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Glenmorangie Unveils its First Whisky Created Using Wild Yeast

The rich and fruity single malt Glenmorangie Allta celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Highland distillery's Private Edition series, and as with all great whiskies, it comes with a brilliant story.

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Glenmorangie Unveils its First Whisky Created Using Wild Yeast | House and Leisure

Marking the tenth anniversary of the Highland distillery’s pioneering Private Edition series, Glenmorangie has recently released its single malt Allta 2019, the first whisky created from a new strain of yeast growing wild on its own Cadboll barley. 

Yeast has always been a key ingredient in Scotch whisky. Alongside water and cereal grains, yeast is one of the three raw materials used to make this iconic spirit. But over the years, the yeast's impact on taste has been all but forgotten, with emphasis placed instead on other aspects of whisky making. With a background in yeast physiology, however, Glenmorangie’s director of distilling, whisky creation and whisky stocks Dr Bill Lumsden has always remained keenly aware of yeast’s potential.

Allta's rich, fruity single malt was inspired by Dr Lumsden's walks in the fields near the distillery, gathering precious samples of grain.

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Glenmorangie Unveils its First Whisky Created Using Wild Yeast | House and Leisure

Years ago, Dr Lumsden recalled a little-known story that the late, great whisky writer Michael Jackson had told him about a unique ‘house’ yeast that Glenmorangie was said to have possessed. So he began to further explore yeast’s influence on flavour. Walking 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 that could, significantly, be used in whisky creation. Intrigued to discover what effect this wild yeast could have on Glenmorangie’s spirit, he arranged for the yeast to be cultivated. 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. 

This was then transferred into superior ex-bourbon barrels, including second-fill casks, to showcase the fruity character given by the yeast. The rich, creamy whisky that 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 Lumsden 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.'

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Glenmorangie Unveils its First Whisky Created Using Wild Yeast | House and Leisure

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