Dr Bill Lumsden, the leading light of Glenmorangie and Ardbeg’s whisky creation, has been named ‘Master Distiller of the Year’ at a renowned industry challenge, for an unprecedented third time.
Receiving this International Whisky Competition (IWC) honour, has inspired him to handpick a rare single cask from each Distillery’s warehouses, to share with fans of exceptional malts.
Dr Bill is Director of Distilling, Whisky Creation & Whisky Stocks for Glenmorangie’s Highland single malt and Ardbeg’s Islay single malt, both owned by The Glenmorangie Company. He was honoured this year by the IWC for creating their Whisky of the Year – Glenmorangie Grand Vintage Malt 1991.
The limited edition achieved the competition’s highest score (97 points out of 100), as head judge Sebastien Gavillet, declared it “quite possibly one of the top ten whiskies I’ve sampled in my life”.
Meanwhile, Ardbeg was named ‘Distillery of the Year’, with a total of five category wins for its whiskies – three for its newest permanent expression Ardbeg An Oa – and another five for Glenmorangie.
The first person to win the IWC’s ‘Master Distiller of the Year’ award three times, Dr Bill initially earned the title in 2016, when Glenmorangie Signet was ‘Whisky of the Year’. He won again in 2017, with Ardbeg Kelpie Committee Release.
Mr Gavillet added: “Dr Bill’s talent at pairing the right barrels together is a blend of art, intuition, countless experimentations, perseverance and experience.”
To commemorate this year’s award with Glenmorangie fans, Dr Bill searched the Distillery’s warehouses until he found Cask 388 – a lightly peated single cask whisky which had reached its peak of perfection.
Distilled in the whisky’s signature stills, the tallest in Scotland, its spirit was laid down on 12 November 2004.
Aged for 14 years in a single, first-fill bourbon cask, designed to deliver a deeper, richer whisky, it brings a smoky twist to Glenmorangie’s citrus style. Available only at the Distillery, each of its 251 bottles is hand-signed by Dr Bill.
At Ardbeg, Dr Bill chose an especially sumptuous single cask, to be shared at a series of celebratory dinners. This unique whisky was laid down in a single first-fill bourbon barrel on 24 December, 2007 – Christmas Eve.
Matured on Ardbeg’s remote island home for 11 years, Cask 5824 was bottled earlier this summer, as it reached its smoky-sweet best. Available only at Ardbeg, just 245 bottles exist.
Dr Bill, said: “I’m honoured by such praise from the IWC and hope fans of great whisky will join the celebration by enjoying these rare single casks. Glenmorangie’s Cask 388 will delight with its creamy vanilla layers and an intriguing hint of smoke. And the sumptuous Cask 5824 from Ardbeg is filled with delicious contrasts – deep, nutty tastes softened by hints of Ardbeg ice-cream, sea spray and peat.”