Glenfiddich re-writes the rulebook (again), with Glenfiddich Winter Storm

Glenfiddich Malt Master Brian Kinsman inspecting the good stuff.

You know Glenfiddich as the flagship of William Grant & Sons, the storied single malt with a history stretching far back to 1887, the year when William Grant founded — and built by hand — the Glenfiddich distillery, his first.

Five generations on, the company is still in family hands, custodians of a long, respected tradition of distilling. But that doesn’t mean they’ve rested on their laurels.

Rather, in the spirit that saw them singlehandedly create the single malt whisky market back in the 1960’s, they’re pushing the boundaries with the Glenfiddich Experimental Series.

This challenging, innovative series of drams pushed the boundaries on what you can do with whisky, and the third edition in the series has just landed in Australia: Glenfiddich Winter Storm.

Like all true innovations it is the result of travel and pulling in new ideas from different fields; Glenfiddich Winter Storm is the result of a tour to Canada by Glenfiddich Malt Master, Brian Kinsman, in 2016. That’s when Kinsman visited Peller Estate in Niagara, Ontario, and saw first-hand how the the grapes for Icewine are harvested — by moonlight, when the temperature in the vineyard is at -10 degrees Celsius.

Kinsman inspecting the vines with Aussie expat
Craig McDonald of Peller Estate.

Glenfiddich has been working with wine cask finishes for the better part of 20 years, but they’ve never experimented with Icewine, and an idea was born.

This method of harvesting the grapes for Icewine sees the water inside the grape frozen naturally, with the remaining sugars being gently extracted. The end Icewine is a wine that has a lot of sweetness but retains its juicy acidity and balance. The Icewine is then aged in barrels, which gives it a subtle spice to balance out the intense sweetness.

Fascinated by the process, Kinsman began experimenting with finishing Glenfiddich whisky of various ages in ex-Icewine barrels for up to six months.

“Only the rarer whiskies, those aged for 21 years, could cope with the extra Icewine intensity,” Kinsman says. “Having more tannins, extracted from years in oak, these malts brought out a uniquely fresh lychee note instead of being swamped by sweetness.”

The result? A perfect Glenfiddich 21 year old, the heightened candied sweetness and oakiness of Glenfiddich complemented by the mouth-watering tropical fruit notes and underlying wine notes.

The Glenfiddich Winter Storm honours the tradition set by the two boundary-pushing Experimental Series bottlings already released, the first of which is the Glenfiddich IPA Experiment, which was followed by Glenfiddich Project XX.

The Glenfiddich IPA Experiment sees whisky finished in oak casks which had previously held a Speyside IPA, resulting in a vibrant and zesty Scotch whisky imbued with zesty citrus flavours followed by soft, sweet vanilla and a hint of fresh hops.

Glenfiddich Project XX is the result of a one of kind collaboration: Kinsman invited 20 whisky experts from 16 countries around the world, to channel their knowledge and develop a progressive whisky. Blended in a variety of different casks, the result is a refined and balanced flavour with candy floss sweetness and a rich vanilla oakiness. It embodies the warm, fruity character of a classic Glenfiddich whisky with hints of apple blossom, summer fruits and ripe pear. It is best enjoyed with a frozen grape in a chilled glass.

You can lay your hands on Glenfiddich Winter Storm now, and it comes in a white ceramic bottle with a beautiful, embossed presentation box. It’s a limited edition release, so when it’s gone, it’s gone.

Tasting Notes
Glenfiddich Winter Storm
On the nose, you’ll find a bouquet of tropical fruit and candied sweets, perfectly balanced with underlying wine notes. On the palate, there’s soft sweet notes reminiscent of candied fruit and Turkish delight, developing into flavours of mouth-watering lychee. The fusion of sweet flavours is soon met with a rich drying sensation from the Icewine, and a crisp finish. 

For more information contact your William Grant & Sons representative.