Glenmorangie creates whisky with wild yeast

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Glenmorangie is releasing its first single malt whisky made using yeast growing wild on the barley in the distillery’s surrounding fields.

The new expression, Allta, which translates as ‘wild’ in Scots Gaelic, marks the tenth anniversary of the Highland whisky brand’s Private Edition series.

Glenmorangie identifies that yeast has always been a key ingredient in scotch whisky, but over the years, its impact on taste has been somewhat overlooked, with emphasis placed on other aspects of whisky making.

With a background in yeast physiology, Dr Bill Lumsden, Glenmorangie’s director of distilling, whisky creation and whisky stocks, collected samples of saccharomyces diaemath, a species of previously identified wild yeast, from the distillery’s barley crop.

The yeast has been cultivated and used to create Allta (51.2% ABV), which is then aged in ex-bourbon barrels to showcase the spirit’s “fruity character”.

Bill said: “Glenmorangie Allta is a worthy whisky with which to mark the Private Edition’s tenth anniversary. Yeast’s influence on taste has been overlooked for years, but it’s an area ripe for exploration.

“With a nose of biscuit, baking bread and floral notes, and rich tastes of vanilla, orange syrup and sweet chilli, Glenmorangie Allta opens up compelling possibilities for the future of scotch whisky.”

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