Dr. Bill Lumden Whisky Questions & Answers Part 2
David: So next question here from one of our Facebook followers, how has the increase in demand for whisky impacted how you developed the blends?
Bill Lumsden: Excuse me, I know what you mean…Obviously the demand for whisky particularly single malt scotch has dramatically increased through the last decade so most of the distilleries in Scotland have geared up to meet that demand by increasing production. And as you know Glenmorangie 2009 we went up by 50% from 4 million to 6 million liters. Every time you do that is a critical period and you need to stay on top of your production particularly in the distillation side of things. So one of the things I did I fitted a refrigeration coolers to make sure that the spirit continues to flow in to the safe at 20 degrees Celsius or below, but it’s very easy when you are doing something like that to take your eye off the ball and maybe end up with less good quality but it’s something I focused on very much.
David: Was your concern there when adding those extra ‘stills in the same building that the ambient temperature would be higher and you might have effects on the spirit?
Bill Lumsden: It was actually…my main concern was to get up to 6 million liters we had to slightly increase the throughput the speed it’s going through and when that happened we need to make sure you are on top of your temperature your flow rates etc.
David: And folks if you haven’t been to Glenmorangie’s distillery you should really visit it. The ‘still room is always spectacular with these addition stills…
Bill Lumsden: Do come and see us sometime. The other thing I would say is that, you probably know this already David but the engineers wanted to have the stills put in a separate building.
Bill Lumsden: And I absolutely insisted that we fitted them in to the existent still house and it added a lot of money to the cost to the project. But what shame would it have been to have that wall of 6 wash 6 spirits stills…
David: I can’t agree with you more, it’s spectacular…absolutely. So next question, from Mitchel a Facebook question here, what is the actual maturity of most of the whisky in signet?
Bill Lumsden: I’m guessing what Mitchel is asking there is the age and my first answer to that is I put signet together generally only once a year and each year the makeup of it will slightly change. And it’s more to do with achieving that final taste profile. In reality I’m using whiskies that are anything from 12 right through to 40 years old. I probably couldn’t even tell you the ages of every whisky the last time I did it.
David: I heard you say before that you kind of made a burden for your self, it was fiendishly difficult whisky to put together but delicious none the less
Bill Lumsden: Again, some people absolutely want to locate what’s the average age and I guess of the top of my head it would be around 21 something like that.
David: Absolutely, as you said it’s more about achieving that flavor profile rather than conforming to a particular sort of rigid ancient profile.
Bill Lumsden: I want signet to be all about this incredible unusual taste and I think it would be good put age and of course we would have the age of the youngest whisky and that would take away from…That’s not what signet’s about.
David: To be fairly…In some regards fairly misleading as well considering the oldest stock is going to be in there anyway.
Bill Lumsden: Absolutely
David: Great. Next question, the most you are referring to signet coming from Bill on Facebook. Will you ever run out of signets?
Bill Lumsden: Obviously there is a finite amount of the different component parts of the signet and the rate, I’m using a chemistry term here, the rate determining step is about the chocolate malt we’ve got but I have been making batches of chocolate malt all whisky almost every year. Since when I first did it way back in the 90’s so my feeling is that there is a enough signet to meet…I mean we could substantially increase what we are bottling at the moment so I guess my answer to that is no it’s not likely to happen.
David: That’s great news to hear for us signet fans and those of you who are at whisky fest San Francisco this year would’ve tasted some very young six year olds single cask sample of chocolate malt that I had with me. So then again you guys would’ve realized that we are still planning for the future.
Bill Lumsden: How did you get that, did I let you get that?
David: You did.
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