Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Glenmorangie (and the 16 men of Tain)

The Glenmorangie:
Whisky or some type of alcoholic beverage has been distilled in and around the lovely little Scottish town of Tain since the Middle Ages. Glenmorangie (pronounced Glen-More-Angie, Rhyme it with orangey) is the latest and many would argue the best of those efforts. Still it would be fun to hop in the old time machine and go back and try all the various libations available for the last 1200 years or so. But alas while that is not yet possible as all our brilliant young minds are eaten up with texting and yakking on cell phones all day instead of applying themselves to developing a time machine for my drinking pleasure. How terribly selfish of them to deprive me of this glorious drinking dream! Just as well with my luck I would arrive just as the Black Death hit and get burned at the stake as a witch for not speaking with the proper accent or being able to speak middle English or Scots Gaelic at all. Damn!
I had the great pleasure of visiting the Glenmorangie Distillery in June of 2009 along with my wife, two daughters and niece as we toured Scotland and deposited my father-in-law’s ashes in a place of great honor near a battle field in our ancestral home. The young lady that did the tour was Scotland gorgeous and an absolute delight. I mean well hell, a beautiful young lady that knows all about scotch and is articulate and friendly what could be better? It was a lovely tour and while a still is a still is a still, the tasting and sales room was very well done and the folks running the place were very nice to all of us while providing our dram at the end of the tour.
We even got to see a tanker full of scotch leave the compound headed for one of the big cities for bottling. Now there is a drinkers dream, a whole tanker of scotch. As Homer Simpson would say, “Scotch….Arrrggghhhhhhhhhaaa.”
On the label of a bottle of Glenmorangie one will find reference to the 16 men of Tain. This refers to an epic battle long ago that 16 men of Tain took part in and at the end of the battle only one man of Tain was left alive to tell the tail. Some believe that the TV and Movie series “Highlander” is based loosely on the story of the 16 men of Tain.
Tain is the home to the Ross Clan Museum. We have been there three times since 1996 as my wife’s Scottish heritage is that of Clan Ross. Ross in Gaelic is the word for peninsula so that is probably where the clan name came from way back when.
The production of beer started at the Morangie Farm in 1738 and in 1843 William Matheson bought out the place and converted the brewery into a distillery using two second hand gin stills and later renamed the distillery Glenmorangie. So while I have no great love for gin (it reminds me of nothing but evergreen trees doused with alcohol) I must say this was the best idea for the use of gin stills in the history of the Earth. I promise to give gin a try again in the near future just to be sure that I still don’t care for it, just to be fair.
The quality of the water is upper most on the ingredient list for top quality scotch and the Tarlogie Springs supply that good clean water for Glenmorangie.
All that hard work and dedication has paid off as Glenmorangie has a full 6% share of the single malt scotch market worldwide and produces around 10 million bottles a year selling around 65% of that in the UK.
It is not a smoky scotch and does come in several age groups and there have been some double and triple woods produced. I love the 15 year that spent 5 years in bourbon barrel oak, 5 in sherry oak and the final 5 in Madeira barrels. They don’t make that anymore as the lovely young lady explained to me people in Europe are not drinking Maderia as much so there just aren’t enough empty barrels to go round.
Whether you choose the single malt or one of their other fine whiskies you won’t be disappointed in any Glenmorangie product. If you are in Scotland the tour is worth the time and also visit the Tain museum in the little town anyone there can direct you. Stop by Harry Gow’s for some good pastries they are just a couple of blocks from the museum in the downtown section and there are 2 or 3 banks there you can change your money or use your credit card to get more. Lots of ancient Pictish standing stones are in this area too with one of them actually in the museum. It’s a really nice place with wonderful people and great world class scotch. You won’t be disappointed.
The Whisky Warrior



  2. Thank you for reading, I wish you many happy days with a dram in your hand.

  3. Enjoy your comments