The Bill Lumsden interviewNovember 15th, 2010
As I mentioned here, I had lunch with Dr. Bill Lumsden the day before WhiskyFest New York. Bill is the Head of Distilling and Whisky Creation for The Glenmorangie Company. That includes Ardbeg and Glenmorangie.
I asked you what questions you would like me to ask Bill. Here they are, with his answers.
Rumor has it there are no old stocks of Ardbeg. True?
Untrue. We have a limited amount. That’s why we stopped bottling Lord of the Isles. But we still have some. Watch this space.
Is Glenmorangie PLC going to buy a craft distiller in the U.S. like some other Scottish whisky companies are doing?
It’s very unlikely. If anything, there will be more focus on the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, which the company owns.
Which closed/mothballed distillery would you like to see active again?
Rosebank. It has always been a personal favorite, and I have several bottles saved for future enjoyment.
What made Ardbeg and Glenmorangie decide now to certify bottlings as Kosher? Any plans of new certified releases in the future?
We realized that a lot of Jewish drinkers were not drinking our products becuase they didn’t know if they could. We certified Glenmorangie Original (10 year old), Glenmorangie Astar and Ardbeg 10 year old for this reason.
Any new special bottlings like Rollercoaster for 2011?
Yes, there will be new bottlings. John, when time gets closer, you will an exclusive peak. I’ll just say this for now. In 2011, we’ll release a wacky new Ardbeg. In 2012, we plan on releasing an old-fashioned, traditional Ardbeg.
We’ll also have a lovely old new Glenmorangie, perhaps around Christmas time. Look for a new release that I am calling the “grandson of Sonnalta” in the Private Edition series. Plus, you know how you and I have discussed how much we like Sassicaia wine from Tuscany? Well…there’s a clue to something new in the future.
Will Supernova become a standard release in the Ardbeg range?
That’s less clear cut.
Are you selling any casks to independent bottlers?
Only our Scotch Malt Whisky Society bottlings.
An plans on doing your own floor maltings again?
I have had the same dreams (he said with a twinkle in his eye). If that ever were to happen, we probably would bottle the whisky made from our floor maltings exclusively, and not blend it in with whisky from malt that we have brought in, like the way Laphroaig does it.
Would you ever identify on the bottle when you use caramel coloring?
We do it when it is required. We are not trying to hide the fact that we use it, and we are trying to minimize it’s use. We only use it for “standardization” (to keep the color of a given whisky consistent). I would like to see it (caramel coloring) banned!
Can you give me in a sentence or two the house character of Glenmorangie?
It has a softness and silkiness on the palate, a sweet taste, and great finesse and complexity.
Will there be an Ardbeg 17 year old anytime soon?
Not anytime soon?
What’s the age of Glenmorangie Cellar 13?
It was a 10 year old. If you like this whisky, then you should try Astar, its spiritual successor.
Is your company going to be bought by Diageo?
This is very topical. I don’t know. It’s pointless worrying about it.
Will there be a Glenmorangie Signet-like Ardbeg anytime soon (i.e., using caramel and/or chocolate malt, etc.)
No, but we are always experimenting.
Thank you Bill!