Glenmorangie: A Whisky Made For Fans, By Fans

We sit down with Glenmorangie brand ambassador Ruaraidh MacIntyre to discuss the journey and the art of whisky

In early 2013, Glenmorangie launched their Cask Masters program and set out to create the first ever crowd managed whisky. With seven whiskies currently available and anywhere between twenty and thirty types of experimental scotch being matured at once, Glenmorangie has more than enough to offer whisky drinkers around the world. But they wanted to give those whisky drinkers a chance to be a part of the creation process.

“You can feel quite detached from a scotch if you are not living in Scotland,” Glenmorangie’s Canadian brand ambassador Ruaraidh MacIntyre says. “We wanted to give people who are fans of the scotch a little bit more ownership of the product.”

The first step was the selection of the cask of whisky itself. “Everyone’s tastes are different. The idea was to put three of our more experimental scotches out to the public for them to decide what they would actually like to try.” The public selected a Manzanilla sherry cask from the south of Spain.

Today, 95% of casks used are bourbon casks. But 200 years ago, whisky was almost exclusively matured in sherry casks. Manzanilla sherry is matured using a slightly different method than most other sherries, resulting in an interesting effect on the flavours found in the final product.

“It will have a slightly more complex, richer, earthier, more intense flavour. So although you will have the more classic Glenmorangie flavours in there, light, floral and lots of citrus flavours, there are tastes of dark chocolate, sea salt, caramel and a touch of coffee. Your classic sherry flavours are still coming through, they are just slightly modified.”

The public voted on a name for the new whisky, settling on Taghta, the Scottish Gaelic word for “chosen”. MacIntyre feels it is “very fitting that the name means chosen, because that describes exactly what the whole process has been. Every part of the process has been chosen by the fans of the distillery”. Beauty shots are a final part of the development of the ‘unnecessarily well made’ expressions. The fans were also asked to vote on the packaging design and currently have the chance to influence the photography that will be used to launch Taghta at an event to be held in late June.

What would MacIntyre like to see incorporated into Taghta’s “beauty shot”? The Glenmorangie logo of course, which is an intricate representation of the engravings on an eighth century Pictish Stone. But more importantly, something that truly represents the journey that this whisky has been through. “An image that captures Glenmorangie and the part of Spain where the Manzanilla is from. Something that really captures the whole creation process.”

As the first ever whisky created for whisky lovers, by whisky lovers, Glenmorangie has set the bar high. “It is very much a crowd sourced whisky, fashioned by the fans of Glenmorangie.” And with only one exception, MacIntyre believes there is no wrong way to enjoy Taghta. “It is up to each individual how they like their scotch. But I would never advocate adding cola. That’s pure sacrilege.”

Visit Glenmorangie’s Cask Masters to become a part of Taghta’s journey at:

 * This post is brought to you by Glenmorangie.

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