A whisky masterclass with Brendan McCarron, the Head of Maturing Whisky Stocks at Glenmorangie is probably a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Brendan works alongside Dr Bill Lumsden, who is Glenmorangie's Director of Distilling, Whisky Creation & Whisky Stocks.
The team of whisky creators carry out sensory analysis of new makes and mature spirits and develop new expressions for Glenmorangie and Ardbeg for whisky aficionados around the world.
He reminded everyone at the special tasting in Cape Town that: “you can only use three ingredients to create whisky.” Those three magical ingredients is malted barley, water and yeast.
Brendan says asking him to choose a favourite whisky is like having to pick a favourite child, no one should force you to do it; you love them all for different reasons.
Glenmorangie Original Matured for 10 years is his favourite tipple which confirms my personal preference for a 10-15 year old whisky.
Brendan explains that for the team at Glenmorangie, casks are only used twice.
He says: “We only use ex-bourbon American casks twice. Each time you use a cask it has a slight influence on the flavour.”
“The first time you use it, it's big on American bourbon flavours, coconut, vanilla, honey cloves and various other classic oak flavours. The second time you use it, those flavours are there but they kind of in the background,” he adds.
Here Brendan explains what you should be looking for when tasting a whisky: