Introducing Glenmorangie Spios

Glenmorangie is proud to announce their newest Private Edition release, the ninth in a long line of annually released limited edition malts. Each edition explores new innovations and how they affect whisky.

However before we get into the details of this new malt, first we should go back. Back to 1949. Why? Because Glenmorangie was the first Scotch malt maker to release a whisky that was aged in ex-bourbon casks.

Take a second to think about that. 90% of all Scotches now use ex-bourbon casks, however it’s only been 59 years that we’ve been doing it.

As such, it makes sense that Glenmorangie would be the first single malt fully matured in American ex-rye whisky casks, Glenmorangie Spios (Scots Gaelic for spice and pronounced spee-oss, which has nothing to do with Frank Herbert). This no-age-statement, non-chill-filtered single malt is launching around the world now, and will be launching across Canada this Spring.

One of our members were proud to have been invited to a global tasting with Dr. Bill Lumsden and Brendan McCarron. And let me take a second right here to say this: If you ever have a chance to be around the two of these gentleman, you need to take it. They are one of the most intelligent and (even better) funny comedy duos in the whisky business, bar none.

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As part of the tasting, we were reminded first of Glenmorangie: The Original and Glenmorangie Nectar d’Or, as they lead up nicely to the Spios.

But how did this whisky come about? The current rage is rye whiskey. Is this fairly new?

Turns out, no. Jump back to the 1990s: A one Michael Jackson (the leading whisky writer, not the king of pop) enjoyed visiting Glenmorangie. He was a big fan of all things whisky, and passed along his most recent discovery, rye whiskey, with Dr. Bill Lumsden. This inspired Dr. Bill to visit Kentucky, and explore rye whiskey.

For those of you reading now, you know that finding an American rye is fairly easy. However not so much in the 1990s. At the time only 0.1% of casks sold to Scotland were ex-rye.

Yet somehow the cask seller was about to find some, and casks that had previously held 95% rye for at least 6 years were delivered to a (presumably) giddy Glenmorangie. And then Glenmorangie spirit was poured into it, to be aged for no less than 10 years.

Who supplied the rye casks? Dr. Bill has stated he didn’t pick a specific rye out of respect for all of the companies that make rye now, thus he’s not stating.

As a Canadian, I, of course, have to ask: Why not Canadian rye? Well it turns out we weren’t making rye whisky in the 1990s (that is to say, a whisky with a mashbill of at least 51% rye, as opposed to the colloquial term “rye” which we use for all of our whisky). Thus to have enough casks, they had to go American.

So be on the lookout for Glenmorangie Spios, and feel free to try it if you see it. A full review will be coming in the next few weeks, so stay tuned!

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