Glenfiddich Grand Cru – 23yo French Cuvée Finish

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Glenfiddich has launched the first expression in what will become its ‘Grand’ Series, with the release of Grand Cru; a 23 year old whisky matured primarily in American Oak and finished in French Cuvée wine casks. I was fortunate enough to attend the launch of the expression earlier today at the Register Club within the Edinburgh Grand, which was hosted by Glenfiddich’s Ambassador to Scotland, Mark Thomson. Mark was at pains to point out, quite rightly, that this is *not* a champagne cask finish, as there is actually no such thing as a champagne cask, despite what some brands may say. The cuvée wine casks used for Glenfiddich Grand Cru previously held wines which would go on to become the sparkling variety, but if you know your wines you’ll know the secondary fermentation, which gives champagne its fizz, happens in the bottle after the wine has seen the inside of a cask.

Commenting on the release, Glenfiddich’s Malt Master, Brian Kinsman, said: “Breaking category conventions once more, this unusual collaboration presented an exciting opportunity to create a spirit that further elevated our unique Glenfiddich style. We experimented with the maturation time and hand selected the right balance of 23 year old Glenfiddich casks out of our unique collection of old age malts. The further influence from the oak of the French cuvée casks added an extra layer of complexity thanks to the liquid they once held. Marrying the best of both worlds, the final liquid presents an exceptional finesse and is a special tribute to each individual cuvée cask the malts were finished in.”

Here’s what I made of it.

Glenfiddich Grand Cru
23yo French Cuvée Finish
40% ABV
£220 here

Nose: Classic Glenfiddich orchard fruit notes, with pear skin, apple crumble, and lemon sorbet. Then sugared almonds, vanilla icing, a touch of marzipan and root ginger. Some fresh oak underpins it all.

Palate: More of the pear and apple, with white grapes, lemon posset and stewed pineapple. There’s a real tropical note too, with yoghurt coated banana chips, lychee, papaya and some light spice; white pepper, ginger, and nutmeg. A delightfully oily mouthfeel – vanilla candles and fruit salad syrup.

Finish: It builds to zingy woodspice, lemon and lime, and some freshly sawn oak.

Overall: An extremely well crafted whisky – the classic Glenfiddich notes of sweet, light orchard fruits are there but are lifted by zingy spice and creamy citrus. It has a beautiful oily, waxy, mouthcoating mouthfeel too, which is rather impressive given the ABV, and that would be my only gripe: the bottling strength. As delicious as this whisky is, I can’t help but think this whisky would be significantly better at 46% or above. For example, I’ve tasted cask strength Winter Storm and it blows the regular expression away. Either way, Grand Cru is a great expression, and an excellent introduction to the Grand series, and there are rumours that a second expression will be joining it very soon, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

 

 

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