Introducing Glenmorangie Allta: the 10th Glenmorangie Private Edition is all about the magic of a special yeast

Malted barley, water, yeast. There’s just three core ingredients in single malt Scotch whisky. Much is made of the water source a distillery uses, and the way the malted barley is kilned. But the 10th Glenmorangie Private Edition is putting the spotlight back on yeast.

Glenmorangie Allta is the 10th release since 2009 in this rare and limited edition series of malts, and it draws its name from the Gaelic word for wild, pronounced ‘al-ta’, because this release is all about the importance of yeast when it comes to building the myriad of flavours in Scotch whisky.

Yeast has always been a key ingredient in Scotch whisky. But over the years, its impact on taste has been all but forgotten and emphasis placed on other aspects of whisky-making instead. With a background in yeast physiology, however, Glenmorangie’s Director of Distilling, Whisky Creation & Whisky Stocks, Dr Bill Lumsden, 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 Lumsden won the ISC’s Master Distiller of the Year award in 2018, and was named International Whisky Competition’s Master Distiller of the Year
2016 and 2017.

As Dr Bill walked the barley fields near the Distillery, he was inspired to collect a few ears of Cadboll barley and take 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, to create an exceptionally fragrant spirit. He then transferred this spirit into superior ex-bourbon barrels, including many second-fill casks, to showcase the fruity character given by the yeast. The rich, creamy whisky which emerged years later, unveils a new seam in Glenmorangie’s character.

This landmark malt embodies Glenmorangie’s creativity. Since 2009, the series has allowed the Whisky Creation Team to explore rare cask finishes, experiment with raw ingredients and give their imagination free rein. Dr Bill said: “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.”

The barley growing near the Glenmorangie Distillery harboured a previously unidentified yeast, and is used in making Allta.

The Banter

Glenmorangie Allta marks the 10th anniversary of Glenmorangie’s award-winning Private Edition series, for which an intriguing, limited-edition single malt whisky has been released every year since 2009.

Glenmorangie Allta (Scots Gaelic for ‘wild’) is the distillery’s first single malt to be created with yeast discovered growing wild on its own barley.

Dr Bill Lumsden was inspired to create Glenmorangie Allta as he gathered samples of Cadboll barley from fields near the distillery. Discovering that the barley nurtured a previously unidentified species of wild yeast, he set out to bring the two together in this innovative whisky – using the wild yeast to carry out fermentation exclusively on the local barley from which it came.

Revealing the importance of yeast to the myriad flavours found in Scotch whisky, Glenmorangie Allta’s rich and fruity character opens up compelling possibilities for the future of single malt.

Tasting Notes

Colour: Pale straw.
Nose: Rounded, biscuity/yeasty tones. Gentle floral notes (carnations & Parma Violets), baking bread, very gentle vanilla, soft raisins and sweet mandarin orange.
Taste: Crisp citrus ‘bite’ to the mouthfeel. Butter candy, creamy vanilla, orange syrup with yeasty background. Gentle mint, the tiniest hint of sweet chilli and delicate, dancing floral notes.
Finish: Long and earthy with hints of bitter sweet orange and peppermint.

For more information contact your Moet-Hennessy representative.