Spirit Of The Week: Glenmorangie ‘A Tale Of The Forest’ Single Malt Scotch

It’s the first-ever whisky crafted from barley kilned with rare woodland botanicals.


Under the watchful eye of esteemed Director of Whisky Creation Dr. Bill Lumsdens, Glenmorangie’s single malt tree has lately been branching out in some interesting directions.

First there’s the celebrated Highland distillery’s sneaker collaboration with the Shoe Surgeon, aka Dominic Ciambrone, who traveled all the way to Tain to craft a limited edition model while learning the secrets of the Glenmorangie way by Dr. Lumsdens himself. 

Clearly not just an effort to reach new audiences, but younger ones at that. 

The experimentation continues with their latest limited edition expression, the successor to last year’s Marsala cask-finished A Tale of Winter: A Tale of the Forest. 

Inspired by walks the good doctor is known to take through his local Highland woods,  A Tale of the Forest is Glenmorangie’s bucolic innovation—being the first whisky ever crafted from barley kilned with woodland botanicals. 

As it’s a Highland distillery and not one from the isles, peat is not the usual fuel—except here, where not only does Glenmorangie roast their barley with peat, but adds all sorts of other interesting olfactory botanicals including juniper berries, birch bark, rowan berries and even heather flowers. It was then aged ex-bourbon barrels for an unspecified time. 


Naturally, the idea is for the flavor and aroma notes to “evoke the scents, sounds and sights of the forest itself.” 

“I’ve always loved trees and the flora and fauna of forests. I live in the country and there’s a wood next to us—I spend quite a lot of time wandering there,” Dr. Lumsdens shares with Maxim.

“A forest has an incredible ability to heighten my senses: my sense of smell, sight and my sense of hearing too…I love the crunch of leaves under your feet. I feel there’s such purity to the air in a forest that I get much more crystal clear aromas there than anywhere else. So it was a very logical step to try and see if I could recreate some of the aromas and the feelings of being in a forest.”

To wit, the Tales of the Forest offers botanical whiffs of coriander, mint and juniper, matched with woody flavors like eucalyptus, sap, pine needles and oak tannins. Quite an original nuanced scotch.

“The idea for a whisky crafted with botanicals has been in my mind for a long, long time. We researched many different botanicals and in the end we chose birch bark, juniper berries and heather flowers,” the innovative Director of Whisky Creation continues.

“They gave the most distinctive aromatics to the malted barley, as well as some peat. The whole thing was horrendously difficult to do, but that made it more appealing to me because anything like this should always be a labor of love.”

Glenmorangie’s A Tale of the Forest comes packaged in a whimsically illustrated box by Thai artist Pomme Chan who wraps the 46% ABV single malt with ethereal colors of the forest flora. $103

Follow Contributing Spirits Editor Nicolas Stecher at @nickstecher and @boozeoftheday.