Glenmorangie and Renovo Hardwood Bicycles breathe new life into used whisky casks

By / Wine + Drinks / December 20th, 2017 / 6

Having been almost run over on three separate occasions while walking around London’s arty Shoreditch neighbourhood, I had a few reservations about accepting an offer to take a bicycle tour of London’s popular tourist sites. However, thanks to Jack – the expert guide from Tally Ho Cycle Tours – I succeeded in seeing London’s attractions from the road without becoming a part of the road.

The tour was part of a one day(!) adventure arranged by the Glenmorangie Distillery. Why, you may wonder, would a Scottish distillery invite me to London to do things involving bikes? Well, here’s why: to celebrate a unique collaboration between Glenmorangie Single Malt Scotch Whisky and Oregon-based Renovo Hardwood Bicycles.

Part of the secret to he round, smooth, full taste of Glenmorangie’s The Original (it’s flagship brand) has to do with the distilleries use of oak casks. While some distillers reuse casks up to six times, Glenmorangies refills but twice. What to do with the used casks? You could sell them to another distillery that’s less fussy about how many times the wood has been soaked, or you could take the barrels apart and repurpose the staves into…bicycles? Yes, exactly.

“Gllenmorangie is reknowned for using the finest casks just twice, to create the smoother, rounder profile of The Original – a whisky which beautifully balances the hints of ripening peaches and citrus fruits with creamy, vanilla notes, to delight malt connoisseurs and amateurs alike,” notes Dr. Bill Lumsden, Glenmorangie’s Director of Distilling & Whisky Creation. “This pioneering collaboration with renovo brings new life to the casks which inspire our whisky. Each one of these limited-edition bicycles is a fitting celebration of our expertise in wood and shared passion for creativity.”

“We are so excited to be working with Glenmorangie, a distillery with which we feel such affinity,” remarks Renovo’s founder, Ken Wheeler. “Renovo is dedicated to honouring wood in the creation of our bicycles, engineered to perfection for a smoother ride. And these beautiful machines, uniquely fashioned from Glenmorangie staves, will inspire anyone with a taste for innovation.”

The partnership between Glenmorangie and Renovo – dubbed “Beyond the Cask” – is the second such collaboration between the distiller and a woodworking partner (the first was with the respected British eyewear designer Finlay & Co.). At the Beyond the Cask Global Launch Event I was able to see one of the bicycles (with a retail price of close to $7,000) deconstructed. Each Glenmorangie Original bicycle frame is made from about 15 barrel staves that have been kiln dried with the charred surfaces smoothed before being shipped to Renovo, whose team of craftmen fashion them into frames of various sizes over the course of about 20 hours. The result is a beautiful blend of form and function.

“In these beautiful bicycles, we have created a lasting tribute to Glenmorangie Original’s casks to which our award-winning whisky owes so much, Dr. Lumsden concludes. “I’m delighted that through our pioneering collaboration with Renovo, founded on a shared passion and expertise in wood – we ensure that these wonderful casks live on and on.”

I’ll raise a dram to that!


If you enjoyed this interesting tidbit about the whisky world, you’ll enjoy our February/March 2018 issue of Quench Magazine. It’s filled with great content and stories exploring behind the scenes of the world’s drinks industry. “Get Quench-ed. Subscribe NOW.”


Tod Stewart is the contributing editor at Quench. He's an award-winning Toronto-based wine/spirits/food/travel/lifestyle writer with over 35 years industry experience. He has contributed to newspapers, periodicals, and trade publications and has acted as a consultant to the hospitality industry. No matter what the subject matter, he aims to write an entertaining read. His book, 'Where The Spirits Moved Me' is now available on Amazon and Apple.

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