The Australian - Wish Magazine - - Monitoring -

he sun is shin­ing when Glen­morangie’s ex­pert whisky dis­tiller Dr Bill Lums­den crosses the Syd­ney Har­bour Bridge on his way to a lunch deep in the Blue Moun­tains. But by the time he gets there, the April skies have dark­ened, the winds have picked up and the heav­ens have opened. Turns out the Scots­man brought the weather from his high­lands home, along with the whisky.

“I feel very at home here to­day — this is a very typ­i­cally Scot­tish day, with a mix­ture of rain and sun­shine,” he tells the dozen guests around the lunch ta­ble at famed Syd­ney chef Sean Mo­ran’s coun­try farm. “All that is miss­ing is some hail­stones, which we of­ten get along with it.”

It seems fit­ting that the high­lands have come to Syd­ney for the day to mark the re­lease of the Glen­morangie Tu­sail, the sixth pri­vate col­lec­tion whisky to be made by the 172-year-old dis­tillery. Lo­cated in Tain, near In­ver­ness in north­west Scot­land, Glen­morangie (owned by luxury pow­er­house LVMH) pro­duces 10 mil­lion bot­tles a year and fre­quently takes out global awards for its whisky (in­clud­ing Dis­tiller of the Year in 2012). Lums­den is in Australia to in­tro­duce the limited-edi­tion Tu­sail to a group of de­sign con­tem­po­raries — fash­ion de­sign­ers, ar­chi­tects, art cu­ra­tors — some of whom are keen whisky drinkers, oth­ers con­fessed novices but keen to learn more.

“The pri­vate edi­tion is an op­por­tu­nity, once a year, to show­case some of our in­no­va­tion and some of our ex­per­i­men­ta­tion,” Lums­den ex­plains over the first course of the lunch. “As you can prob­a­bly tell from my job ti­tle, I am a sci­en­tist by train­ing, I am a bio­chemist. My first job in the whisky in­dus­try was back in 1986 and I was a re­search sci­en­tist be­fore I moved into pro­duc­tion. I love car­ry­ing out ex­per­i­ments. Tu­sail is one of the more geeky mem­bers of the pri­vate edi­tion range. The first five were more ob­vi­ous in flavour be­cause of the dif­fer­ent types of bar­rel I used but this was all about see­ing if I could cre­ate dif­fer­ent types of flavour by us­ing dif­fer­ent types of bar­ley.”

This ques­tion of whether a dif­fer­ent type of bar­ley — in this case a va­ri­ety called Maris Ot­ter that is sown in win­ter — could make a bet­ter whisky kept plagu­ing Lums­den. “In Scot­land, we don’t grow rice, it is too cold; we don’t grown corn, it is too wet for that. Bar­ley is the in­dige­nous ce­real we use and to make sin­gle malt whisky, by law it has to be 100 per cent malted bar­ley. We use spring bar­ley be­cause it is sown in the spring­time and can

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