After more than a century in the whisky business, the team at Glenfiddich continues to make bold choices, and the Glenfiddich Grand Series is their latest innovative range. The whiskies have been specially created to celebrate grand occasions by bringing together traditions from across the world, combining Scotch whisky with flavours from France, the Caribbean and Japan.
The latest addition to the Grand Series takes its inspiration from Japan. Yozakura is Japanese for ‘night cherry blossoms’, a tradition of viewing the country’s beautiful sakura flowers lit up at night. The whisky itself draws its unique character from Japan, matured for 29 years in traditional oak casks before a time finishing in casks that previously held Japanese awamori – the first Scotch whisky to be so finished. This Okinawan delicacy is made from rice and has a complex and almost smoky character that adds layers of flavour to the classic Glenfiddich profile.
Zesty, ripe fruits and caramelised almonds. Lovely rich oak notes with hints of cinnamon and a distinctive herbal zing.
Indulgent layers of toasted oak, creamy vanilla toffee and silky tannin. Sporadic bursts of spice and sherbet lemons with crunchy green apple and warming earthy tones.
Long lasting oak.
To create this unique 23-year-old whisky, Glenfiddich master blender Brian Kinsman sources casks from winemakers in northeast France. For many years these French oak vessels have been used to make the base wines that would later become sparkling wine. When filled with long-aged Glenfiddich single malt, they impart a delicate creaminess, along with familiar notes of freshly-baked brioche and citrus. Glenfiddich Grand Cru is a great whisky for toasting those special occasions.
Soft lemon and pink lady apple notes sit alongside a heavier creaminess. Marzipan and honey brioche follow. The apple becomes more intense with time, picking up grapes, floral honey and the merest hint of red fruits along the way.
Oily. Sweet, honeyed fruits and a rush of cream, then baked apple tart with extra apple skins and flecks of spice. The sweet nuttiness from the nose is present too.
Dry and short, with notes of hazelnuts, brioche and honeysuckle.
The casks used to finish this long-aged Glenfiddich started life in Cognac, maturing eau-de-vie for the region’s brandies. After long careers in the cellars of the Charente they travelled more than 1,000 miles north to the Scottish Highlands for a new role in the whisky industry. Their influence on this exceptional single malt is felt in its layers of warm spice and evocative notes of patisserie and toasted nuts.
Glenfiddich's trademark orchard fruit notes are gently cooked down into tarte tatin and poached pear. Patisserie notes of sweet pastry and cream develop, tempered by soft baking spice notes and delicate oak.
Richly textured with an initial burst of brown sugar, honey and soft spice – vanilla posset with a sprinkling of nutmeg and a piece of baklava on the side. The sweetness develops, with muscat grape notes adding a fruity dimension to the initial honey.
Creamy notes linger as the sweetness fades, slowly picking up soft spice and polished oak.
Glenfiddich released its first rum cask finish in 2002, reviving a practice that dates back to the first booming of the Scotch whisky industry. In the mid-19th century, the docks at Glasgow were filled with barrels and puncheons of rum arriving from the new world. Once decanted, they would be snapped up by distillers looking for oak to fill their warehouses and so the flavours of rum came to influence malt whisky. This tradition lives today in the 21-year-old Glenfiddich Gran Reserva, a highland single malt with a taste of the Caribbean.
Beeswax and honey, with milky coffee, buttered brioche, apples, pears and orange zest.
Sweet and rich with a thick mouthfeel. Soft spice and orchard fruit balance sweet caramel.
Apples and pears with dark chocolate and a touch of spice.
When William Grant laid the foundations for his distillery in 1886, he had no big investors to back him – all he had was his modest savings and abundant self-belief. Spirit first ran in the stillhouse he built on Christmas Day the following year and it has barely stopped since. By the early 20th century Grant’s whisky was drunk as far afield as the United States and Australia. In the 1960s Glenfiddich emerged as a brand in its own right and it reigns now as the world’s bestselling single malt.
The distillery remains family owned and retains Mr Grant’s pioneering spirit to this day.
In 2017 Whisky Exchange Ambassador Billy Abbott sat down with Brian Kinsman, the Glenfiddich malt master responsible for all the distillery’s award-winning whiskies, to quiz him about all things Glenfiddich.