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Issue 146 - Brave New World

Whisky Magazine Issue 146
September 2017


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Brave New World

We look back at the last 10 years of Glenmorangie

Whisky brand relaunches are a regular fact of this industry; as a journalist you're called to many an evening for a company to inform the assembled gathering that they chose that particular colour purple on the label to represent the shade of sunset that reflects off their distillery's water source, or some other inane detail.

This sort of thing is a bread and butter news story, something you write about in order to keep everyone abreast of a situation, but which isn't exactly going to set the world alight.

So you may be wondering why I'm writing an entire feature on one particular relaunch, dear reader. That's because – and many will doubtless argue with me here – I believe Glenmorangie's relaunch, which happened in September 2007, had a wider impact on the scotch industry than most, helping to shape the category into what it is today.

In the beginning(ish)

Before we examine what went down, we must cast our minds further back, to 1995, when Dr Bill Lumsden, now head of distilling and whisky creation at The Glenmorangie Company, first joined the business from United Distillers. “My impression when I joined was ‘Oh, this is great, this is a smaller company, I'll be a bigger fish in a smaller pond, and I'll have more freedom to experiment'.

“But the company went through a period that I refer to as the Dark Ages, where it was all about cutting costs, own label and bulk volume, and the brand was terribly neglected in that time," he recalls.

By 2004, Glenmorangie...

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