Glenmorangie Unveils The Lighthouse Innovation Distillery

Robert S. Hays

Innovation has been a buzzword in the scotch whisky environment for years. Distilleries tout their imaginative use of barrels, experimental barley sorts, and other versions as illustrations of experimentation. No 1 in scotch whisky has been extra ahead contemplating for for a longer period than Invoice Lumsden, director of whisky development at Glenmorangie and Ardbeg. He’s the man who sent whisky into area and one of two solitary malt distillers to pioneer cask ending in the 1980s and 90s. And now, with the opening of Glenmorangie’s new innovation distillery, The Lighthouse, Lumsden will have the opportunity to convey his wildest imaginings to lifestyle.

“The beauty of this plant is that it’ll enable me demo these factors,” Lumsden suggests, detailing that a lot of suggestions couldn’t be tried out on Glenmorangie’s major stills for the reason that of the distillery’s tight generation timetable.

The Lighthouse sits at the coronary heart of Glenmorangie’s historic web site but is obviously established aside. It rises various tales increased than the bordering structures, the stillroom paneled on all sides in modern glass. The Lighthouse has been geared up with condition-of-the-artwork gear that permits customization and practically infinite tinkering at every move of the whisky-building procedure. It is far outside of what a normal scotch distillery can do.

Inside the Mad Scientist’s Lab

It commences with the to start with step: milling the grain. The Lighthouse will be capable to approach not just malted barley, but a variety of grain types. It’ll even approach non-grain components, which Lumsden claims he’s keen to function with. A strain cooker and variable mash tun let for extra flexibility at the mashing phase.

The action of yeast is the initially important setting up block of taste for whisky. Lumsden wrote his doctoral thesis on fermentation science, so obviously The Lighthouse will give him several resources in this arena. Fermentation usually takes put in temperature-managed washbacks, which are typical in other whisky industries but uncommon in Scotland. Manipulating the temperature will make it possible for Lumsden to ferment for extended times—a 7 days, two, probably much more. It will bring out further flavors and increased complexity in the whisky. “I’m hoping to build a complete variety of new and remarkable flavors,” he suggests, noting that fermentation will be the very first thing he performs all around with.

Points get far more intriguing in the stillhouse. “The stills have heaps of bells and whistles on them,” Lumsden states. “I have the capacity to create a full variety of various models of spirit—not just Glenmorangie’s vintage, floral, fragile model, but a considerably much more total-bodied style.” Diverse factors, like the skill to handle reflux and two diverse kinds of condenser, find the money for Lumsden substantial flexibility when building new whiskies.

Increasing the frontiers of whisky

Lumsden has been experimenting for over a quarter century at Glenmorangie. He made whiskies like Signet, which pushed the boundaries of the tightly regulated scotch marketplace by means of its use of closely roasted chocolate malt. Lumsden experienced to influence the notoriously finicky Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) that Signet achieved the rigorous skills of one malt. He may well have to do the same for long term creations from The Lighthouse.

He’s all set. “[My boss Thomas Moradpour, president and CEO of The Glenmorangie Company,] maybe thinks if I really do not tangle with the SWA then I’m not staying as thriving as I could be,” Lumsden claims.

Dr. Bill Lumsden inside the Lighthouse at the Glenmorangie distillery.

Dr. Invoice Lumsden in the tummy of The Lighthouse.
Courtesy Image

In addition to experimenting with yeast and fermentation, Lumsden will participate in close to with components outside of malted barley. Not just other cereal grains, but even non-grains like fruits, veggies, and more. He might perform with peat as nicely, though he suggests, “It’s not likely to be at the top rated of my checklist for the time staying.” Lumsden has no lack of tips. “Inspiration arrives generally from anywhere and everywhere you go,” he states. “I’ve acquired a very vivid creativeness. My creativeness usually operates away from me and lands me in difficulties.”

Even though he turned 60 previous yr, Lumsden has no options of retiring, in particular with The Lighthouse at his disposal. “The introduction of this distillery is something that will preserve me certainly intrigued and intrigued for lots of a long time to appear,” he says. “Frankly, the prospect of retiring fills me with dread and horror. I’d like to feel I’ll be all over for a handful of a lot more decades.”


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