Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Glenfiddich, probably the most recognisable brand of single malt Scotch whisky in the world, have unveiled two new and rather exciting expressions. The big guys tend to play it relatively safe when it comes to releasing new expressions, fearing that something a bit too ‘out there’ will damage their brand’s reputation. Not so with Glenfiddich.
Wandering along to The Hoxton Hotel in Shoreditch, London, I had no idea what was planned. New whiskies, yes, but no clue as to what they were. In this day and age it’s very difficult for brands to keep anything a secret, and there are always spoilers or rumours floating around the digital atmosphere, but I was genuinely in the dark with this one. After a couple of rather tasty Glenfiddich 15yo Old Fashioneds and a catch up with fellow writers Becky, Dave, Matt, Billy, Greg et al and Timna from Usquabae Whisky Bar in Edinburgh, we were ushered through to a hipster’s wet-dream-of-a-venue, The Apartment, by Glenfiddich UK Ambassador Mark Thomson.
The first of the two whiskies to be introduced was Glenfiddich IPA, an expression finished in IPA casks from the Speyside Craft Brewery. Seb Jones, the head brewer, had created an IPA using British challenger hops which was used to season American oak casks which had previously held Glenfiddich for around 12 years. These casks were then emptied and refilled with 12-ish year old Glenfiddich whisky before being bottled. Got that? The result is a light, delicate, and gently fruity whisky with a creamy vanilla note and zesty, hop-influenced finish.
The second whisky takes its inspiration from around the world, and from the 20 personalities who work with Glenfiddich on a daily basis. Glenfiddich has 20 brand ambassadors operating around the world, and they came together to rummage around Glenfiddich’s famous warehouses to pick a cask which suited their favourite style of Glenfiddich. The result, called Project XX, which was blended together by Brian Kinsman, is a much richer, spicier and robust expression.
Aside from the fact these whiskies are pretty damn tasty, they also look pretty damn sexy, and are on sale at a very accessible price point; £44.95 for the IPA and £48.95 for Project XX. Some may (somewhat cynically) see this as Glenfiddich pursuing NAS whiskies further but I honestly don’t mind. Not when there’s a genuine story to be told and a complete transparency with what liquid has gone into creating the expressions. Stylish innovation. And it’s tasty.