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What To Drink Now: Glenfiddich

About every other day I get an email announcing a new spirit has launched and quite often Texas is one of the first state the hot new liquor is available.  As a spirit lover this is always exciting, as we are a society who loves a good cocktail and we are constantly on the look out for the next delicious drink.

In the midst of this, however, it is nice to see a brand that continues to see double digit sales growth as it celebrates the Quasquicentennial Anniversary. This year marks the 125th anniversary of Glenfiddich, created by William Grant along with his 7 sons and 2 daughters, who together embraced the vision of making the very best dram of scotch in the rolling Highlands of Scotland, naming it Glenfiddich, meaning “valley of the deer” in Gaelic.

Last night Glenfiddich hosted a birthday party at the Old Red Museum, gathering an eclectic mix of guests who shared one thing in common, their love of great single malt scotch. I had a chance to attend the event as a guest of Glenfiddich and sit down with Brand Ambassador, David Allardice, earlier this morning to talk about the product, the party and get his perspective on the ever changing spirits world as the company focuses on their next generation of scotch drinkers, while embracing those that know and love the brand.

For all spirits, scotch may be the one that has to keep the generational ideas in mind as a younger generation may think of scotch as the drink that their parents or grandparents drank, so how do you engage the twenty-something crowd while keeping the fifty-something crowd happy as well?  This is much of the work David does, visiting various cities throughout his region holding tasting seminars, events and trainings with both the public and the trade showing how special and how different each bottle of Glenfiddich is.  125 years can prove that alone, as not many businesses can last that long and still be successful, much less experience growth as Glenfiddich continues to have.  After my conversation with David, it is obvious some of this must come from the people, as his genuine enthusisasm, knowledge and interest could easily bring different generations together over a dram, served neat with water on the side.

Though I am still a scotch drinker in training, I do know what I like and I can certainly identify characteristics and flavor profiles that tie say a 12 year old scotch to its 15 year old cousin and its 18 year old cousin.

This is where Glenfiddich strays away from what you would normally expect.  Last night at the event I tasted the 12, 15 and 18 side by side.  The flavors of the 12, from American bourbon cask and Spanish sherry cask aging, filled with subtle vanilla, spice and ripe pear notes, easily meld into the 15 year, with just slightly more nutty, toasty notes, but still with spice and fruit.  The 18, on the other hand, was completely different.  Made in small batches in individually numbered batches, this fruit and oak filled spirit define the complexity of well aged scotch with bold oak notes married with candied apple and orange peel and sweet baking spice.

For their anniversary Glenfiddich created a limited edition Malt Master Scotch Whisky, made by Brian Kinsman, the company’s 6th malt master in its long history, double maturing the single malt in two seperate casks for a number of years consecutively, differing from their traditional aging where the scotch is aged for a number of years in bourbon casks and a short time in sherry casks.  The intensity and finesse of the two different wood adds to the delicate flavor profile of the spirit with flavors of toasted marshmallow, toasted almond, orange peel and sweet baking spices.  About 1000 bottles will be in Texas this year to help celebrate this anniversary.