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Sunday 31 January 2021



Trends in the world of alcohol tend to ebb and flow, but Japanese whisky seems to be here to stay. Within the last few years, the spirit has grown considerably in popularity. Part of that might be due in position to a rarity factor (scarcity is perhaps one of the world’s best and oldest marketing tactics), but it might also be because Japanese whisky is just really good.

When you see the phrase whisky, it’s easy to think about Scotch, but Japanese whisky is closer in taste to something akin to bourbon than it is any single malt scotch. This factor makes it great to enjoy, regardless of how you ultimately decide to enjoy it, grabbing a bottle of Japanese whisky is a great way to try a new and legitimately exciting spirit that you might have otherwise missed out on.

Each year, the Yamazaki distillery would release a new edition of their 12 Year Old Yamazaki Single Malt. While the label and box changed often, the incredible liquid inside remained the same. This whisky has now picked up more awards than one would care to count and that only goes to highlight it’s supreme quality. Sadly, there was no release in 2019 and 2020.

The hard luck story didn’t stop there. Production of age-stated Hibiki whisky, one of the most popular premium blended ranges to come out of Japan, was also stopped. The bottles are iconic, veritable decanters featuring 24 facets that represent the 24 small seasons of Japan and the hours in a day. The core range previously included the Hibiki 12 Year-Old, its youngest whisky, which was discontinued in 2015, before the Hibiki Harmony NAS was introduced.

The rise of shochu and the steep drop of whisky consumption in Japan during the 80s saw many producers reduce production output, a move that has turned around and hit the whisky world of today. A Nikkei Asia Review showcased the huge sales growth Japanese whisky has experienced in the past 15 years to meet an ever-growing demand. The focus is on age-stated expressions which, according to many online retailers and stores in Japan, sell out immediately after being placed on the shelves, both real and virtual, cost no bar.

Lessons learned, the major Japanese whisky maker will not commit the mistake of running out of stock again. Since 2013, Suntory has invested over $182 million in ramping up production. Stills have been added to both the Yamazaki and Hakushu sites and the company’s Ohmi Ageing Cellar has undergone a large expansion. An extra $80 million will be invested through 2020-21 to expand the Hakushu ageing facilities.

Touch wood, that situation has changed. Suntory, which owns both brands, has stated that they will be launching two of their most popular expressions this May, the Yamazaki single malt and one from the Hibiki Harmony blended range. The primary market will be the USA, where Trump imposed a blanket 25% tariff on Scotch single malts and liqueurs, ramping up their prices and forcing a 20% drop in sales if the Corona virus is not factored in. As always, the new Yamazaki will feature a new and modernised look, also promised for the Hibiki.

The new Yamazaki, a limited release, will return to its taste of the 1996-2005 era casks. The new make has been aged in virgin Mizunara Japanese oak casks, aiming to recapture the banana, incense, and coconut notes Mizunara is best known for. Rich sherried fruits, subtle spices and a plethora of other intriguing notes should also be found in a glass of this exceptional whisky. It will comprise single malts 12 years old or more.

The 43% ABV 75° proof (86° in the USA) is programmed to be ceremonially released on 25 May, at a cost of 8,000¥ (US$75), initially at home before winging its way into its established main markets globally, USA first.

The Hibiki Harmony Blended Whisky returns: The new Hibiki Harmony is back albeit in a slightly different avatar, the Hibiki Blossom Harmony. The Blossom comes from the cherry blossom casks used, the first time ever. The primary single malt remains the Hakushu, buttressed by the Yamazaki and the grains revolve around the Chita. The blending was done in Sakura (cherry blossom) casks. The incredible decanter hasn’t changed an iota, being Hibiki’s USP. The carton and label have changed, to stress subtle nuances of Japanese beauty and the essence of the multi-faceted word, blossom.

Also a limited release, Suntory avers this expression was primarily created as a gift. Accordingly, its sales will be spread across Japan more widely, even if in limited numbers. The trend of Sakura cask-finishing is nothing new and has been used widely across numerous brands in Japan. Suntory has also used a Sakura cask in its single grain release from its grain distillery, Chita under the expensive Essence of Suntory three-bottle range of February 2018. We can expect signature beguiling aromas of apricots, orange blossom and marmalade, bolstered by the subtle spiciness of cinnamon and clove. The generous fruit, with oranges and apricots in abundance and the peppery spice should integrate well with the outflows from the wood.

The Hibiki Blossom Harmony is bottled at 43% ABV and will accompany the Yamazaki in the ceremonial release slated for 25 May, again at a cost of 8,000¥ (US$75). A global release should follow. 

New Releases From MARS Distilleries

Located between Japan’s soaring Southern Alps and the towering Central Alps, at just over 2,600 feet, Mars Shinshu is Japan’s highest whisky distillery. The Hombo family have been distilling for more than a century and added whisky to their repertoire in 1949. At that time the distillery was located in the Tsunuki region of Kagoshima Prefecture on the southern-most island of Kyushu. 

Until 1984, it was the southernmost whisky made in Japan, which ended when the Hombo clan moved the distillery to the idyllic alpine setting of Miyada village in southern Nagano Prefecture, Central Japan. They chose this site for its cool temperature, which slowed maturation, and the plentiful soft granite filtered snowmelt fed aquifers.

In 2016, Hombo Shuzo reopened and introduced new pot stills to their first distillery location in Kagoshima now known as the Mars Tsunuki Distillery, once again Japan’s southernmost distillery. They also built an ageing facility on a tiny island known as Yakushima, a National World Heritage site, where they now age spirits from both Shinshu and Tsunuki distilleries.

Mars recently announced the release of three new whiskies nationwide in the United States through its importer. These include one bourbon styled brand, the IWAI 45, and two single malts, Komagatake 2020 and Tsunuki the First.

Mars has over 35 whiskies on offer, besides a 30-year old brandy. IWAI 45 (45% ABV) is a bourbon-style Japanese whisky named after Kiichiro Iwai, one of the pioneers of the Japanese whisky world, and priced around $35. Iwai 45 has been made for crafting cocktails. This 90 proof whisky will hold up in any whisky cocktail, with a balance and texture created by the Mars master blender for the international bartender. 

Tsuniki The First 59.0% ABV 700 ml

The first release from Tsunuki Distillery has finally arrived! The climate at the Tsunuki Distillery is drastically different being near sea level, with higher humidity and fluctuating temperatures. The goal of the new distillery is to not necessarily increase production, but to experiment with terroir. This is the first ever Mars release that has been both distilled and aged entirely at sea level. This anticipated single malt is aged for 4 yrs in ex-bourbon and sherry barrels and does not disappoint.

Distilled in 2016/17, this superb expression was then laid to mature in bourbon barrels. The distillery workers would have tasted the whisky along every step of the way before deciding that they had it just right for bottling in 2020. It comes in at 59% ABV and brings citrus fruits, vanilla and fresh bread on the nose, followed by more sweet fruits, grassy notes and gentle spices on the palate. The finish is of medium length with a soft sweetness and cracked black pepper.

It’s a truly memorable and exciting new whisky that highlights the expertise and knowledge of those working at Mars, though with them having so much experience in the industry that’s hardly surprising. The First kicks off the Mars whisky range in style and given it is literally ‘the first’ whisky from the distillery, a lot more is expected to come from them in the coming weeks, months and years, as they look to carve their niche in the Japanese whisky market.

2020 Shinshu Mars Distillery Komagatake Limited Edition Single Malt Japanese Whisky (700ml) 50% ABV

Released to celebrate the newly reconstructed distilling site at Nagano (pictured on the label), this limited edition has been aged in Sherry casks and American oak. According to at least one reviewer, it's the best Komagatake annual release yet! Very limited stocks. 50% Alc./Vol. Non chill filtered.

Matured in ex-Bourbon oak and then new American oak and Sherry Oak. The whisky is lightly peated to 3.5PPM imparting a slight earthiness to the whisky.

Nose: A very clean malt that expresses fresh green apples and pears, citrus and vanilla with some toasted hazelnuts. Really pleasing seeing as it’s so young.

Palate: Oak reveals itself first and marries with spice. Lemon meringue pie, melon balls and vanilla dominate the palate.

Finish: Oak and citrus, orchard fruits and spice.

Bartender Spirits Awards Whisky Of The Year: Meiyo 17 Japanese Whisky Kumesen Distillery Bags Whisky Producer Of The Year

From Japan’s Kumesen Distillery in Okinawa, Meiyo Single Grain Japanese whisky is aged for 17 years in ex-bourbon barrels has won the Whisky of the Year award by bartenders and mixologists of the USA.

Aged for 17 years in ex-bourbon casks, Meiyo is distilled, aged, and bottled at the Kumesen distillery in Okinawa, Japan. Meiyo is the principle that represents Honour in Bushido, the Samurai code of conduct. The 42% ABV Meiyo whisky raises discipline and stability to a higher level.

The Bartender Spirits Awards judge spirits across the parameters of Mixability, Balance and Versatility, Taste, Mouthfeel and Finish, Package and Price. This competition recognises that bartenders are the true influencers – their passions and tastes provide direction for the consumer, especially via their recommendations of wine, beer or spirit.

The 2020 competition saw submissions from 34 countries including some new additions like Lebanon, Kazakhstan, Switzerland. The United States had the top submissions where 251 brands were entered followed by Mexico and Australia.

As more turn to the world of Japanese whiskies, we have seen price tags skyrocket. What was once a modest interpretation of Scottish malt whiskies has become an industry where it isn’t surprising to see a bottle with a £1,000 price label. In fact, for many bottles coming from Japan, this is a reasonable figure! One way of getting into Japanese whiskies is to start with brands available at a reasonable by our standards price.

Suntory Toki Blended Japanese Whisky

Part of the reason Japanese whisky has become so popular and prevalent in recent years is because of Suntory. The Toki whisky is probably the brand’s most accessible whisky and comes from a blend of three different distilleries, Yamazaki, Hakushu and Chita. The taste is actually closer to a scotch whisky than you might believe but has interesting vanilla notes, green tea, almonds and even honey.

Toki has a different composition to another Suntory blend, Hibiki, as the main components thereof are Hakashu single malt and Chita grain whisky. It should work really well in a highball. Suzuki works to spread Japanese bartending philosophy through seminars in countries across the world including the London Bar Show, Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans, and Whisky Live in Taipei.

Toki means "time" in Japanese. It's a concept rich in meaning the world over, but particularly in Japan where respect for tradition and reinvention sparks a powerful creative energy. Inspired by that interplay, Suntory brings together old and new -the House of Suntory's proud heritage and its innovative spirit- to create blended Japanese whisky that is both groundbreaking and timeless.

Chichibu Ichiro’s Malt and Grain Japanese Whisky

Founded in 2008, Chichibu has quickly made a name for itself with its Malt and Grain Japanese Whisky. Made from a blend that combines Japanese single malt whisky, Scotch, Irish and American whiskey and Canadian rye, the blend is aged and then matured to provide an inherently bold flavor. It’s the only blend from Chichibu offered as a truly global endeavour, one that’s decidedly unique.

Hardly able to keep up with the ever-growing stateside market (much less those of Scotland Ireland, and Canada), Japanese whisky has stayed indefinitely on my back burner, not helped by its often hefty price – though that’s likely to change for me after trying Ichiro’s Malt and Grain.

While a product of a Japanese company – specifically Ichiro Akuto, founder and master distiller of Ichiro’s Malt with Chichibu Distillery northwest of Tokyo – Ichiro’s Malt and Grain is “an all world whisky” as Akuto put its in a postcard enclosed with a sample.

While the short product description is vague, it briefly explains that those foreign whiskies are aged in their countries of origin for three to five years and aged for another one to three years in Chichibu. While Ichiro’s Malt has only been producing whisky in Chichibu since 2008, it already had built a name for itself by that point through the legacy of the Akuto family’s defunct Hanyu Distillery.

With the family already renowned for their sake, Ichiro Akuto’s grandfather reportedly founded the Hanyu distillery in the 1940s and rode hot whisky demand for decades until succumbing to a recession in 2000. Ichiro Akuto, however, scooped up the aging Hanyu stock and eventually began selling it, most notably the highly collectible and highly sought-after Ichiro’s Malt Card Series, a 54-part collection that includes a whisky named for and adorned with each of the cards in a standard deck (including the two jokers). A full set was on sale at one point in 2015 for nearly $500,000, and even a collection of 13 bottles in the series was going for nearly $44,000 in 2016.

The Takeaway: A blend of whiskies with the Japanese Ichiro’s Malt as the base combined with whiskies from Scotland, Ireland, Canada, and the United States, each blended for four to eight years in various locations. The final blend is bottled at 46.5% ABV and sold for an average of $106 per bottle.

Appearance: Brighter than the average whisky with a pale gold hue.

Nose: Starts like a sweet but delicate vanilla that then quickly develops into a tart bouquet of orange and apple with the alcohol manifesting a bit like a sauvignon blanc. That eventually tones down to a more subdued combination of toffee, pear and plums – again with a twinge of alcohol that’s like white wine, only this time a bit like pinot gris.

Palate: Very similarly to the nose, the first sip starts off like a very delicate vanilla with just the faintest hints of sweet tropical fruit and flowers. That gradually transitions to more of a hazelnut-like vanilla with a flare of ginger to it, gradually building in spiciness as a notes of pepper and peat develop. Swallowing takes an interesting turn as it leads to a wave of a nutty, pepper in the back the mouth, which then quickly ebbs away. That leads to a brief pause before another wave gently rolls tasting first of honey, then of a firm but gentle surge of pepper. That finally fades into a honey-like coating on the tongue with a very faint tickle of ginger.

For being an “all world whisky” of distillates from Scotland, Ireland, Canada, and the United States, few whiskies from those countries can match this blend. Ichiro’s Malt and Grain does everything one wants and rarely finds in a whisky: it’s on the sweeter side but in a way that’s not overpowering – allowing for a range of earthy and spicy flavors – while taking the drinker on a journey between distinct yet subtle waves of flavours.


KAMIKI is the "First Whisky Brand In The World With Japanese Cedar Cask Finish"

Yoshino Sugi is considered to be the best wood for making local drink casks because of its scented refreshing flavour and wooden aroma. This blend is rested for a second time in Yoshino Sugi casks to capture a perfectly smooth taste, a scent of sandalwood on the nose and a zest of green tea in the finish. This second maturation makes the whisky unique.

Their Shrine: Ōmiwa Shrine in Nara is one of Japan's oldest extant Shinto shrines. It is a tutelary shrine of the Japanese alcohol producers. Most well-known alcohol producer families are in Nara and these families have a centuries-old tradition of producing alcohol for Ōmiwa. The alcohol produced by these families is served as blessings at Shinto temples.

The Ōmiwa Shrine lies at the foot of Mount Miwa, a holy mountain guarded by the shrine. Mount Miwa has many legends, and has been worshipped from ancient times as a sacred Mountain of the God. Inspired by beautiful breezes coming from the Mountain of the God, we named our whisky KAMIKI whereby "KAMI" means "GOD" and "IKI" means "BREATH".

Yoshino-sugi (Japanese cedar) is the unique ingredient in this blend of worldwide whiskies, with casks made from wood claimed to be the first ever used in whisky production. And while it has a typically Japanese lightness, the flavour is unlike any other whisky we’ve tried. It’s like taking your tastebuds on a wander through a cedar sawmill, speckling them with dry sawdust and resins, with a subtle smokiness adding to the effect. Green pepper and a hint of stewed fruit add to the complexity, while some peppery spice adds a touch of warmth to your sipping pleasure.

The Whisky

Extraordinary ! Demure aromas of freshly cut wood and button mushrooms are decidedly earth driven. Much more intense on the palate the flavours explode with toasted tobacco, sweet cinnamon, and background notes of cedar. Sandalwood aromas are robust and exhilarating on the nose. The cedar cask influence is immediately apparent in the mouth, filling the palate with spicy wood flavors. Robust coffee and hints of dried fig deepen the layers.

First whisky brand in the world with Japanese Sakura Tree and Cedar cask finish. As well “First triple cask finish whisky in the world, first matured in Oak and aged second time in Cedar and later in Sakura casks.

Nikka Coffey Malt Whisky  45% ABV

This whisky is made from 100% malted barley and was distilled in a Coffey, or column, still rather than a pot still. Coffey stills are typically used to produce grain whisky, and they can distill proofs as high as 95% ABV. They tend to be more pure than whiskies produced in pot stills. The column still was much more efficient compared to the traditional pot still, producing higher proof spirit about ten times more in volume compared to medium sized pot still distillery. Since the malting, heating and maintenance costs were a fraction of those of a malt distillery, the column still grain spirit cost about 50-70% less compared to pot still malt whisky, even if the set-up costs were included. Scots and northern Britons were not used to the light column still whisky and at the beginning large quantities were sold to rectifiers and gin distillers, who spiced the spirit and sold it as gin or imitation brandy or cognac.

During the latter part of the 19th century several factors caused the rise of the column still whisky. Branding and advertising became important at about the middle of the 19th century Britain. Several traders begun blending the products of different distilleries and sold them under their own labels. Blending enabled the inclusion of raw grain column still spirits into the mix and on the other hand blended whisky was easier to sell in the big English markets used to lighter non-smoky spirits.

Nikka Coffey Malt comes from Taketsuru’s company Nikka Whisky. The sweet tasting Nikka Coffey Malt has an ABV of 45% and goes well with pastries. This unique expression was developed in 2013 as a result of Nikka's continuous experiments to widen the variety and offer more excitements to aficionados. Made from 100% malted barley, whisky distilled in a Coffey still is matured in old casks to enhance the rich maltiness, complexity and a silky texture. This expression is not categorized as “malt whisky” but as “grain whisky” since it is not distilled in a pot still. Lively and citrusy, the Nikka Coffey Malt is not to be missed if you enjoy sweet whisky with strong fruit aromas.

Note: This product does not meet all the criteria of “Japanese whisky “ defined by the Japan Spirits & Liqueur Makers Association.

The Japan Spirits & Liqueurs Makers Association announced a new set of industry-wide regulations on 16 February 2021, effective 01 Apr 2021. The new regulations are designed to create more certainty around Japanese Whisky and bring it in line with the strict laws and regulations that other whisky-producing nations follow.


Although these regulations are not binding, it is certainly a step in the right direction for the industry. These “non-binding” regulations took effect from 1st April 2021. However, whisky brands have until 31st March 2024 to adhere to them.

  • The only raw ingredients allowed for use in production are malted grains, other cereal grains, and water extracted in Japan. Malted grains must always be used. 
  • Fermentation, distillation, and saccharification must take place in a distillery located in Japan, with the alcohol volume of the distillate not allowed to go above 95% in strength. 
  • Wood casks with a maximum capacity of 700 litres must be used for the maturation of the distilled product and have to be matured in Japan for a minimum of 3 years. 
  • Bottling must take place in Japan, and the whisky has to have a minimum ABV of 40%.
  • Plain caramel colouring (also known as E150a) can be added; this is a common practice in whisky around the world.

The move by the Japanese Whisky industry to put in new regulations around production and labelling that add to transparency was welcomed globally. However, as these regulations are non-binding and considering the fact that three fifths of all Scottish Whisky imported into Japan is in bulk containers, it is unlikely that they will quickly adapt to the new ‘rules’.

Monday 25 January 2021






Exceptional skill, decades of dedication and an inventive mind make a brilliant Malt Master. Earth and soaked wood aromas blend with deep vanilla. Flavours are sharp with spice and round with plum. A hint of toasted almonds gives way to a silky smooth finish.

A complete original from their Malt Master, this unique bottling is offered in homage to Glenfiddich’s 125th anniversary. 

Colour: Deep ruby red.

Nose: Clear components of pear and crisp apple. Cider. Slightly winey, with red grape skins and a mild sour note. Golden raisins and vanilla. Damp earth and whisky-soaked wood intertwine with deep vanilla and smoky embers.

Palate: Rich with complex flavours layered by double-maturation. Sherbet and zinginess slowly turn to spice. Tempting plum and cherry follow, with hints of toasted almonds and fruit cake. Nice caramel apple notes. Round and sweet. Medium-bodied. Granola and golden raisins.

Finish: Silky and smooth. Sticky toffee pudding. Malty and mildly oaky on the tail end, not overly bitter. Walnut on the fade-out. 

With Water: Opens up some banana notes, and various florals – honeysuckle? Palate is washed out and bland. I don’t suggest water with this.

OverallVery nice. The nose is a surprise, with mouth-watering fruit notes that stand out clearly. It gets somewhat too sweet in the finish, where the subtle notes are washed away by the sticky caramelised sugar. Delicate and accomplished, even if a tad expensive.

Their first double-matured expression. Glenfiddich’s sixth Malt Master, Brian Kinsman, has created their first double-matured expression. After many years ageing in oak casks, Glenfiddich’s Malt Master’s Edition spends its final years in sherry casks. This layers an unmatched depth of aroma and flavour in each one of their individually crafted batches.

Caramelised Casks: The sweet Spanish sherry butts we use to mature our whiskies are toasted to caramelise their wood sugars. Deepening the fruit and softening the sweetness of the maturing whisky inside.

Gentle Flavouring: The sherry butts used each hold 110 gallons and are the largest of all casks used in maturing single malt Scotch whisky. Their large size and volume means the whisky inside matures more slowly and gently picks up their aromas and flavours.

This is a “double wood”, aged for the majority of its life in ex-bourbon, and then given a secondary maturation (not just a finish) in sherry casks. According to the press release, this is the first Glenfiddich malt to be transferred entirely from bourbon barrels to a prolonged maturation in sherry barrels, as opposed to the 18-year, for example, where barrels of each type are blended together in large batches to get the target flavour profile. This seems rather specious for an $80 price tag, although it could be argued that the barrels selected for this malt are of higher quality and thus more valuable than the “run of the mill” barrels that get dumped into the mass-market varieties. That’s a consideration that can’t be quantified – we will have to take Glenfiddich’s word that this whisky is worth $80. 



Glenfiddich, the world’s most awarded single malt Scotch whisky has revealed stunning new packaging on their 15 Year Old Distillery Edition Scotch Whisky. Evocative imagery of the Glenfiddich Distillery is featured along with a bespoke foot label – all wrapped in a beautiful smoky grey and gold gift tube further enhancing the premium feel for the discerning whisky drinker.

A higher strength single malt Scotch whisky, crafted with Glenfiddich’s century-old traditions. After at least 15 years maturing in traditional American oak and Spanish oak, it is non-chill filtered and bottled at 51% ABV to protect its subtle flavours. Unique floral and peppery notes are released and a sweet, velvet, warm finish.

Colour: Deep gold autumn barley.

Nose: It needs time to develop in the glass. A delicate floral and creamy aroma with hints of freshly ground black pepper. Its a very clean aroma, in a way. There are two sides: the fruity and the malted barley. On the former it’s pears, almost a cider or mead perhaps, with tones of honey and vanilla; tangerines and dried apricots. On the latter there’s just the touch of summer straw in dusty barns. It’s not massively complex, but it’s expressed very well. And again, just feels clean and precise. With a little water, the fruity and vanilla sweetness of Glenfiddich is released.

Palate: At full strength the smooth, warming flavour is centred around a delicious creamy spiciness. Identical to the nose in many respects, with the two sides of fruitiness and malted barley. More citrus notes, with tangerines, lime juice, as well as sultanas and dried apricots. Those malty notes are a little more restrained, and instead some of the heat of the wood takes over. Bitter chocolate. Pepper. And maybe some feints in the form of digestive biscuits and honey once again. After adding a little water, the softer vanilla and gentle luscious fruit flavours come through.

Finish: Lingering, sweet and velvety warm.

A Coppersmith’s Art: Glenfiddich is one of the few distilleries to employ an onsite coppersmith to build and tend to all our stills. Rare and highly skilled, they’ve only had three coppersmiths since 1957. Their stillman once judged the heat of the stills by expert ear. He would swing a wooden bung hung from the rafters with string, into the side of the still. A hollow sound and the liquid wasn’t in danger of overflowing. After decades spent mastering their craft, their coopers instinctively understand how the very best quality wood can imbue their precious single malt with extra rich layers of character that perfectly complement the velvety, peaty flavours found in their Vintage Cask. To ensure the quality of their wood, they’re one of the last distilleries with their own on-site cooperage. They think it makes all the difference.

At just over £50 for a one litre bottle, it’s a superb purchase. It showcases just how tasty Glenfiddich can be, even being one of the world’s biggest whisky brands. It’s great that there’s some honest pricing still out there.



In homage to the intrepid Portuguese voyagers who went on to change our understanding of the new world, Glenfiddich created its first ever 19 Year Old single malt Scotch whisky. Finished in fine, aged Madeira wine casks from an independent island winery dating back to 1850 this expression was named Glenfiddich Age of Discovery. An earthy, bright whisky with a warmth that fades to long sweetness. The first time they’ve used Madeira casks for incredible, rich depth.

Colour: Antique gold.

Nose: Deep earthy aromas of sweet ripe fig and orange marmalade create a backdrop to bright notes –fresh gooseberry and grapes ripening on the vine.

Palate: Rich, spicy cinnamon and crushed black pepper rest on a deep earthy base. Caramelised fruits, crystallised ginger, raisins and hints of dry oak unravel. A satisfying, silky smooth, almost oily texture.

Finish: Dry with warmth that fades into sweet marmalade notes.

HONOURING EXPLORERS                        

15th Century Portuguese explorers defined sea routes from Europe to Thailand and Malaysia in search of a passage to India. Along the way discovering new islands – Porto Santo and Madeira. Their cultures, customs and fine tastes. They inspired Glenfiddich’s Age Of Discovery whiskies.

Madeira casks holding Madeira fortified wine made from local grapes mature in traditional canteiro warehouses, designed to capture the sun’s heat. The warmth builds remarkably rich flavours into the wine and casks, giving this expression an intense full-bodied finish. To celebrate The Age Of Discovery, Glenfiddich created an exclusive black glass bottle bearing a red cartouche compass. Presented in a beautiful casing that maps out the routes of those first Portuguese adventurers.

The majority of the Madeira casks came from the Canteiro warehouses of Henrique & Henrique, a famous family-owned Madeira Company established in 1850. This is where the casks were first used to mature wine made from luscious Tinta Negra Mole grapes before being transported to The Glenfiddich Distillery.

Glenfiddich produced three 19-year-old expressions in this range: one that was fully matured in bourbon casks, one that was finished in Madeira wine casks and a Red Wine Cask Finish.

The Age of Discovery Red Wine Cask Finish was created to commemorate the 1831 voyage of the HMS Beagle, which traveled to South America so Darwin could pick up fossils and specimens. These helped him to document his theory of evolution. Indeed, the full title of his famous book is printed on the box of whisky:

On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Section, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.



Glenfiddich’s Malt Master hand-selected the finest casks of European and American oak and married them in small batches to create a truly extraordinary single malt, the culmination of their coopers’ craft and skill.

Unusually for their collection, Glenfiddich Vintage is a lightly peated whisky. The European oak casks give it a vibrant, toffee apple character, while the American oak imparts layers of additional smoky embers and velvety vanilla smoothness. Glenfiddich uses their distinctive Cask Collection Solera vat to meld these complex flavours together, adding extra layers of richness, depth and complexity to create a smoky, characterful and lingering whisky with a delicate yet discernibly peaty note. Exclusively available in Global Travel Retail.

Colour: Golden barley.

Nose: Freshly cut straw and bonfire smoke recall an autumn evening. Smokiness and leafy, floral notes to intrigue and delight.

Palate: An initial burst of sweetness with vanilla, crème brûlée and citrus, immediately followed by a rush of smoke, burning embers and meadow flowers.

Finish: Long lasting floral and smoky notes.

It’s been a long while since Glenfiddich made a whisky with peat. In the days of William Grant, and up to the 1950s, peat was often used in the malting process. This expression pays homage to those times. The new distillate is typically around 25ppm phenol, which reduces to around 15ppm as the liquid matures.

Developed by their fifth Malt Master, David Stewart, the Solera process was inspired by his journey to the sherry-making regions of Spain. Individual casks are hand-chosen for their flavour before being married in a specially constructed Solera Vat that’s always kept at least half full, allowing the individual and complex flavours found in each cask to marry, mellow and create a single malt of ultimate consistency.



Matured in distinctive Spanish sherry casks to create a rich and mellow flavour, each individual cask is hand-selected for its flavour profile by Glenfiddich’s Malt Master, Brian Kinsman.

Once selected, casks are married in their unique Solera vat, allowing their complementary flavours to get to know each other and meld together to create a single malt of extraordinary consistency and quality.

Deliciously smooth and silky, this expression has a sweet, spicy taste and a complex flavour that develops with each sip. Smells like Autumn. A truly intriguing single malt. Exclusively available in Global Travel Retail in 1L bottles at 40% ABV.

Colour: Dark golden, walnut.

Nose: A bold, vibrant aroma with an abundance of spice and oak. Fresh toasted white bread with marmalade. Antique leather and parchment. Honied pears, earthy hay-like malt, roasted apples, caramel, cinnamon, cherries, nuts and a touch of fruit cake and a grapey underpinning. That hay-like malt comes across more prominently the more it sits and opens as does the sherry essence.

Palate: Deliciously smooth and silky. The sweetness of the spirit and spice of the Spanish oak combine to give a complex, intriguing flavour that evolves in the glass. Toffee, dark fruit, hay-like malt, honey, dried orchard fruit, nuts and a bits of cinnamon, cocoa, grapey sweetness, menthol and copper. Like the aroma, the longer this whisky sits and opens the more prominent that hay-like malt and sherry character becomes.

Finish: Drops of copper, cinnamon, malty sweetness and menthol. Very long lasting with an enduring sweetness.


Developed by their fifth Malt Master, David Stewart, the Solera process was inspired by the sherry-makers of Spain. Individual casks are hand-chosen for their flavour before being married in a specially constructed Solera Vat, producing a single malt Scotch whisky that's incredibly complex and rich. The vat is always kept half full throughout the process, ensuring a balanced and consistent flavour.

The calm, peaceful, even reverent atmosphere of Warehouse 8, home to their Solera Vat, is a must-see on any visit to their Distillery. For ten, twenty, thirty, in some cases over fifty years, some of their most precious casks rest here, developing character in the quiet warehouse. To create their Cask Collection, they built three new Solera Vats, the perfect anniversary gift to a Warehouse that celebrates its 60th birthday this year.

To create the Reserve Cask edition, Malt Master Brian Kinsman carefully hand-selects individual sherry casks, reserved for their mellow and rich flavour characteristics which are then married in limited batches in Glenfiddich’s unique Solera Vat. The hand-selected sherry casks impart layers of warm vanilla, deep rich fruits and subtle oaky tannins for a truly rewarding single malt.



There are a lot of people writing about whisky. There are few people that write independent reviews. If you have to believe the first category, there are only excellent whiskies. That just is not true. There are a lot of excellent whiskies yes. As there should be because whisky today is expensive! But there is a lot of indifferent product and some stuff is just not good enough. There is a clear need for independent reviewers. I am one of them. I have nothing to do with the industry. I don't sell anything. I don't have the perfect Palate. My opinion is as good as yours! I just taste whiskies and tell you what I think about them. That's all.

Sunday 24 January 2021




Mortlach was founded in 1823 as the first legal distillery in Speyside’s Dufftown. Mortlach is said to defy what Speyside whiskies are known for. It is thick, rich, muscular, meaty, umami-led and savoury and known as the ‘Beast of Dufftown’. The character comes from its 2.81 distillation process which started in 1897 and the process is still in use at the distillery today. 



The 2.81 distillation process was put in place in 1896. Every single part of the production process at the distillery is tailored and calibrated to create that robust, savoury, muscular style. From the short fermentation times of 53 to 58 hours through to the still house and the condensers, Mortlach uses worm tub condensers which are only found in fourteen distilleries across Scotland.

Mortlach distillery has 6 stills; 3 wash stills and 3 spirit stills and what sets them apart is that all their stills are of different shapes and sizes and they all work pretty much independently from one another. They don’t work in perfect pairs but create three different spirit characters from the three spirit stills which are then blended to create the house style. It’s akin to having three distilleries at the one still house. Production began in 1897 using specific processes.

The first of these is the pairing of wash still 3 and spirit still 3 to create a malty distillate. Wash stills 1 and 2 work as a pair, which is unusual. They then take everything that has run through and split it into half, the heads and the tails. The first half from wash stills 1 and 2, the low wines the lighter half, are run through spirit still number 2 which creates a lighter floral distillate.

The heavier half of wash stills 1 and 2 is run through spirit still number 2 once but no cuts are taken. Everything that has run through is run through a second time but with the tails from wash stills 1 and 2. The heavier half and the richer half get richer and more viscous.

If spirit still number 1 is small, and its filled high, then it’s a bit of a copper contact. Taking it around twice is not really cleaning it to that same effect, so no cuts are taken. Everything that has gone around that second time is run through a third time with the set of heads from wash stills 1 and 2 because, by this point, it has become way too thick and way too viscous. A spirit cut is taken from that.

A spirit cut is taken from spirit still number 1 from every third run. Mortlach use worm tub condensers and the water is cold at 10 degrees, which means as soon as that vapour hits the copper, it turns back into liquid. So when the spirit is in liquid form, the copper cannot do its work, so every part of the production process is calibrated to create this character, and this has been calculated to be 2.81.

Thanks to the mind-boggling distillation process developed at Mortlach in 1897, they created something in between double distillation and triple distillation, and it’s called 2.81 distillation.  There are a number of sources online that have described the process, some of them better than others, but overall even after a few hours research, you might still find yourself confused. Some claim that the figure is 2.70.

Mortlach has six copper pot stills, three of which are wash stills, the No.1 and No.2 wash stills are the smallest at 7,000 litres, and the No.3 wash still is much larger at 16,000 litres.  Of the remaining three stills, it will be best to start with the most simple of the three.  Spirit still No.3 is fed by wash still No.3 in a conventional manner, i.e. the wash still produces low wines (low strength spirit usually between 21-25% ABV) and this spirit stream enters spirit still No.3 where cuts are made so as the foreshots and feints are recirculated into the still and the heart can enter the worm tubs. Things start to get a bit more complex now.

Wash stills No.1 and No.2 each have two spirit streams, 80% of the wash from both of these wash stills is channelled to the No.2 spirit still, this 80% is known as the heads, this is where the lighter chemical compounds and the majority of the ethanol is present. Once again cuts are made, the foreshots and feints are recycled back into the spirit still and the heart makes its way to the worm tubs.

The third of the spirit stills, the ‘Wee Witchie’, is the smallest of the three. The
Wee Witchie is integral to the Mortlach distillery when it comes to producing the distinct weightiness of Mortlach, you could even say that it’s the Wee Witchie that makes Mortlach the ‘Beast of Dufftown’.
  From the No.1 and No.2 wash stills 20% of the wash known as the tails are channelled into the No.1 spirit still (the Wee Witchie), these tails are low in strength, contain a lot of water and some of the chemical compounds produced in the fermentation phase, one of which is sulphur and it’s the sulphur that gives Mortlach it’s weightiness. Three distillations of the tails are carried out in the Wee Witchie, two of which are blank runs meaning that no cuts are made, and all of the distillate reenters the still; it is only on the third run that cuts are made and the heart makes its way to the worm tubs.  What this triple distillation in the Wee Witchie does is limit the amount of sulphur that can be removed from the distillate so that more sulphur is present in the new make Mortlach than you would usually find in most whiskies.  When sulphur in the distillate reacts with the copper of the pot still it forms copper sulphate which essentially remains glued to the inner wall of the pot still meaning that there is less sulphur in the new make spirit as a result, but in the case of Mortlach the inner wall of the Wee Witchie becomes so saturated with copper sulphate that a lot of the sulphur can no longer bind to the copper and subsequently goes on its way to the worm tubs.

The worm tubs also play a crucial role in producing a more sulphurous spirit, there are only a handful of distilleries that continue to use worm tubs as their method of condensing.  The worm tubs are metal tubes, usually copper which are coiled around many times, these ‘worms’ sit inside ‘tubs’ of cold water, hence the name ‘worm tubs’.  Once the distillate vapour enters the worms it condenses and the liquid new make spirit comes out the other end.  Most distilleries today use ‘shell and tube’ condensers which are made up of many very thin copper tubes which are contained within a metal shell where they’re surrounded by circulating cold water.  The shell and tube condensers significantly increase the spirit’s contact with copper, thus removing even more sulphur.  By using worm tubs, the surface area of the copper that comes into contact with the spirit is greatly reduced meaning more sulphur remains in the spirit, this is another factor that contributes to Mortlach’s weightiness.

Mortlach 2.81 Distillation Calculation                               

Stage 1: Calculating the ratio of double and quadruple distilled spirit                  Percentage of x4 distilled spirit from spirit still No.1 (Wee Witchie) = 33.9622641509434% (33.9623%)                                                      Percentage of x2 distilled spirit from spirit still No.2 = 32.0754716981132% (32.0755%)                                                                                      Percentage of x2 distilled spirit from spirit still No.3 = 33.9622641509434% (33.9623%)                                                                                      Percentage of spirit that is x4 distilled = 33.9622641509% (33.9623%)    Percentage of spirit that is x2 distilled = 66.0377358491% (66.0377%)    2/100×33.96226 = 0.67925                                                      2/100×32.07547 = 0.64151                                                                  4/100×33.96226 = 1.35849

Stage 2: Adding the ratios together to give the distillation figure (the simple way of doing this gives a figure of 2.7 which is often what some people claim as being Mortlach’s number of distillations).

0.67925+0.64151+1.35849 = 2.67925 (The 2.7 figure that some people often claim is the ‘true’ distillation ratio of Mortlach).

Stage 3: Incorporating a correction factor for the distillation process, which when added to the figure of 2.7 gives the stated figure of 2.81     

1.35849-1.32076 x 3.396226 = 0.12814                                             2.67925+0.12814 = 2.80739 (2.81)       

Friday 22 January 2021





An exquisite, traditional Speyside whisky finished in Gran Reserva rum casks from the Caribbean.

Patiently matured for 21 years onsite at the distillery, it is an exquisite, traditional Speyside whisky, rich and ripe with Glenfiddich signature notes. But rather than bottle it, as other distillers would, Glenfiddich’s Malt Master hand picks selected barrels and adds a sublime finishing touch, making it even warmer and richer flavours by uniquely pouring this single malt into first fill bourbon barrels that once contained rum from the Caribbean.

The rum-soaked cask infuses the aged whisky with a spicy warmth and indulgent vanilla and toffee sweetness, the character of the Caribbean shining through. This gives the whisky a sumptuous sweet intensity that is both rich and creamy yet retains the unmistakable character of Glenfiddich. Caribbean rum casks awakens the liquid, rousing it with extra exotic notes of ginger, fig, lime and banana and a vibrant spicy toffee warmth, elevating it from something great to something extraordinary.

Great for those expecting a very mature, traditional yet intriguing malt. Initially soft, then brisk, vibrant and drying. New leather and oak nose combine with complex sweet, smoky and subtle ginger flavours in this classic Glenfiddich.

Colour: Dark gold.

Nose: Intense and vanilla sweet. Floral, hints of banana, figs, rich toffee, new leather and oak.

Palate: Initially soft, then brisk, vibrant and drying, peppery, a touch of smoke, oak, lime, ginger and spices.

Finish: Very long, warming, dry and spicy.

Raised in Scotland. Roused by the Caribbean.


This is a limited edition bottling of the Glenfiddich 21 Year Old Reserva Rum Cask Finish single malt Scotch whisky released to honour the Chinese New Year 2021. 

After maturing the whisky for 21 years, the Malt Master adds even warmer and richer flavours by uniquely finishing this single malt in first fill bourbon barrels that once contained rum from the Caribbean.

2021 is the year of the Ox, starting from February 12th, 2021 (Chinese lunar New Year Day) and lasting until January 30th, 2022. It will be a Metal Ox year.

It features a particularly snazzy presentation box, with the familiar Glenfiddich stag decked out in a rather handsome shade of orange for the occasion, and an homage to the long journey Glenfiddich takes to make its way from Speyside to Asia in the background.

As in the original edition, the additional molasses found in the rum cask sets the 21 YO Reserva aside from the rest. This rum-like single malt features a new form of enjoyment through the introduction of a Caribbean flavour, famously recognised by the use of a variety of tropical fruits mixed with ginger to deliver a sweet and spicy taste that lingers to the finish.


Celebrate the occasion


After developing rich and intense flavour through a long, 23-year maturation in American and European oak casks, every drop of Grand Cru then spends an additional six months in French cuvée casks, which impart new layers of decadence. The remarkably rich whisky, already intense in flavour given its long maturation, is finely finessed with influences from French cuvée casks. These vessels were previously used to ferment wine that would in time go on to becoming Champagne. This is the only Glenfiddich Single Malt to undergo this exceptional finishing.


Grand Cru encapsulates the absolute spirit of luxury and craftsmanship of Glenfiddich while surpassing the very notion of Single Malt, as it sets out to redefine moments of celebration through a new and extraordinary drinking experience.

Created for the non-conformists, it has been uniquely crafted as a surprising delight, at every sip, for those tearing up the rule book and who want to celebrate big life moments in a whole new way. Grand Cru 23 Year Old is a sinful romance between the rich, decadent flavors of Glenfiddich single malt Scotch whisky and the vibrant, seductive notes found in the world’s best vintage sparkling wines.


This exclusive Glenfiddich expression has been matured for 23 years in American and European oak casks and elegantly finished in rare French cuvee casks. The finest flavours from Scotland and France have been fused together through the art of experimentation, to redefine moments of celebration and create a new and extraordinary drinking experience.

Colour: Dark gold.

Nose: this release is quite rich and honeyed, leaning toward the more decadent side of the spectrum, as is probably appropriate for the occasion theme. Moderately assertive notes of apple, pears in syrup, grass, melon/ cantaloupe and nut-covered toffee. It certainly is an inviting bouquet; classically Speyside but richer than you might expect for the low proof.

Palate: A silky-textured dram that drinks a bit bigger than its proof, which is always a good thing in lower-ABV special releases. Silky in texture, it features some nice flavours of milk chocolate, nutty toffee and spiced pears, with subtle hints of grass and earth in the back half. Honeycomb-like residual sweetness is moderate, and booze is very well hidden, which it should be at this age and proof. All in all, it makes for a moderately rich and fruity, somewhat sweet dram that is approachable yet complex. A bit higher proof might have pushed these elements into even more rarefied air, but regardless, this is a solid release that almost anyone would presumably enjoy.

Finish: Long, opulent and sweet: Poached pears, custard, candied lemon.

If money is for some reason no object this New Year, Glenfiddich Grand Cru would make a lovely centerpiece.

Opinion: The whisky showcases what can happen when it does go beyond its safety net. Glenfiddich’s new high-roller Grand Cru release, a 23 YO, has a theme which really pops from the swanky black-and-gold bottle, a vision of a supreme “occasion” whisky, seemingly targeted at New Year’s Eve in particular. That the whisky was finished in French cuvée casks (sparkling wine) only adds to this impression. It’s a whisky that seems to imply it’s the scotch equivalent of a plush bottle of bubbly you’re cracking open as the countdown to the year end draws near.

It is bottled at a minimal 40% ABV, with a 43% version available to travellers. For its steep cost of £210, it should have been a 46% non-chillfiltered year ender. But that would rouse the expert, whereas this low strength is clearly meant for a 31st December one-session binge.

Daring and unexpected, Grand Cru encapsulates the rich spirit of innovation and craftsmanship of Glenfiddich with the celebratory and indulgent character of sparkling wine.


Deep oak, spring blossom, brown sugar and exotic spices.

The expression was introduced in 2014 as the distillery’s second bottling in their excellence range, following the 18 year old. Unlike all the other expressions in the Glenfiddich age statement range, this is the only current bottling which forgoes sherry influence for a pure ex-bourbon maturation. It’s bottled at 43% ABV and is available for £359.

A rare and aged single malt Scotch whisky that has spent 26 long years carefully maturing in American Oak ex-bourbon casks. This expression was created to honour Glenfiddich's line of continuous family ownership since William Grant founded this distillery in 1887.

Doing things our own way means we can create a luxurious single malt that truly lives up to its name. We’ve created a vibrant yet soft and delicate expression, with a deep and complex balance of sweetness and dry oak tannin. Bound to excite the palate and awaken the nose.

Glenfiddich Excellence 26 Year Old whisky is available in selected markets.

Colour: Rich golden.

Nose: Soft and delicate with a beautiful floral character. Fruit-forward with peaches, apricots, pineapple and guava. Wild honey and crisp furniture polish is joined by vanilla sponge, coconut shavings and freshly-pressed waffles. Running throughout – full grain leather, old parchment, steeped fruit tea and scattering of mint leaves. There’s not too much scope for dilution, but a few drops adds some expressive orchard fruit – apple and pear alongside strudel and golden syrup. Generally light, fruity and sugar-led, but pretty elegant and welcoming at the same time.

Palate: Vibrant with a compelling balance of dry tannin and soft brown sugar vanilla sweetness. The arrival has more of a syrupy body than you’d expect from 43% - it offers some texture and mouth cling. Juicy ripe fruits are up first – orange, mango and peach segments served with spit-roasted pineapple. Fruit is quickly followed up with cask – and it has considerably much more influence than on the nose – white pepper, freshly grated ginger and some puffs of charred cask ends. Running throughout – wood lacquer,  polishes and a handful of candied lemon peels. Reduction here should be approached with care – but it adds flavours of burnt honeycomb, freshly-baked pastries and spiced apples. A deep oak flavour gradually builds, with hints of spice and liquorice shining through.

Finish: Deep and complex. Tropical fruits and peppery spice fade into the back whilst charred drying wood takes over.

Glenfiddich Excellence 26 year old is not overly deep, nor profound, but it is nevertheless exceedingly tasty. The fruit-packed nose is genuinely the excellence that the bottle name refers to  - packed full of expressive stone and tropical fruits, all wrapped up in a perfectly judged polished oak blanket. The palate and finish don’t quite reach the same dizzy heights, but they’re still both full of vibrancy, poise and elegance. There’s not quite enough depth for this to be a truly contemplative whisky, but the balance is faultless.    

Toasting The Cask Releases The Flavour: After their staves are assembled, each cask is toasted over an open fire. Toasting enables the vanillins and the tannins in the wood to be released, giving the contents flavour and colour. A light toasting imparts subtle flavours while a heavily toasted cask delivers strong and powerful flavours, as well as a darker colour single malt.


A 30 YO with deep, layered flavours and a masterful finish.

The Glenfiddich 30 Years was first launched in 2007 and saw new editions in 2010 and 2018. It is one of their high-end single malt bottlings, topped by the 40 and 50 year-old versions in the core range. It is matured in American bourbon casks and around 30% of European Oloroso sherry casks. Every cask used in this superb single malt Scotch whisky is personally nosed and tasted by their expert Malt Master, ensuring the whisky achieves its rich character and seductive complexity. Only casks that pass his exacting standards are handpicked and then married together to achieve their final sublime harmony.

This process ensures the unique character and richness of taste that sets the Glenfiddich 30 Year Old apart. The rarity of this single malt is unquestionable – there are only ever a handful of vattings of 30 Year Old a year.

This sublime and truly precious whisky is a harmony of subtle sherry and fig notes beautifully balanced with rich dark chocolate flavours.

Colour: Rich bronze.

Nose: A finely balanced nose, with substantial oakiness matched by fruit and luscious sherry notes. Really gentle, even a bit shy. Stewed fruits (peaches, oranges, plums) and a few buttery touches, with a malty core, ginger and nutmeg. Polished furniture, a hint of cigar boxes. A little cocoa, raisins and roasted nuts as well, but all silky smooth.

Palate: Complex and seductively woody, emphasised by a floral sweetness, yet really gentle, even a bit shy. Stewed fruits (peaches, oranges, plums) and a few buttery touches, with a malty core, ginger and nutmeg. Polished furniture, a hint of cigar boxes. A little cocoa, raisins and roasted nuts as well, but all silky smooth.

Finish: Exceedingly long, honeyed and warm, with chocolate notes, leather and oak spice.

A Cooper’s Craft: These casks are as valuable as the specialist wood craftsmen who build and tend to them. Glenfiddich is one of the only distilleries to have their coopers onsite – enduring traditions that keep their casks and whiskies exceptional.

Rare skills, specialist knowledge and some of the oldest wisdom in the world of whisky have been passed down through the generations.


Intense dried fruit, roasted coffee, stewed apple, bitter chocolate and faint peat.

Glenfiddich 40 YO is not only precious but also pioneering. Their Malt Master carefully hand selects individual casks before marrying them together with what was left over from the previous 40 Year Old vatting. This continuous process is known as "remnant vatting" and contains whiskies that are at the very least, 40 years old. Glenfiddich is the only single malt Scotch whisky in the industry to use remnant vatting. As a result, its uniquely rich and deep flavour was voted the "Best of the Best" single malt by Whisky Magazine in 2003, collected the Trophy at both the ISC and the IWSC in 2008 (the first time any whisky has won both in the same year) and Best Single Malt at the ISC in 2010.

An exemplary single malt. Handpicked from some of the oldest casks in the world, marrying 40 year old vattings to craft a peerless whisky. Infinite depth and layer upon layer of aroma and flavour create a 40 year old unrivalled by other rare whiskies of this age. Each elegant bottle is individually numbered and offered in a handsome presentation case of the finest, hand-stitched calf-leather with embossed print work and an intricately designed lock and key. Each is accompanied by a leather bound book telling its 40 year old story, with certification hand-signed by their longest-serving craftsmen.

The Finest Oak: Their 40 Year Old is matured in the finest Ozark Mountain American oak, from forests stretching between Missouri and Arkansas; and the highest quality European oak from Spain and Portugal. The bourbon and sherry opens up the oak letting it breathe, soften and absorb layers of subtle flavour that grow and change over time.

Less than 1000 bottles are released to the world each year, each batch eagerly anticipated by experts.

Colour: Dark mahogany.

Nose: Beautifully rich and aromatic with layer upon layer of dried fruits, dark chocolate, roasted coffee and ripe black cherries. Occasional wafts of gentle wood smoke, polished leather and cloves.

Palate: Aged, but still incredibly vibrant considering it's age. Silky smooth and luxuriously mouth coating. The typical Glenfiddich Speyside characteristics come through; initial flavours are intense dried fruits, Christmas cake, dates, raisins and stewed apples. Over time slightly dryish oak notes appear with some bitter chocolate and just the merest hint of peat.

Finish: Incredibly long lasting and complex – a truly memorable experience.

Fermentation in Douglas Fir: Glenfiddich believes the biological interaction between wood and wash even in fermentation plays a part in the final character of their whisky. So they continue to craft their washbacks from Douglas Fir, where others use stainless steel, a tradition that protects the integrity of their whisky.


Vibrant, zesty, vanilla toffee and gentle smoke.

Only the second vatting and one of the oldest, finest whiskies. Just 50 bottles of this single malt Scotch whisky are released each year. One of the final 50 bottles of the expression, this bottling was unveiled in 2017, marking Glenfiddich’s 125th year. The 50-year-old blend contains whiskies first distilled more than 80 years ago!

Handcrafted and Presented...Presented in a hand-blown bottle. Individually numbered in wax and finished in Scottish silver by Thomas Fattorini, a sixth generation silversmith. Each bottle of the 50 YO single malt whisky is carried in hand-woven silk and encased in hand-stitched leather. The whisky’s presentation case also features a leather-bound book, detailing the whisky’s rich history.

A culmination of over a century of expert craft, traditions passed down by five generations and spirited invention. Inspired by the first vatting from just nine casks honouring each of William Grant’s nine children, who helped to build Glenfiddich by hand.

This exquisite whisky was drawn from two exceptional casks, both matured for 50 years. Their Malt Master married them with great care to craft a perfectly harmonious aroma and flavour.

Colour: Pale gold.

Nose: A beautifully harmonious, uplifting, vibrant and complex aroma. Delicate rose petal and violets intertwine with green tobacco leaf, oak and faint hints of smoke.

Palate: Initially very sweet, with zesty orange marmalade and vanilla toffee, cascading through layer after layer of aromatic herb, floral and soft fruits, silky oak tannin and gentle smoke.

Finish: Exceptionally long, with a touch of dry oak and the merest trace of peat.


Time, tradition and a Malt Master’s expertise make this whisky. Nosed more than ten times by our longest serving Malt Master and the Malt Master before him. Casked in the 1950s by Gordon Ross, who learnt his skill from the son of the founder, a skill passed on to him from founder, William Grant.

Rare, sought after, historic.