series has long been a favorite Scotch whisky line up we like to write about in the early part of each new year. Each previously bottling, as is outlined at the end of this article, has been both unique in scope and an award winner. Now, for the 10th bottling, the distillery has turned to the concept of yeast and its impact on flavor in the whisky making process.

Glenmorangie Allta (Scots Gaelic for ‘wild’ and pronounced ‘al-ta’), according to those behind it, is the first single malt created from yeast growing wild on the distillery’s own barley. As the specific story goes around this, the distillery’s Director of Distilling, Whisky Creation & Whisky Stocks, Dr. Bill Lumsden, has a background in yeast physiology, and thus understands the full potential of yeast on flavor. It is said that

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 – which inspired Dr. Bill to explore wild yeast’s effect on Glenmorangie’s spirit.

Dr. Bill collected a few ears of Cadboll barley in the fields near the distillery and after analysis in the laboratory, he discovered Saccharomyces diaemath, a species of wild yeast unidentified until that point. He arranged for the yeast to be cultivated and brought it together with the distillery’s barley in the whisky-making process. Then, he transferred this spirit into superior ex-bourbon barrels, including many second-fill casks, to showcase the fruity character given by the yeast.

Glenmorangie Allta is a worthy whisky with which to mark the Private Edition’s tenth anniversary,” said Lumsden in a prepared statement. “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 chili, Glenmorangie Allta opens up compelling possibilities for the future of Scotch whisky.”

Glenmorangie Allta

Glenmorangie Allta (image via Glenmorangie)

Plans call for Allta to price around $100 and bottled at 51.2% ABV. Official tasting notes suggest the following for this pale straw colored Scotch:

  • Aroma: 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 chili and delicate, dancing, floral notes.
  • Finish: Long and earthy with hints of bittersweet orange and peppermint.

Expect Allta to have a global release starting pretty much now. As for the other whiskies in the Glenmorangie Private Edition series, here they are as previously mentioned in order of release:

  • 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 Medal) 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 flavor 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.