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Whiskey Wheelie

Single malt giants, Glenmorangie recently unveiled the Glenmorangie Original Bicycles, a unique collaboration with wooden bicycle pioneers, Renovo. As simple and minimalist as the collaboration seems, there’s a deep art behind these cool bicycles, and it begins firstly with how Glenmorangie produces its ‘The Original’ flagship scotch series. 

Glenmorangie casks are made from high-quality American oak ex-bourbon casks, which is how The Original acquires its unique taste. So special is its function, that the casks of The Original are used only twice to retain the signature Glenmorangie flavour. This is how the fine wood notes of vanilla, almond, coconut and honey come to life. The parcel matured in second-fill casks, invites the citrus tones of Glenmorangie’s spirit to shine through. Together, they create The Original’s soft and smooth style.

These bicycle frames are somewhat a celebration of the wood casks important role in Glenmorangie’s craft, hence this innovative collaboration with bicycle pioneer Renovo, to create a ground-breaking limited edition of bicycles from the whisky’s casks. Renovo shares Glenmorangie’s passion for wood – its founder was so inspired by the material’s superior abilities to create a smoother ride, that he designed the first engineered wooden bicycle a decade ago. 

When the casks’ work at the Distillery is done, their staves are shipped from Scotland to Renovo’s workshop in Oregon, in the U.S. There, with some meticulous precision in cue, they are crafted into these Glenmorangie Original bicycles. Each contains about 15 staves in a frame which reflects the curvature of the casks. 

Commenting on the occasion, Dr Bill Lumsden, Glenmorangie’s Director of Distilling & Whisky Creation, said “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.”

The hollow frame of each Glenmorangie Original bicycle is created from about 15 staves, taken from the casks in which Glenmorangie Original was matured. Each is engineered to embrace the trapezoidal shape of each stave, as well as the curve of the barrel in the frame’s down tube. When shipped to Portland, the staves were first kiln dried to ensure their suitability for Renovo’s purposes. Then the staves’ charred surfaces were smoothed away, before they were handcrafted into frames by Renovo’s craftsmen – each taking more than 20 hours to create.

The frames, which vary in size to accommodate different riders (from 52-61cm), also incorporate a small proportion of darker sapele wood which brings adds an intriguing colour contrast to the wood of the staves. Given a durable coating, decorated with Glenmorangie’s Signet icon and individually numbered, these 8.1 kg bicycles are not just a tribute, but look pretty damn good in our eyes.
Renovo’s s founder Ken Wheeler, echoed similar excitement about the tribute wooden bicycles by commenting, “We are so excited to be working with Glenmorangie, a Distillery with which we feel such affinity. We are 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’s staves, will inspire anyone with a taste for innovation.”

This Glenmorangie-Renovo collaboration is the second partnership in the Distillery’s ‘Beyond the Cask’ series, which usually celebrates the casks in which Glenmorangie Original is matured, by repurposing their staves in innovative ways. In fact, last year, Glenmorangie created an exquisite limited edition of the world’s first Scotch whisky sunglasses, with renowned British eyewear designer Finlay & Co. The scotch masters sure do have an eye for the cool and quirky, don’t they?

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