The Lighthouse: Glenmorangie’s new distillery

The Lighthouse: Glenmorangie’s new distillery

Single malt Scotch producer Glenmorangie has opened The Lighthouse, the model’s new multi-million-pound innovation distillery.

Glenmorangie Lighthouse
The Lighthouse: Glenmorangie’s new innovation centre

Positioned on the identical web site as the unique Highland distillery, The Lighthouse is a 20-metre-high glass nonetheless home, designed for innovation and experimentation relatively than yield.

The nonetheless home is house to 2 custom-made stills, constructed to the identical specs because the model’s authentic ‘giraffe-high’ stills. Nonetheless, the brand new stills have sure extra options that can be utilized to change the spirits character by making the stills behave as if they’re taller or shorter than they’re.

Adjoining to the nonetheless home is the brew home, which has additionally been constructed consistent with the principle distillery. Right here, Glenmorangie will experiment with mashing and brewing. The brew home will embrace a custom-designed mash tun that may be capable of make completely different clarities of wort.

In the meantime, above the nonetheless home sits a sensory laboratory that overlooks the Dornoch Firth. It’ll give the model’s director of whisky creation, Dr Invoice Lumsden, and his workforce house to evaluate their experiments after every six-hour spirit run. The sensory lab additionally features a tasting room and a terrace.

To make sure The Lighthouse ties in with Glenmorangie’s sustainable targets, will probably be partially powered by biogas, which can be generated in Glenmorangie’s anaerobic digestion plant.

Lumsden mentioned: “The know-how in [The Lighthouse], significantly within the nonetheless home, just isn’t revolutionary, however I can’t consider every other nonetheless home within the Scotch whisky trade the place you might have break up condensers, copper and stainless-steel, you’ve received a water-cooling jacket on the neck, you’ve received a air purifier on the lyne arm; basically, we are able to recreate any model of distillation that we would like in that.

“New make spirit within the Scotch whisky trade is normally categorised, so Glenmorangie’s traditional flavour profile is floral and fruity, whereas others is likely to be waxy, sulphurous, peated, all this stuff. So The Lighthouse will enable me to create the complete spectrum of spirit kinds.

“The necks of Glenmorangie are the tallest within the Scotch malt whisky trade, however through the use of, for instance, the water cooling jackets on the necks to extend the speed of reflux, it’s virtually like metaphorically, I can double or treble the peak of the stills.

“I can’t off the highest of my head consider every other malt whisky distillery that has a built-in water cooling jacket on the neck of the stills – most likely when you appeared it’ll be someplace on this planet, however that is the primary time I’ve seen it.”

Restricted version Glenmorangie Lighthouse whisky

To have fun the opening of The Lighthouse, Glenmorangie has created a restricted version whisky: Glenmorangie Lighthouse.

Glenmorangie-Lighthouse-whisky
Glenmorangie Lighthouse is a restricted version whisky to mark the brand new distillery’s opening

The whisky combines liquid matured in Bourbon and Sherry casks, whose staves now adorn the partitions of The Lighthouse.

Bottled at 48% ABV with out chill-filtration, solely 3,000 bottles of Glenmorangie Lighthouse can be obtainable to buy completely from the distillery customer centre for £85 (US$117).

Tasting notes embrace aromas of vanilla, purple apples, honeycomb and a ‘whisper’ of oak. On the palate, flavours of honey, almond, milk chocolate, apricot, fudge, baked oranges, honeydew melon come by way of, resulting in extra orange, vanilla and oaky notes on the end.


Melita Kiely, editor of The Spirits Enterprise, was given a preview of The Lighthouse in August. She sat down with Dr Invoice Lumsden to study extra in regards to the new facility, and his plans for the positioning.

GLenmorangie Lighthouse
From afar: The brand new Lighthouse distillery overlooks the Dornoch Firth
How did the concept for The Lighthouse come about?

I went to the previous CEO, Marc Hoellinger, six or seven years in the past, and I used to be enjoying somewhat little bit of a sport with him and I mentioned, Mark, I’m bored, I want a brand new problem, I wish to do one thing else. I mentioned, off the highest of my head, when you give me £25 million I’ll go and construct a totally new malt whisky distillery, and I assure you I’ll make spirit even higher in high quality than Glenmorangie. I defined to him how I might do that.

He considered it and mentioned, Invoice, I like your thought, however he mentioned to begin a totally new model – and that’s what I used to be speaking about doing, it was going to be a totally standalone model, separate from Glenmorangie or Ardbeg – he mentioned it takes many, many, a few years to efficiently set up a brand new model. So he mentioned, how about I offer you this a lot, and also you do one thing at both Glenmorangie or Ardbeg. In order that’s the place the concept got here from. And it took two or three years to refine my thought course of to plan all of it out, and that’s after we received to The Lighthouse. And it was form of a no brainer to web site it at Glenmorangie distillery so we might label the output from that as Glenmorangie.

What was the inspiration behind the title, The Lighthouse?

As soon as we began working with the architects from Paris, an organization referred to as Barthélémy Griño, who’d been concerned within the design of Louis Vuitton boutiques and issues like that, and we met with them a number of occasions, they got here again with this concept of a tower. After we checked out it and noticed that it was a tower beside the ocean, we thought that it appeared like a lighthouse, and I truthfully can’t bear in mind who it was who first mentioned the phrase ‘lighthouse’ however that’s the place it got here from. We have been initially going to have a giant lamp on the prime however we determined to have the laboratory on the prime of the constructing so you’d get that magnificent view. And that’s the laboratory the place solely myself and my workforce will analyse the spirit.

What’s going to you do first at The Lighthouse?

We are going to proof the system by testing all of the tools; we’ll run the stills and distil, and ensure the condenser and the air purifier and all this stuff are working. The subsequent factor I’ll do is persuade Eddie [Thom], the distillery supervisor, to offer me one full wash again from the large distillery, so 48,000 litres of wash, and I’ll really run that by way of the stills. What I’ll be making an attempt to do is simply to make traditional Glenmorangie spirit. As soon as I’ve performed that, I’ll use some traditional calmly peated malted barley, the malted barley we use within the huge distillery to make Glenmorangie, and I’ll use that to check the brewing aspect of the package. So we’ll mill it, mash it and ferment it, after which we’ll put it by way of the stills. If we get all of that performed in two months, we’ll be doing effectively.

Solely as soon as I’ve glad myself that the distillery is able to making traditional Glenmorangie spirit, then I’ll begin to do a lot of various things. I’ve a 12-point, confidential, plan of the primary experiments I’ll perform on the distillery, and whereas we’re doing that we’re all going to be simply attending to know the plant and studying the way it works.

So as soon as we go into 2022, I can be severely doing issues that may create precise merchandise. Fairly when these will hit the market relies upon, and clearly if I’m planning on making and calling it single malt Scotch whisky – which I’ll not at all times be doing in there – then it’s going to be a minimal of three years earlier than that’s launched available in the market. In actuality it’s most likely going to be longer than that.

Dr Bill Lumsden
Inside scoop: SB spoke to Dr Invoice Lumsden (pictured) about The Lighthouse and his future plans
You mentioned you received’t essentially be making single malt Scotch. What else do you intend on creating?

Clearly, there’s a whole lot of issues on the market on this planet of whisky. There’s single malt Scotch, there’s blended Scotch, there’s single grain Scotch, Kentucky Straight Bourbon, and all these good issues. It’s extremely possible that I can be trying to make my very own model as a homage to a few of these different classes of whisky. However I can’t say an excessive amount of as a result of there’s a whole lot of confidentiality in there.

What’s the full capability of lighthouse?

If The Lighthouse was solely used to distil traditional Glenmorangie, now we have the capability to do as much as a million litres of alcohol [annually]; it’s a few sixth of the principle distillery. The primary distillery has six pairs of pot stills, and we are able to just do over six million. I don’t truthfully consider I’ll ever be utilizing it for that objective, if I do then one thing’s gone improper. However nominally it may make that.

What do you anticipate the output can be in first 12 months or two?

Once more, it’s somewhat bit tough to say as a result of we received’t actually know till we’ve began to make use of the brewing plant, which is a bit completely different. It’ll be just a few hundred thousand litres.

You’re identified for being experimental along with your whisky creation. How does it really feel to have this new house?

It’s very, very thrilling. I used to say to folks once they got here to Glenmorangie that this isn’t a malt whisky distillery, that is my huge experimental laboratory. So now I really do have a real experimental laboratory the place I can attempt a lot of various things.

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