Since 1843, Glenmorangie distillery has been producing its famous malt here on the shores of the Dornoch Firth. Though the complex of buildings has seen many changes over the years, Glenmorangie is still handcrafted to this day by the Sixteen Men of Tain using tried and tested methods that have been passed down from generation to generation.
The earliest documented reference to distillation on this site was in 1703, in the 'Tain and Balnagown Documents', and in the 1730s a brewery was established on the site. Tain's first legal distillery was established by David Sutherland in the early 1820s on a site at the west end of the town. On the 23rd June, 1826, the Inverness Journal advertised his property for sale, describing it as 'small but commodious'. Unfortunately for Sutherland, he failed to find a buyer, and although he was re-licensed for 1827, it appears he went out of business soon after.
The Glenmorangie Distillery was licensed in 1843, and rather than buy brand new stills, the Distillery manager found second-hand swan necked stills that had been used in a gin distillery. These, he decided, would do just fine. This is why our stills have narrow, arching swan necks individually hand beaten into shape by skilled coppersmiths. They are exactly 5.14 metres tall (or for traditionalists, 16 feet 10¼ inches): the tallest stills in Scotland.
The year 1887 saw the final establishment of the Distillery as a limited company by the Maitland brothers, who ran the architects' practice in Tain. Their partner was Duncan Cameron, the manager of the Commercial Bank. Soon, Glenmorangie was exported all over the world; mainly to expatriate Ross-shire folk in the Colonies, but also to fine hotels and businesses in Europe and the United States. One prestigious customer was the Savoy Hotel in London!
In 1915, the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders were billeted at the Distillery, with the maltbarns converted into makeshift barracks for the duration of the summer. This arrangement continued each summer for the remainder of the Great War. The barns were ideal for barracks, having plenty of free floor space and, of course, the Tarlogie Springs providing an ample supply of water.
Before the Great War ended Glenmorangie had passed out of local ownership, and was bought over by its largest single customer, the Leith based company Macdonald and Muir.
By the beginning of the 1920s, the rigours of wartime production had passed and the Distillery was running again with its full complement of Sixteen Men.
Securing a water supply had always been a problem at the Distillery: the Tarlogie Springs belonged to the local Laird, who leased the right to draw water from the springs to the Distillery company. However, the land surrounding the spring could be used by the Laird for any purpose - a situation which could have jeopardised the quality or quantity of the water. In the 1980s, there was a threat of building development near the springs, so Macdonald and Muir made sure that the water would be safe by buying 650 acres of the land surrounding the Tarlogie Springs.
In the 1990s additional stills were added to the still house to keep up with worldwide demand for Glenmorangie Single Malt. Then, in 2002, we introduced two more fermentation vessels (washbacks) as demand continued to increase.
Glenmorangie PortWood Finish
This whisky has been matured in American white oak casks before being ‘finished’ in a specially selected port pipe. With its deep, rich texture and long aftertaste, it’s perfect for topping off a good meal.
Colour: Antique golden copper, with a rosy hue.
Aroma: Butterscotch and dark chocolate predominate, but fresh minty notes and a dry aroma are also present.
Taste: A smooth rich velvet texture, with hints of chocolate.
Aftertaste: A long aftertaste, with a fresh minty finish.
Size: 70 CL