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Glenmorangie, located in Tain, Ross-shire, Scotland, is one of the first licensed distilleries in the Highlands. In 1843, founder William Matheison along with a team of experts known as â€œthe sixteen men of Tain,â€ began producing a high-quality range of single-malt whiskey. The tradition continues today. With a staff of just 16, Glenmorangie has been producing the best selling single malt in the UK.
The key ingredient in any malt whisky is the water that goes into it. Glenmorangie's water comes from the Tarlogie Springs, located about a mile above the distillery. Waters that fall as rain on the Hill of Tain filter down through lime and sandstone rocks, gathering minerals on the way, and rise again at Tarlogie, taking up to a hundred years to emerge. This precious water was in recent years threatened by the possibility of land development. To insure the quantity and quality of water needed for the distillation process Glenmorangie purchased Tarlogie Springs and some 650 acres surrounding it.
The Glenmorangie stills have the tallest columns of any in Scotland, standing 26 ft 3 in, with 10 feet 1.25 inch necks. This is especially significant because this mean only the lightest and purest vapors can ascend and condense into spirit. Glenmorangie's distilling methods retain less than a third of the second distillate for maturation. The rest is returned to the still for further refinement.
Glenmorangie controls the quality of its casks as well. All of its products are matured in white oak casks that are manufactured from trees grown in Glenmorangie's own forest in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri. After being left to air for 2 years, the new casks are leased for 4 years to distilleries for use in maturing bourbon. Glenmorangie then reclaims the casks and uses them to mature their single-malt whiskeys.
Glenmorangie distills a wide selection of products, all with their own singular flavors and character. Which of these can be qualified as kosher is a matter of opinion. Glenmorangie's "Original" range of whiskeys is matured entirely in casks that were first used for bourbon and are therefore indisputably kosher. The â€œExtra Maturedâ€ range is transferred into casks that were previously used for other spirits such as wine, port or sherry in a process called finishing.
Whiskey that has been matured or finished in casks that formerly contained sherry or other wine products has been a subject of debate among rabbis. Because grape juice and wine are traditionally sacramental items, Jewish law requires that they be made in a controlled kosher fashion. All kosher wine and grape juice manufacturing requires the direct involvement of trained rabbis. The question is whether sherry in the wood of the cask, not having been produced as a kosher wine, retains enough of its character as wine that its presence in the cask will render the whisky not acceptable by kosher standards.
On this issue there exists more than one school of thought and more than one answer. Consult your local rabbi if you have questions regarding the kosher status of any scotch.
After investigating the opinion of many organizations that issue kosher certificates, the Kosher Wine Society has added their endorsement to Glenmorangie Original, 10 years old, Glenmorangie Astar and Glenmorangie 18 years old. For a list of local liquor stores that carry these products please visit: www.kosherwinesociety.com