Nature, History and Experimentation Converge with Glenmorangie

Behind the design of Scotland's Glenmorangie House and photographer Miles Aldridge's It's Kind of Delicious and Wonderful 2.0 campaign

Glemorangie—the nearly 180-year-old Highland producer of many of the finest single-malt scotches ever to be offered to the public—continues shaking things up in the segment. Rather than soldier on with stereotypical advertising focused solely on celebrating moments of success and adhering to tradition, Glenmorangie has pivoted to something more inclusive and approachable. From the vibrancy of their latest technicolor print ads to the recently redesigned packaging on their 10 Year Original, 12 Year Lasanta and 14 Year Quinta Ruban single malts, Glenmorangie is set on grabbing the attention of new enthusiasts while also keeping longtime fans engaged.

The journey began with the hiring of Dr Bill Lumsden 28 years ago. Dr Bill, as his coworkers affectionately call him, is the man behind the unique liquid found in Glenmorangie bottles—his official role being that of director of distilling, whisky creation and whisky stocks. As we noted last year when visiting The Lighthouse (a 20-meter-high physical manifestation of Lumsden’s vision for Glenmorangie), there is an experimental and future-facing attitude coexisting with the immense history of the brand. Trying new approaches to making single malt or questioning what scotch whisky is altogether has drawn criticism from some distillers, but as we hear from Lumsden, he is delighted that some of his peers have called him over the years to grill him. Now with Glenmorangie applying more of that attitude to their brand identity by way of the latest installment in their It’s Kind of Delicious and Wonderful series of ads, the pivot to a more approachable single malt brand feels fully realized, not to mention authentic.

Shot by notable British fashion photographer Miles Aldridge, the imagery and accompanying short film for It’s Kind of Delicious and Wonderful 2.0 conjure up scenes from dreamy arthouse films of the 1970s and ’80s. When we visited London and spoke with Aldridge, Lumsden and Glenmorangie’s global marketing director Caspar McRae, we learned that when the campaign was still in the ideation phase, the team used photographs by Aldridge as reference points for the style they would like to go for—at first assuming that they wouldn’t be able to get Aldridge on the project. Fortunately, Aldridge was indeed interested and since they began working together in 2019 Glenmorangie has experienced a 40% uptick in sales and 20% increase in volumes consumed.

Just as Lumsden has produced unconventional single malt scotch whisky to great acclaim, Aldridge has done the same for Glenmorangie’s advertising. The latest vignettes from Aldridge include a hot-air balloon ride, a session with a tarot reader, a walk through a greenhouse, a visit to a barbershop and a game of pinball. Backed by Michael Kiwunaka’s “Cold Little Heart,” the commercial’s scenes certainly evoke the magical realism that Aldridge is known for and emphasize Glenmorangie’s knack for reaching beyond the stereotypes connected with whisky.

The same can be said for Glenmorangie House, located in the hamlet of Cadboll, by Tain, Scotland. Remodeled last year by Russell Sage Studio, the 17th century house is devoid of a single piece of tartan or earthy tones. Instead it feels like walking into one of Aldridge’s photographs that’s been soaked in the most experimental whisky Lumsden could conceive. Upstairs each of the six guest rooms features unique design themes and color palettes related to various Glenmorangie whiskies.

Downstairs there’s the hand-painted wallpaper Morning Room (complete with a fully stocked hidden corner bar where visitors can take a cocktail-making class), the Tasting Room (whose blue walls reference the pure spring water that contributes to Glenmorangie’s distinct flavors), the Dining Room (with a sprawling table and elements that reference the tall copper stills at the distillery) and the Buffalo Room with vibrant green woodwork, a fireplace and plenty of games to play while enjoying post-dinner drinks and entertainment—which may be a pianist who takes requests. The whole property embraces maximalist style, subverting expectations of a Scottish country house and delivering a design hotel that’s a destination in its own right.

Visitors are welcome to complimentary colorful wellies for exploring the grounds via pathways that lead through barley fields and down to the beach. Once on the water walk, guests are treated to views that will be impossible to forget. The raw beauty of the Scottish Highlands and the colorful daydream of Glenmorangie House juxtapose one another in a way that delights the senses, while the historical but experimental liquid adds another layer of richness and wonder to the entire experience.

Images courtesy of Glenmorangie