On the rows of intricately twisted vines crisscrossing Cognac’s countryside in southwestern France, luscious grapes ripen under the sun. Harvested, distilled, and then aged in oak from nearby forests, these grapes create a powerful, fruity spirit that’s been revered for centuries. The latest addition to its core range of single malt Scotch whiskies, Glen Moray Twisted Vine’s sweet and woody flavours are this Speyside distillery’s tribute to the treasured French spirit of Cognac.
Taking inspiration from its history as a pioneering ‘Cask Explorer’, Glen Moray Twisted Vine is an expression of the distillery’s smooth, balanced, single malt aged entirely in French oak ex-Cognac casks for added richness and depth of flavour, with indulgent notes of dried fruit, nuts and spice. The result is an indulgent dram worthy of sipping neat, with a depth of character that lends itself well to mixing in cocktails.
The first time a Cognac-cask matured whisky has been part of Glen Moray’s regular offering, Glen Moray Twisted Vine will find favour amongst new whisky drinkers and long-time fans of the distillery, thanks to its easy approachability, complex flavours, and outstanding value. In fact, it’s already received an impressive combined score of 8.1 in Whisky Magazine’s blind tastings, back in issue #193.
Glen Moray Twisted Vine is now available in the UK – buy yours here for delivery before Christmas.
While the latest release stands out for its shimmering blue and gold packaging, it is, in many ways, a continuation of the expression of Glen Moray’s core values – displayed on every bottle in the form of a heraldic shield, which displays beehives, casks, barley – to represent the spirit’s inherently sweet character, penchant for cask exploration, and core ingredient– and a ship, to represent the Moray area’s maritime history and its whisky’s global appeal. It was the latter of these elements – as well as the cask – that gave the distillery team, led by Stephen Woodcock, head of whisky creation, the inspiration for Glen Moray Twisted Vine.
“The record books show that Glen Moray was one of the first distilleries in Scotland to explore the effects of unusual casks on the maturation of our spirit,” explains global brand ambassador and visitor centre manager Iain Allan. “This playful, pioneering approach to flavour is very much part of what drinkers love about our whiskies today, and it’s why we are so thrilled to be unveiling this wonderful new expression.”
While other brands rely on cask finishing, where a whisky is transferred to a second cask for a short period, it is the commitment to full maturation in French ex-Cognac casks which sets Glen Moray Twisted Vine apart from the crowd – especially among core-range products at this price point. Cognac producers traditionally use highly sought-after barrels made from exceptionally high-quality French oak from woodland in Limousin or Tronçais. Such is their quality that these casks are often used many times over to mature Cognac’s famous eau de vie.
That does not, however, leave them with nothing more to give. The combination of Glen Moray’s robust and fruity new-make spirit and a full maturation period in such high-quality, flavourful wood is what gives Twisted Vine the notes of manuka honey, mango, apricot and vanilla crème brûlée that so enchanted Whisky Magazine’s blind tasters.
“All that extra time in such fruity, flavourful wood has created a stunning whisky with a rich but accessible flavour that can be enjoyed by everyone,” says Iain. “It’s perfect neat as a dram, mixed in a cocktail or as a special gift for anyone looking to put a twist on their classic whisky serve.”
From the fields of Cognac to the streets of Elgin, the authenticity of spirit production methods remains key to Glen Moray’s success. The distillery’s location on the edge of Elgin, known as ‘the capital of Speyside’, also means that its connection to the local community plays a leading role, particularly when it ensures the locals go out in the world as ambassadors of their dram.
With one such local now following in his great grandfather’s footsteps (albeit as the global brand ambassador and not as stillman), the small team has a long, rich heritage of employing the townsfolk, while Steven Woodcock, a relatively recent addition to the team (compared to those with 40 years of service), has brought a fantastic influence in his role as head of whisky creation.
Woodcock’s approach has favoured evolution over revolution, and both he and parent company La Martiniquaise-Bardient have made the most of their relationships with a range of excellent cask suppliers to burnish Glen Moray’s reputation for cask exploration. This reputation, which dates right back to the distillery’s origins in 1897, was in full force a full hundred years later, and all long before the term ‘finishing’ had been coined within the industry.
Today, just as in the past, the distillery’s warehouses in the backstreets of Elgin are filled with casks that once contained sherry, port, and a wide variety of French wines and spirits, each imparting their unique character to the mellow and sweet new make that runs from the copper pots stills.
The importance of these maturations is writ large in the story of Glen Moray, and also on the packaging of the brand’s Explorer Range, which includes Double Cask expressions utilising ex-sherry casks for spice and vanilla sweetness, ex-cabernet casks for notes of dark chocolate, ex-chardonnay casks for tropical fruit, ex-Shiraz casks for fruity and floral notes, and ex-port casks for light and vibrant red fruit. These whiskies sit alongside the Our Classic and peated Smoky Classic expressions, both of which are aged entirely in bourbon casks.
Regular Editor’s Choice awards in the pages of Whisky Magazine can attest to the Glen Moray team’s flair for cask exploration – from the ‘delightfully dark’ Glen Moray Warehouse 1 Oloroso Matured. with notes of ‘clementine, butterscotch and chocolate-covered peppermint creams’ (scoring 8.4 in issue #189), to the ‘heavenly’ Warehouse 1 Tokaji Finish with notes of ‘pecan, cherry, pie crust and Medjool dates’ (scoring 8.6 in issue #178).
With a deserved reputation for sourcing some of the most exquisite casks available, and a viscous, sweet new make that can stand up to the wineries of the Old World or shine through with a honeyed richness in ex-bourbon barrels, Glen Moray continues to produce innovative and exciting expressions to charm new whisky explorers, mixologists and old hands.
Twisted Vine is already in the hands of some of the UK’s best bartenders and appears on cocktail menus from Aberdeen to London. For those looking to make delicious whisky cocktails at home, a range of recipes means fans of Glen Moray Twisted Vine can try their hand at making serves like The Pineapple DiVine, The Whisky Smash, and La Sangria de Familia for themselves – check out the recipes below.
Bottled at 40% ABV, Glen Moray Twisted Vine is now available from leading grocers and specialist whisky stockists across the UK, for the great price of RRP £28 per 70cl bottle, and will soon be on the shelves in Europe, Australia, China, and the United States. Keep reading for three fabulous cocktail recipes!
Glen Moray Twisted Vine Cocktail Recipes
Three ways to put a tempting twist on Glen Moray's Cognac cask-matured single malt.
As the cold nights draw in, Glen Moray’s latest single malt, Twisted Vine, is the perfect companion. Whether you are relaxing at home or celebrating the festive season with friends, this delicious Speyside whisky can be enjoyed in a multitude of ways, thanks to its smooth balanced flavours.
A brilliant Christmas gift, it’s delicious when served neat as a winter warmer, with your favourite mixer, or in a whole host of mouthwatering cocktails – some of which may surprise your taste buds!
As the usual busy rush of the festive season descends, why not cast your single malt rulebook aside and get creative when enjoying Glen Moray’s latest offering? Here are three cocktail suggestions which are perfect for both whisky newcomers and seasoned enthusiasts alike.
The Pineapple DiVine
Created by the London-based duo behind the popular drinks magazine, website and podcast The Cocktail Lovers, this refreshing serve is inspired by the sweet, fruity notes in the whisky. The Pineapple DiVine features a surprising ingredient that’s not typically associated with whisky-based drinks: pineapple.
- 50ml Glen Moray Twisted Vine
- 25ml homemade pineapple syrup (recipe below)
- 20ml fresh lemon juice
- 40ml prosecco
- Grapes, skewered on a cocktail stick, to garnish
Shake the first three ingredients with ice and then fine strain into a chilled, large wine glass filled with ice cubes. Top with the prosecco and garnish with skewered grapes.
Homemade Pineapple Syrup
- ¼ fresh pineapple
- 120ml brown sugar
- 120ml water
- ¼ teaspoon mixed spice
Cut the pineapple into small chunks and add them, along with the sugar, mixed spice and water to a saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer very gently for around 30 minutes, occasionally mashing down the pineapple to make a puree. Leave to cool and strain off the lovely pineapple syrup. (Don’t throw away the remaining puree, it’s great mixed with ice cream for dessert!)
The Whisky Smash
There’s nothing better than a night with friends over the festive season and this delicious berry cocktail is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. Created by one of Scotland’s leading mixologists, Adrian Gomes from 10 Dollar Shake in Aberdeen, it offers the perfect balance of sweet and sour.
- 35 ml Glen Moray Twisted Vine
- 3 fresh blackberries
- 5 mint leaves
- 15ml sugar syrup
- 15ml lemon juice
- Mint sprigs to garnish
In a rocks glass, muddle the blackberries, mint leaves and sugar syrup, then half-fill the glass with crushed ice and stir. Add the lemon juice and whisky, then more crushed ice and stir again. Top with more crushed ice and garnish with mint sprigs. (Tip: Clap the mint between your hands to release more aroma!)
La Sangria de Familia
Glen Moray Distillery has a long history of experimentation, so why not push the boat out this Christmas with a unique twist on a sangria? This is another delicious cocktail created by Adrian Gomes from 10 Dollar Shake in Aberdeen.
Stir all ingredients together with ice and strain into a chilled Nick and Nora glass. Garnish with a lemon twist and skewered strawberry half if desired.