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Thursday 14 July 2022



William Grant & Sons kicked off its new Grand Series Collection back in 2019, with the launch of Grand Cru, a 23-year-old whisky finished in French oak cuvée casks. This experimental range seeks to push the upper boundaries of single malt.

The 2019 whisky, called Glenfiddich Grand Cru, is first aged in American and European oak casks before being “further bolstered with extra intensity” from cuvée casks that have been used by producers for the first fermentation of wine that will traditionally go on to become Champagne after a second fermentation in bottles. Created to tap into “celebratory moments”, Grand Cru was the first release in the new Grand range. The next whisky in the series was seen late 2020.

China was first recognized as a high-sales lucrative market for Scotch whisky by Diageo. They exploited this hidden market immediately and soared high on massive sales of whiskies dedicated exclusively to China. Every Chinese New Year was feted with a special expression. Taking its cue from its rival in the market, Grant’s decision to also focus on this money-spinning target. As many as six Grand whiskies were produced by Glenfiddich, with the second  aimed solely at China. More was to come in subsequent years. This is also an experiment at the highest end of the scale, to follow the trend-setting affordable Experimental Series, the last of which was the Fire & Cane peated expression that spent finishing time in Caribbean Rum casks.

Sadly, Glenfiddich first aimed at a less than fussy nondescript market, pushing out fancy bottles at an insipid 40% ABV. Low ABV notwithstanding, the Glenfiddich Grand Cru has notes of apple blossom, freshly baked bread and candied lemon on the nose. The palate has hints of rich vanilla oak, sweet brioche, sandalwood, pear sorbet and white grape. Subsequent editions were elevated to a slightly higher ABV, at 43%.

Glenfiddich malt master Brian Kinsman said nothing new, just rotating his earlier remarks to suit the occasion. Breaking category conventions once more, this unusual collaboration presented an opportunity to create a spirit that further elevated Glenfiddich’s unique style. They experimented with the maturation time and hand-selected the right balance of 23-year-old Glenfiddich casks out of their unique collection of old-age malts. The other influence from the oak of the French cuvée casks added an extra layer of complexity derived from the liquid they once held.

The final liquid was to present exceptional finesse as a special tribute to each individual cuvée cask the malts were finished in. The aim was to create a fresh, new drinking moment for Glenfiddich and for the wider whisky category, by crafting an expression that played on the liquid synonymous with celebration but that brought the substance and smoothness of single malt to the moment. The result was Grand Cru – a liquid that bore the hallmark of quality and innovation associated with the brand and a true testament to an innate maverick spirit.

Glenfiddich Grand Cru is presented in a sheer black glass bottle and a black box featuring a golden firework design. It was priced at £220 (US$300). Assisting in the design was Australian Fashion Designer, Jordan Dalah.

The second expression in its Grand Series Collection was a 22-year-old Sherry cask-finished single malt late November 2020, the Glenfiddich Gran Cortes XXII, a 22-year-old whisky finished in rare Spanish Palo Cortado Sherry casks. The single malt was named after the grand palaces of Spain.

Kinsman visited wineries in Andalucía to explore the world of Spanish winemaking for the second Grand Series whisky. They researched age-old processes, testing finishing times and maturations to find the perfect composition of character, depth and aroma. After careful experimentation, ensuring that it would be seen as a Speysider, they found the right balance.

The 22-year-old Glenfiddich malts from their old-age collection were finished in Palo Cortado oak casks. The alchemy that takes place in the oak casks pushes the boundaries once again. The finished product was a unique whisky with a dark red hue and distinctive character, an unforgettable spirit to mark the most special occasions. 

The resulting whisky had ‘rich and intense layers of deep sweetness’, with an aroma of dates, dark chocolate and raisins. The palate offered oak, sweet vanilla and marzipan, followed by citrus and fruitcake on the finish. Gran Cortes XXII, which comes in a Sherry-red box, was created exclusively for consumers in Mainland China and Taiwan. It was available to buy in luxury retail outlets and premium establishments, priced at £185 (US$245).

The third was a surprise reprise! Following his sold-out box set for Glenfiddich Grand Cru, Glenfiddich teamed up again with Jordan Dalah for a second release in the Grand series of whiskies, this time with Glenfiddich Grande Couronne. Jordan rose to the occasion once again, giving a radical new edge to a whisky house praised for its art in experimentation.

Launched in Australia on Australian Fashion Week 2022, Glenfiddich Grande Couronne is a 26-year-aged whisky finished for two years in meticulously selected rare French cognac casks. Grand Couronne represents the crowning glory of any occasion. Glenfiddich Grande Couronne is housed in a luxurious soft-touch embossed shell irresistible to the touch. A stunning warped filigree graphic covers all four sides and is issued in three unique colour ways. Jordan’s own label from his garments cleverly replaces a handle used to open the box.

This limited-edition box set includes an exclusive unpublished A1 framed print taken from Dalah’s “SS23” show, a set of six Grande Couronne balloon glasses, and a bottle of Grande Couronne, liquid unchanged. Couronne translates as Crown in English.

The outstanding expression, Glenfiddich Grande Couronne, is finished in Cognac casks at the distillery warehouse in Dufftown, Scotland, and managed by the fifth-generation descendants of William Grant. Grande Couronne is created with opulence in mind at every step, from its conception to bottling. Glenfiddich is finally offering a bottling that looks good and tastes amazing.

The fourth in this collection was inspired by the success of aligning a bottling with Fashion Designers. This time, Glenfiddich went to an online fashion destination, MR PORTER. Both brands claim to pursue taste, elegance and innovation relentlessly. The new expression is the brainchild of Brian Kinsman and MR PORTER’s Creative Director Ben Palmer. Built upon a beautifully complex 20-Year-Old producing layers of fudge, spiced oak and caramelised Demerara sugar, then finished in hand-selected casks of New American oak, ex-bourbon and European oak sherry casks to create a deep, silky smooth single malt.

Designed to be enjoyed with close friends it’s an elegant addition to your spirit trolley. The bespoke casing, also designed by Palmer and Kinsman, will see the bottle presented in a crisp white, embossed casing, lined with a subtly designed, minimalistic monogram featuring the two iconic brand emblems. What promises to be a unique new expression from both outfits, it’s an elevation of the classic 20 years. Glenfiddich and Mr Porter’s single malt Scotch whisky is limited to only 1,500 bottles worldwide making it a true collector’s item that marks the fashion platform’s first foray into spirits.

Glenfiddich 20-year-old x Mr Porter has spent an unspecified period of time in a selection of New American oak, ex-Bourbon and European oak Sherry casks. Eligible consumers in the selected markets had to register online by a fixed date and a ballot would be cast to determine consumers eligible for a chance to purchase a bottle. The price was fixed at a mid-range GBP300 (US$412) per 70cl bottle at a healthy ABV of 47%.

Then came the Glenfiddich Gran Reserva. An unusual bottle of whisky from the Grand Series of Glenfiddich comes with the attempt to display a perfect demonstration of both authentic manufacturing and fresh ideas. The Glenfiddich is patiently matured on-site at the distillery for 21 years in Caribbean rum casks, that’s right, matured not finished, possibly one of their most popular in this range – however, this special packaging is not that easy to find.

The spirit of innovation is clearly shown in the crafting by Glenfiddich. The velvety aromas of tropical fruit and spicy ginger with the highly unusual finish add extra layers of sweetness and exotic notes, creating a rich, decadent and luxurious single malt. This aged liquid with intriguing finishes exemplifies the Caribbean touch of the Grand Series. After all, the Caribbean rum casks awaken 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. Overall, this is a single malt whisky you can gift yourself or someone close to you.

Don’t confuse this one with the regular Genfiddich 21 – Rum Cask – which is finished for four months in Rum casks. They have different boxes but do read up the details. It costs £185 ($220) at 40% ABV.

And finally, the Glenfiddich 21 Year Old bottled end 2021 for the Chinese New Year 2022.  This is a 40%ABV expression priced at anywhere between £185 (US$245) and £295 ($ 390).

The Chinese New Year for 2022 begins on February 1st and runs through February 15. For this year the animal associated with 2022 is the Tiger. Glenfiddich’s contribution to the Chinese New Year is described as the final release in a trilogy of Chinese New Year offerings, with this particular release sporting a beautiful stag design from Chinese artist Rlon Wang.

This 21-year-old Gran Reserva is a truly delectable single malt Scotch whisky from the limited-edition pack of Glenfiddich released to celebrate Chinese New Year 2022. This whisky is matured in previously held Caribbean rum and then the last four months in hand-selected Gran Reserva barrels. This is a truly delectable Single Malt Scotch Whisky, with a beautiful presentation box, designed specifically for the Chinese New Year.

Created using casks that once contained premium Caribbean rum, the Glenfiddich 21-year-old spends a further four months finishing in Gran Reserva barrels which are hand selected by Malt Master Brian Kinsman, adding to its distinctive and complex flavour and thus giving this expression its name.

Uncover the intense and vanilla sweet aroma teasing with floral notes and hints of banana, rich toffee, and leather. Delve deeper and discover the intricate flavour complexities of Glenfiddich 21-year-old Gran Reserva, the initially soft, then brisk, vibrant and peppery taste with a touch of smoke, lime, ginger and spices all culminate in a very long, warming, dry and spicy finish. The aroma is intense, with a hint of smoke to give a long, warming and spicy finish.

Saturday 2 July 2022


 Glenfiddich's Orchard: The First From Pomona Casks

Glenfiddich's much touted Experimental Series, which started off on the wrong foot with the debut of an IPA maturation Scotch that didn’t really take off, hit the mark with its second installment, The Product XX, a blend by a collaboration of 20 Brand Ambassadors from 16 countries to produce a secret Scotch. Then there was also the highly popular, if expensive, Winter Storm which was matured in Icewine casks. The steep price limited batch size, but most shelves soon ran dry, calling for a second batch. Glenfiddich obliged. Malt Master Brian Kinsman then turned to produce a peated whisky, not a typical style for Glenfiddich, the Fire & Cane, unexpectedly smoky but with a hit of toffee sweetness. This result came about after a marriage of their rarely-seen peated whisky with unpeated bourbon-aged single malt, all of which was finished in Latin rum casks. What one got was a surprisingly sweet and smoky dram that blended rich caramel and spice notes with fresh green fruit and soft pillowy smoke. It is not an everyday drinking dram, but a drinkable and unique whisky to enjoy on occasion.

Brian is now back with #05, The Glenfiddich Orchard. This bottling is also 43% ABV and is a pioneering single malt Scotch whisky. It is the first in its history to be finished in Somerset Pomona Spirit casks, born out of craft, tradition, and desire for experimentation.

Discover where the sweetness of Somerset's apple orchards meets Scotland's wild and rugged landscape. This innovative 70cl single malt celebrates and elevates the Glenfiddich sweet and fruity signature style by bringing together two iconic families. Glenfiddich Orchard combines Temperley's apple cider brandy and Grant's Scotch whisky to create this exquisite blend. Hand-selected Glenfiddich whiskies are finished in casks from the Somerset Cider Brandy Company, previously holding sweet Somerset Pomona, for approximately four months to create this incredible fruity and sweet whisky.

Together, they create a Scottish whisky bathed in the sweet warmth of an English summer's day. This truly unique Glenfiddich expression is a tale of two Maverick families, sure to delight whisky and cider enthusiasts alike. It is available as a 70cl bottle in an exclusive gifting tube for an exquisite year-round gifting experience.

For those outside the UK, Somerset Pomona is a type of apple liqueur made in the UK that is named after the Roman goddess of fruit and is basically a blend of apple juice and cider brandy, which is then aged for several years before bottling. It's fruity, toasty and fairly heavy - as such it is often drunk as a digestif or paired with cheeses.

There's some significance to this particular Experimental edition - it represents a new type of cask that was only permitted wef 31 Oct 2019. The Scotch Whisky Technical File, which is used by HMRC to ensure compliance, was amended to expand the cask types that can be used in Scotch production wef 31 Oct 2019. Specifically, the change allows Scotch to be matured in oak casks that have previously been used to age wine, beer, ale and spirits, vastly broadening the variety of casks available to distillers.

While it may appear like yet another instalment in the Highland whiskymaker's Experimental Series - which frankly, is there really any whiskymaker that doesn't have something of the sort (along with some Art series of some kind) - this is actually a real step outside of what has existed in Scotch-verse. The use of a fruit liqueur cask is something that was only permissible under the revised Scotch labelling rules that (belatedly) changed in 2019, which was in part due to a leaked expose of Diageo's push for Scotch makers to be allowed to use a wider range of casks. Somerset Pomona actually falls under the new rules which specifically allow fruit-based spirits which are made having added fruit after fermentation or after distillation (specifically, this one).

This of course, also comes off the back of Scotch makers acknowledging the need to be more competitive as their Irish, Japanese and Australian peers, amongst others, have taken advantage of the restrictive Scotch rules that only allow mainly the Big 4 casks - Bourbon, Sherry, Rum and Wine (not exhaustive, but primarily these) - to get ahead of Scotch by marketing interesting and innovative use of different casks.

This isn't some marketing bullshit, it really is an experiment in that sense and a sensible one (unlike some funky casks that have been used the moment these laws were broadened) - so for something like 43 GBP, and is quite easily available at your nearby retailer, it is certainly worth a shot. Let's hope this gets a worldwide release as well, which no news has been announced yet. Perhaps we might start to see somewhat of a loosening up of Sherry's grip on the Scotch category.


Nose: Glenfiddich notes of fresh pears and ripe orchard fruits, elevated and accentuated by a finishing period in Somerset Pomona Spirit casks.

Palate: An initial burst of ripe orchard fruits on the palate softens and develops into sweet creamy toffee, caramelised apple, and woody spice.

Finish: Long-lasting sweetness.

This sounds wonderful. Deep, fruity notes and a more creamy and heavier-bodied texture is a profile that is popular in whiskies. It's accessible in terms of taste, seems pretty generally likeable in terms of flavours (nothing too divisive), and has a good weight to it - probably nothing wild should be expected here, but certainly would seem like a good starter/daily sipper whisky. Quite easy to pick up as well and reasonable price, $48-52. Don't look for too much here. Simple does it.