Into the Saddle with Glenmorangie


A great bourbon cask will often become a great whisky cask. But what happens to a great whisky cask? The dream scenario – whisky cask Valhalla – is that after the very last drop has been drained, you are carefully dismembered into long, graceful, pungent staves, and dispatched to the artisans at Renovo. There you will be pressed with other wood, treated lovingly, and shaped into a beautiful road bike. This is the provenance of Renovo’s new range of bicycles, launched this month in the Old Bike Shed – where else? – in London’s Shoreditch.

A bike made of wood? Are you insane? Hush now. Carbon fibre is stiff and light, sure, but it takes bumps and scrapes extremely badly. Also you don’t have the satisfaction of riding around on something you know used to contain something as golden and sumptuous as the Glenmorangie Original, an award-winning dram. I checked out the insides and outsides of these spectacular rides – as well as one or two or seven of those single malts – at the launch event, where the family behind Renovo gave us the lowdown on the manufacturing process, as well as the componentry that hugs these boozy bikes.

Each frame takes 20 hours to craft by hand into a roadworthy speed machine. The oak staves are pressed together with dark sapele, to give the frame’s cross-section an alluring contrast. Plus it helps balance the weight, with a complete bike still tipping the scales at a respectable number. The price is not inconsiderable – you’re talking north of £5,000 – but a high-end carbon bike will set you back that much anyway, and will it have been personally hand-whittled for you out of whisky casks? Of course not.

Find out more about Glenmorangie’s collaboration with Renovo at