Whisky Advocate

Ask Bill Lumsden questions about Ardbeg and Glenmorangie

September 8th, 2009

I’m spending Monday Morning, September 14th, with Dr. Bill Lumsden, the creative genius behind Ardbeg and Glenmorangie. Just like last year when I was with him, once again I am going invite you to post some questions here that you would like me to ask him. I can’t promise that I will get all of the questions answered, but I’ll do my best within our time constraints.

So, fire away. What would you like to know about Ardbeg and Glenmorangie? I’ll print out your questions and bring them along with me when I see him on Monday.

24 Responses to “Ask Bill Lumsden questions about Ardbeg and Glenmorangie”

  1. ioeverga says:

    My first question: I’m generally interested in how many casks that go into one batch or bottling-series at Ardbeg.

    How many casks are needed to achieve an acceptable consistency in the product?

    My second question: When comparing pre- and post-Glenmorangie produced whisky at Ardbeg (e.g. when comparing “Old” and “new” Ardbeg TEN, there are noticable differences in the smell and (after)taste of the peat, with the Pre-glenmorangie whisky smelling/tasting more towards cocoa, while the post-Glenmorangie smells/tastes more towards Pinewood and juniper.

    Is this difference due to maturation length or production characteristics, or something else?

    Best Regards
    Kjell Ø

  2. gal says:

    my Q:

    when are we going to see more types of whisky.

    lets say 10 year old, 12 year old, 16 year old 30 year old?

    and, why do the prices of the new malts are so high?

  3. patrick says:

    For the supernova, very heavily peated malt has been used. Such heavily peated malt has been distilled every since the first batch was produced?
    Kildalton has been produced here and then. When can we expect the next Kildalton Ardbeg.
    Prices of Ardbeg Single malts are increasing every year. Do you intend to sell soon the Ardbeg Ten for £45-50 a bottle?
    Do you still have some cask from the 1970s?
    What is the proportion of sherry casks that you are using now?
    With the corryvreckan, you used french wine casks. Any plan of releasing some Ardbeg 100% french wine cask matured? What about the madeira?

    Glenmorangie: Any plan of producing some lightly-medium peated malts?
    With the signet, you used the “chocolate” barley. What are you going to use next? Bere Barley? Organic Glenmorangie?
    What has been the results in term of sales with the change of bottle and price for the Glenmoranige 25?
    Any plan for releasing some new oak matured Glenmor such as the Burr Oak?

  4. PeterD says:

    I’d like to know if there are any plans to get a little more aggressive in marketing Ardbeg in the United States, especially the more unique or less-mainstream products?

    At a recent whisky tasting event in New Jersey we had a representative of Highland Park do a full flight tasting with a great brand ambassador. By comparison, Ardbeg had three whiskies and a corporate rep from the U.S. importer who had very little knowledge of the product. When can we expect to see Renaissance? Corry? Supernova? Committee bottlings?

  5. Scott says:

    I would like to know if there are any plans to release any more finished (Sherry, Port, etc..) scotchs from Glenmorangie? I am a big fan and in the retail end of the industry.

  6. Rick says:

    From a Scott who has yet to make it to Scotland. Just a couple basic questions that I am totally curious about regarding inventory at Glenmorangie and Ardbeg.

    1. What are the ages of the oldest whiskys you still have maturing in the warehouses that you would say have yet to reach their prime?

    2. Can you give a ball park figure of the total number of casks of maturing whisky you have at your Glenmorangie and Ardbeg warehouses?

    Just having a wee dram of the Artisan Cask right now, cheers!

    Rick MacDonald

  7. […] Got a question for the genius behind Glenmorangie and Ardbeg? […]

  8. Can you produce more creative whiskey if there were not the rules that only barley and yeast must use for whiskey?

    The barrel which you use admits any kind.

    What do you think that it has any kind of fragrance and taste?

    Katsuhiko Takemoto (Japan)

  9. Euan says:

    Hi Bill, thanks to you and Ardbeg for the apparent upswing in interest in the US market, as shown by the Corryvreckan and Supernova releases. How exactly is the Corryvreckan composed? I tasted the Committee release and thought it was well constructed. As someone who experiments with vatting Ardbegs, what is your process? There is a great deal of transparency by Buffalo Trace for their high end releases such as the George T Stagg bourbon, and a similar level of detail would be appreciated.

  10. Maltakias says:

    I’m gonna be straight-away with you.

    What’s going on with all the premiumisation thing?

    How many “limited” Ardbegs do you have in plans?

    Do you find that prices from 50 up to 150 EUROS for NAS whiskies(supernova,signet,sonnalta,etc) is normal?

    What was this BLASDA all about?

    I don’t think you will answer any of these,but believe me,many malt funs are considered about them.

    Thank you

  11. Tim Puett says:

    Hello Bill,

    As Euan mentioned above, I want to thank you for your attention to the US market shown in the year of 2009, and the hurdles you all had to go through to get a Committee bottle Stateside.

    I make no secret of my fervent support for Ardbeg (as witnessed by my site “”), and I want to ask you a simple question. Will you ever release a Single Cask for the US market?

    We’ve seen releases for Japan, France, Italy, Germany, UK, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Hong Kong (DF), special organizations, Distillery only, online only, Feis Ile, Committee and even Hotel Bars of the World. However, no US release. Any love for the States?


  12. Christos says:

    Regarding Ardbeg, what is the percentage of casks maturing on the mainland and not on Islay?

    Regarding Glenmorangie, I liked the 15y.o. (more than the 18y.o. I must say). Will there be a new 15y.o. coming? and if yes how soon?

    Regarding both of them, have you ever thought of an Ardbeg/Glenmorangie vatted malt? Have you done any experiments?

  13. B.J. Reed says:

    Great questions everyone – Thought I would move over to more the staffing since of things – You have two relatively new distillery managers (Micky Heads and Andy MacDonald) – What role do the managers play in helping define the product and shape the direction of new expressions versus the role that you and others play in the mix?

  14. Peter Benkoczki says:

    I would like to know if you really do not use caramel or other colouring in any Ardbeg whisky? Thanks in advance!
    Peter Benkoczki

  15. Louis says:

    In your opinion, what is the ‘perfect’ age for Ardbeg. By that I mean, the sweet spot where the peat attack still is present, but has added complexity froma additional aging.


  16. chuck norman says:

    thanks the opportunity John..
    my question:
    -the Corryvreckan replaces the Airigh nam Beist?
    -yhe Corryvreckan matured in french oak cask.what kind of cask?ex-wine?ex-cognac?or?

  17. riaan says:

    Q Why do we only get Ardbeg 10 in South africa? Thanks for a great whisky.

  18. H.Diaz says:

    A cask strength Glenmorangie would be nice. At around a $100 US would be even nicer. Count me in.

    Love the cask/high strength Ardbeg’s, keep them coming.

  19. Tim Puett says:

    H.Diaz: Glenmorangie Astar is a cask strength Glenmorangie. It’s less than $100 also…

  20. H.Diaz says:

    Ah, yes, Astar. How can I forget? It’s relatively new and I have seen it once or twice. Need to add it to my growing wish list. 57.1% abv is exactly want I’m asking for. My mistake. Thanks, Tim.

  21. Tim Puett says:

    H.Diaz…easy to forget as it isn’t advertised much here.

    One other question for Dr. Lumsden. Why is the Glenmorangie 25 nearly 3x the price in the US as it is in the UK?


  22. David Kaye says:

    I’d like to know when Signet will get a U.S. release. Right now, I’m only able to pick it up when I’m in the UK.

  23. Sean says:

    David the signet has been released in the US. It has been here for at least a couple of months.

  24. Cary says:

    I hope I’m not to late to ask Bill how one can recognize the “new” 10yo Ardbeg 46%. Is it the change in packaging from Single Islay Malt to Islay Single Malt or is it to be found in the bottling codes: L 8, L 9, etc.

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