It was a pleasure to attend the whisky Masterclass on assignment with Sydney Scoop. As celebrations continue throughout the week in the lead up to International Whisky Day tomorrow we explore a major export region of the world.
Scotland is home to over 130 whisky distilleries. Glen Moray Whisky hosted a masterclass led by Ambassador, Iain Allan who reintroduced us to its history with a compelling story that defines the brand’s edge. The single malt has been produced since 1897 in Speyside, a town that flourishes amid many barley farms, from which over half of the country’s whisky output orginates. Sitting in the north east of the country, the high levels of quartzite in the River Spey which feeds into the town prevents natural minerals from dissolving and therefore altering the taste of its water serving as a desirable base for the decade long processes of maturation. More than 2.3 million litres of single malt is produced at Glen Moray drawing water for its batches from the River Lossie.
Allan emanates confidence and expertise in the field, embodying the qualities whisky enthusiasts and fans of Glen Moray trust. Taking us through a journey of various expressions from their range he meticulously details the company’s distillation process and how it is carefully controlled to ensure that the desired flavors and aromas are captured.
He reminds us of the subjective experience of whisky which is why Glen Moray has continually evolved for scores and decades with a comprehensive range of 23 brands.
It’s this evolution that has seen their range build on their previously peated only selection and experimentation with wine and beer cask barrels. It’s their obsession with the maturation process which visitors to their distillery can see in progress through transparent casks as single malt comes of age and as product inevitably evaporates that has led to new enhancements and renditions beyond their predominantly fruity and light signature profiles.
The selection that is highlighted in the day’s masterclass tasting demonstrates various contrasts and evolutions to the Glen Mora finishing.
Starting with their traditional baseline signature of their 12 year old single malt, a safe and classic choice that expresses with a perfect balance in spirit and cask wood.
As we are introduced to the Elgin, we learn the oilness and velvety texture that lingers longer than their classic staple results from the finishing of 5 years respectively in bourbon then chardonnay casks.
It’s in these unpacking of technique and formulation that any novice begins to understand the true relationship the drinker has with a particular batch of whisky at a given point in time. Throughout the tasting are perfectly weaved anecdotes and inside stories to the company’s history.
Trials and development with the introduction of new processes and finishing techniques in a mission of perpetual innovation while remaining true to its origins. In one rendition, the carbonic charcoal smokiness of an unpeated expression takes the Glen Moray flavour to new heights.