Major changes for Glenmorangie
Moet Hennessy, the owners of Glenmorangie whisky, has announced major changes to the Glenmorangie line of whiskies. The changes involve four key components:
- A change in the bottle shape
- New names, labels, and packaging
- The creation of a new range of whiskies
- Marketing to support these efforts
Looking at this from a pure whisky enthusiast perspective, the most important change here is the introduction of a new line of whiskies called the “Extra Matured Range”. This is essentially an evolution from the existing wood finished range of Glenmorangie. Glenmorangie Madeira Wood Finish and Glenmorangie Burgundy Wood Finish are being phased out. (If you like either of these whiskies, go out and buy them before they are gone.) They are being replaced by whiskies receiving additional maturation in Port wood and Sauternes wood. The Sherry wood expression remains.
[As a side note, it seems like the phrase “finished” is, well, finished. Bruichladdich now uses the phrase “Additional Cask Enhancement (ACE).” Glenmorangie is using “Extra Matured.”]
Perhaps the most significant change is that these three whiskies in the Extra Matured Range will all be bottled at 46% ABV and non chill-filtered, rather than 43% ABV, which should enhance the whisky’s texture and flavor profile. All are matured for ten years in bourbon casks before being matured in Port, Sherry, or Sauternes cask for at least an additional two years. Consequently, they will be at least 12 years old.
The whiskies are also getting new names, as the press release states, to reflect “provenance and spirit characteristics.” While they may sound French, they are actually Gaelic. The sherry cask matured expression is called Lasanta, which means ‘warmth’ and ‘passion’ in Gaelic. Glenmorangie extra matured in a Port pipe is being called Quinta Ruban. Quinta refers to wine estates in Portugal, while ‘Ruban’ is Gaelic for ‘ruby’, reflecting the whisky’s color. Finally, the French Sauternes version of Glenmorangie is being called Nectar D’Or. Both French and Gaelic translations of ‘Or’ means ‘gold’, referring to the whisky’s color.
These new names might take a little getting used to. I hope it doesn’t create alienation to novices who are already having difficulty grasping whisky names like Laphroaig and Auchroisk (or even Glenmorangie, for that matter). But who knows? It could benefit Glenmorangie, and the industry as a whole, by injecting some vibrancy and curiosity into the category. Only time will tell.
According to Mark Izatt, Glenmorangie’s U.S. Senior Brand Manager, in addition to the Extra matured Range, the Ten Year Old will remain and be called Glenmorangie Original. The 18 Year old also stays (with the name “Extremely Rare”), the 15 year old is getting phased out, and a new 25 year old is being introduced, which will be known as “Quarter Century.” There will also be a price increase for the Extra Matured Range, as Mark notes, “to reflect the increase in strength to 46% ABV.”
The new bottle shape and label design is very attractive, as you can see by the enclosed image. The company is also moving from tubes to cartons to package the bottles for sale. The new whiskies should be in circulation within a couple of months.