Glenmorangie channels American rye for new expression

Jan 30, 2018by Owen Bellwood

Glenmorangie has expanded its Private Edition series with the launch of the brand's first single malt aged in ex-rye whiskey casks, called Spìos.

Spìos was inspired by a trip Dr Bill Lumsden – Glenmorangie’s director of distilling, whisky creation and whisky stocks – took to American rye whiskey distilleries. Lumsden said: “I have always loved American rye whiskey’s spicy character, and I believed our smooth house style would perfectly complement the nuances of ex-rye casks. "The result is Glenmorangie Spìos – a full-bodied, savoury single malt which brings to mind American rye whiskey’s golden age." Spìos, named after the Gaelic for 'spice', is aged in first-fill American rye whiskey casks, which were hand-selected by Lumsden and shipped across the Atlantic to the Highland distillery. Hoping to capture the heyday of American rye production, Lumsden said of Spìos: "Its fresh, herbal nose hints at cherry, clove and scents of green grass. The rye’s spice bursts on to the palate, as toffee, clove and cinnamon mingle with buttery vanilla, before a sweet and lingering finish – a single malt whisky which is unmistakably Glenmorangie, yet exquisitely different.” Rye whiskey found its popularity as the base spirit in cocktails, including the Manhattan and the Sazerac, and saw a rapid increase in production volumes between 2009 and 2016. Glenmorangie Spìos is non-chill-filtered, bottled at 46% abv and will be available from whisky specialists worldwide for £79 (US$110) from 30 January. The LVMH-owned distillery has also today announced that it hopes to begin expanding its Ross-shire site, with plans unveiled to add an extra still house.