By Dominic Roskrow

The best deal possible

Glenmorangie House lies some seven or eight miles from the distillery, and driving up to it on a dark and windy night is like driving back in time. We arrive late, and already guests are coming down for dinner and meeting for drinks in a spacious and stylish lounge. It is like walking on to the set of an Agatha Christie film. But we have picked a good time to be here. Tomorrow the management of Glenmorangie will travel to Tain to formally announce what the purchase by LVMH will mean.Twenty four hours from now staff at the house will say that they learned nothing new at the meeting – but that’s the point. The company is already allaying fears by being totally transparent and when we arrive our hosts can hardly suppress their smiles.How different from a few weeks back, when I wrote of the uncertainty and trepidation over the sale. For while much has been made of the fate of Glenmorangie’s three distilleries, that’s only part of the story. The staff at the luxurious Glenmorangie House; the workers at the bottling plant, by far and away the single largest group; and those at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society; they all have a stake in this too.Indeed, in the case of the bottling plant, many predicted its immediate demise. That hasn’t happened, the feeling is that they have struck gold and that this is the best deal possible.There is even talk of LVMH bottling some of its other products at the Glenmorangie plant.Nor does the good news end there. The indications are that LVMH will allow the existing management structure to remain in place. There is a commitment to honouring the existing pensions system. And it is already listening to plans for investment from different components of the industry. More warehouse for Glenmorangie at Tain, for instance.Which is why we welcome the news that they are to be the new owners.I just don’t buy in to the view of a minority of the pessimists bemoaning the fact that foreigners have taken over a Scottish company. We live in a global world, and an increasingly trashy and disposable one at that. Any company swimming against that tide is to be encouraged and this company goes even further, boasting some of the most luxurious brands in the world in its portfolio.It understands that quality comes through love, creativity and investment. I don’t know if the French management stood by the pond which serves as the source of the spring water from which Glenmorangie is created and which never freezes because the water bubbles out of the rocks at seven degrees, but if they did they will have loved the fact that the water they were looking at took 100 years to complete its journey through the hills around Tain.They will have listened intently to Ed Dodson as he enthused about the new whisky he is making at Glen Moray, and the fact that the company’s wood policy is just starting to bear genuine fruit for the company’s least famous distillery.They will have delighted in the charm of Glenmorangie itself, and the pride of distillery manager Graham Eunson and his staff. And as French men and women and therefore arbiters of good taste, they will have immersed themselves in the delights of Jackie Thomson’s food at Ardbeg, and risen to the challenge of understanding Stuart Thomson’s wonderful whisky there.During the time we were at Glenmorangie House, just two days after the sale, there was so much positivity it was impossible not to be affected by it.We look forward to working with the new owners – and relish the thought of Glenmorangie winning new friends across the world.