Page last updated at 13:39 GMT, Tuesday, 1 July 2008 14:39 UK

Stirrings in the glen of tranquillity

Glenmorangie was bought by an Edinburgh-based company in 1918

Whisky firm Glenmorangie can trace its history back 165 years to its beginnings in the Highlands in the 1840s.

The flagship distillery at Tain where it all began is set to benefit from a 45m investment plan unveiled by the company.

Glenmorangie had been one of Scotland's few remaining independent distillers before it was bought by a French drinks firm fours years ago in a deal worth about 300m.

Here the BBC Scotland news website takes a look back at the company's history.


The whisky firm was established in 1843 when farmer William Matheson set up the Glenmorangie Distillery Company after being granted a licence to distil.

In the face of traditional whisky-making methods, he used second-hand gin stills bought in London.

The distillery was built in the Ross-shire town of Tain on the Dornoch Firth.


Glenmorangie means glen or tranquillity in Gaelic.

The meaning inspired an advertising campaign where drinkers would materialise in a quiet Highland glen as they took a sip of the whisky.

Ironically, Tain and the surrounding area is on the flight path of low-flying military jets using a nearby bombing range.


The Sixteen Men of Tain are the unofficial guardians of the malt.

They are distillery workers who continue to use traditional skills used at the distillery since 1843.

According to the company, the methods have been handed down through the generations.


The Edinburgh-based company Macdonald and Muir bought Glenmorangie in 1918.

It went on to buy the land surrounding the Tarlogie Springs to secure the purity of the water used for the whisky.

French drinks firm Moet Hennessy bought Glenmorangie in 2004 for about 300m.

Distiller announces 45m revamp
01 Jul 08 |  Highlands and Islands

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