Dornoch Firth

A sense of place and a sense of responsability

The Glenmorangie Distillery sits on the shore of The Dornoch Firth in the far north of Scotland. It is this peaceful setting, this most beautiful of natural environments, which is the inspiration for our newest expression, our latest limited edition whisky, Glenmorangie Dornoch.

The waters here are unspoiled, complex and full of life. The vast estuary is an internationally important site of Special Scientific Interes. So, we’ve decided that a donation from each bottle of Glenmorangie Dornoch which is sold will be made to the Marine Conservation Society, a charity which protects the seas, shores and their wildlife. Our aim is to help sustain and protect this momentous waterway for future generations.

Glenmorangie is made great in no small part because of our precious resources, the wonderful bounty on our doorstep to which we add our passion and expertise. To preserve that natural heritage we have initiated a reef enhancement study of the Dornoch Firth with Heriot Watt University. Working alongside the Marine Conservation Society, ‘The Dornoch Project’, as it is known, aims to establish the viability and funding for restoring the Firth’s mussel and oyster beds, improving the natural environment for wildlife and ultimately realising their potential as sustainable fisheries.

Dr Bill Lumsden, Glenmorangie’s Director of Whisky Creation, took his PHD in Microbial Physiology and Fermentation Science at Heriot Watt University so, in all ways, ‘The Dornoch Project’ is close to his heart.

“The Dornoch Firth inspires us,” he says. “And there is no doubt some of its unique atmosphere can be detected in our latest whisky. To share a little of that with our customers around the world, and to support our natural heritage for future generations, is very special for us.”

Glenmorangie Dornoch unites whisky matured in ex-bourbon American white oak barrels with a lightly peated Glenmorangie which has been extra-matured in ex-Amontillado sherry casks. The former delivers the familiar vanilla and citrus Glenmorangie house style. But the latter, unexpectedly, brings a dimension of distant, smoky apples, sweet and nutty flavours, warm toffee and dried fruits. The peat is a gentle undercurrent of flavour, a delicious, delicate layer.


“Here in the far north east of Scotland, by our distillery on the shores of the Firth, the air is clean and fresh,” Dr Bill says. “But there’s a perceptible distant smokiness too, something of the Scottish wilds. And there’s the seashore note too. That’s what I’ve tried to capture in this whisky.”


A whisky’s taste is the work of its creator but also the result of where it is made, be it the water source, the barley, the malting process, the casks of course, but also where and how it is stored. This last point is the subject of debate, how much a spirit breathes, what it absorbs of its atmosphere. Yet in tasting Glenmorangie Dornoch many will be inclined to believe that the whisky has indeed breathed in its surroundings for it evokes its location quite distinctly. It has matured over time in our traditional 19th Century Dunnage Warehouses on moist earth floors, protected by low stone walls from the shores of the Firth just metres away.


And so Glenmorangie Dornoch, already award-winning and celebrated with 94 out of 100 in Jim Murray's 2015 Whisky Bible, will ensure that its namesake, the beautiful Dornoch Firth, is protected in all its glory, not just for now, but far into the future too.