Special Release Launched For Glen Moray’s 120th Anniversary

Glen Moray
Recognising the work of his predecessors, Graham Coull, Glen Moray’s Master Distiller, selected five different vintages of Glen Moray to create MASTERY, the ultimate ‘blend’.

The result is a whisky of incredible depth and character that encapsulates the very essence of Glen Moray, steeped in the proud traditions of Speyside, released on 1st July 2017.

Three of the five vintages used were laid down by Graham’s Glen Moray forefathers, Robert Brown (manager from 1959-1987) and Edwin Dodson (manager from 1987-2005). Two of Graham’s own vintages are in there too, as well as evidence of techniques first employed by Glen Moray’s original pioneers, James Haddow (manager from 1913-1927) and his son, Alexander Haddow (manager from 1927 -1959).

With great skill and finesse, Graham experimented to find the ultimate composition, using whisky matured in different fortified wine casks (sherry, madeira and port) to form the backbone of the 120th Anniversary release.

By using the sweetness of port to bring out the best in the heavier flavours emanating from the sherry and Madeira, Graham has added his own ‘twist’ to the Glen Moray classic taste profile, bringing sublime smoothness and balance to the masterpiece.

‘The 120th Anniversary Release celebrates the traditional craftsmanship of Glen Moray while raising a glass to the innovation of maturing in wine casks. Mastery is smooth, sleek and sophisticated.’

Graham Coull says: ‘The Madeira casks that we’ve chosen to form the heart of the whisky relate back to the genuine traditions of Glen Moray experimenting with different, innovative techniques in maturation. It’s me putting a twist on the spirit that was made by previous generations of master distillers.’

‘I wanted to bring in something from 1978, some of the oldest whisky in the warehouses, that represented whisky made by Robert Brown, the 3rd generation of Master Distiller, who was at the helm of Glen Moray from 1959 until 1987 as well as casks filled in the 80’s and 90’s by my predecessor, Ed Dodson. We’ve intertwined these with whisky that has spent its full term in first-fill sherry casks and also a proportion that has been finished in port, to develop the layers of complexity in the overall bottling. The port finished whisky brings a little lightness, which we felt perfectly balances the more robust flavours of the sherry and madeira casks in the blend.’

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Glen Moray Celebrates Their 120th Anniversary Year

graham-coull-master-distiller-glen-moray_0046
120 years of single malt whisky making history at the Glen Moray distillery, at the heart of Scotland’s Speyside region, is celebrated throughout 2017.

The first drops of spirit ran from the copper pot stills at Glen Moray on the 13th September 1897. Over the last 120 years, just five men have had the honour of being “Master Distiller”. The men who have made Glen Moray great.

The current Glen Moray distillery was originally developed as the Elgin West Brewery in 1830 and produced several local ales before redevelopment into a fully functional single malt distillery sixty-seven years later when The Glen Moray Glenlivet Distillery Company Limited was formed on the 27th January, 1897. Handwritten ledgers show the first spirit run being made on the 13th September, 1897 using all local barley.

The early 1900’s were turbulent times for malt whisky across Scotland, followed by the onset of World War One, enforced constriction of the production of malt whisky by the Pot Still Malt Distillery Association of Scotland in the early 1930’s and World War Two.

Expansion continued during the 1950’s and Glen Moray Single Malt Distillery has recently undertaken expansion works so that the production capacity has grown to 6.5mla. Additional maturation warehouses have been built increasing the storage capacity from 90,000 barrels to 250,000 barrels.

Graham Coull, current Glen Moray Master Distiller, took over the helm in 2005 and continues the tenacious, innovative stewardship, which has remained very much at the heart of the distillery since spirit first flowed from its stills.

To celebrate the 120th Anniversary, Glen Moray are introducing “Mastery” special release crafted by the fifth Master Distiller, Graham Coull, using whisky from five distinctive vintages, matured in a variety of fortified wine casks across the different decades.

Glen Moray

Glen Moray

I’ve recently been introduced to a new expression of whisky from the Glen Moray brand (or to be exact, two – see you at the finish). Now this is a name that has never graced these pages before, so it only makes sense to dive into the back-story a little and see why the new port cask finish should be given the time of day.

Glen Moray started life as West Brewery in Elgin on the banks of the River Lossie, run by a family company named Robert Thorne & Sons. In 1897, the brewery site was converted to a distillery and bought themselves two stills. Following a fire and extensive rebuilding program at their Aberlour Distillery, the company focused on production of Aberlour whisky, allowing the Glen Moray distillery to run down. The site closed in 1910, then reopened a few years later, only to once again close before 1920 hit and Macdonald and Muir took over the distillery.

During the 1970’s, the two original stills were replaced and two further stills were added. In 1996 however, Macdonald and Muir Ltd renamed itself Glenmorangie Plc and in 2004 the group was acquired by Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy, for the sum of £300 million. Most of the whisky from Glen Moray has long since been used in blended Scotch. More recently, the Glenmorangie Co decided to cease producing whisky for blending and subsequently, in 2008, the distillery was put up for sale.

In its lifetime, the distillery has known only five distillery managers, but how does the new expression from current Master Distiller Graham Coull fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –

Glen Moray Classic Port Cask Finish – 40%

A small batch release single malt, matured in American Oak barrels and finished for eight months in Port pipes sourced from Gran Cruz in the Douro Valley in Portugal.
Light oak with rich, ripe red fruits dominating on the nose. Bold flavours of lively spice, citrus and juicy plums on the palate, creating a rich port soaked wood finish that dominates an incredibly long finish.

A very interesting dram there, with plenty of punch that you would expect from the port pipes used. A treat to be enjoyed for Christmas, or a Winter evening with friends. Plenty going on for an experience of one of Speyside’s hidden gems. Other expressions we should be looking out for in the range include Glen Moray 10yr Chardonnay Cask Matured, 12yr and a 25yr Port Wood Finish.

To add onto this, I received a sample of the new, soon-to-be-released Glen Moray Sherry Cask Finish. I know as much as the title, but until then, lets see what we can expect –

 

Glen Moray Sherry Cask Finish
Glen Moray Sherry Cask Finish

Glen Moray Sherry Cask Finish – 40%

 

A bold hit of dry sherry upon the nose, with deeper tannins coming through on the finish. Light, creamy with a warm palate cleanse that flows into soft honey, dry sherried oak and a lick of coriander on the long, lingering finish.

This will be available from specialist whisky retailers and Sainsbury’s from July, with a RRP price of around £22.00.

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