Glenmorangie’s Private Edition series reaches double digits with Allta, a single malt Scotch whisky that puts yeast in the spotlight. Yeast has always been one of the crucial components of whisky, but in recent years it has taken a backseat, with other elements taking starring roles. This time, Dr. Bill Lumsden and his team have put yeast front-and-center.
Glenmorangie Allta (pronounced ‘al-ta‘) was inspired in part by a conversation Dr. Lumsden had with the legendary late whisky and beer writer Michael Jackson about a ‘house’ yeast once held at Glenmorangie. While walking through some barley fields near the distillery, Dr. Lumsden picked up some Cadboll barley, brought it back to the lab and discovered a species of wild yeast – Saccharomyces diaemath – growing on it. Some yeasts aren’t suitable for distilling, but this particular species was ideal for creating whisky. The yeast was cultivated, and when the barley on which it had grown was ready to use, Dr. Lumsden brought it all together for distillation, with the resulting spirit being aged in ex-bourbon barrels. What impact could wild yeast have on whisky? Allta intends to find out!
Nose: Rounded, with biscuity, yeasty tones. Gentle floral notes of carnations and Parma violets, baking bread, very gentle vanilla, soft raisins and sweet mandarin orange.
Palate: A crisp citrus bite to the mouthfeel. Butter candy, creamy vanilla, orange syrup with slightly yeasty background. Gentle mint, the tiniest hint of sweet chilli and delicate, dancing, floral notes.
Finish: Long and earthy with hints of bittersweet orange and peppermint.