William Grant & Sons is about to release the first two single malt expressions from its new Glenfiddich experimental series. The new experimental series is designed to explore unusual and unexpected whiskies; it aims to combine “the brand’s passion for pushing Scotch Whisky boundaries” with “collaborating with trailblazers from the whisky world and beyond”.
Glenfiddich IPA Experiment (43% ABV) is the first single malt Scotch whisky to be finished in IPA craft beer casks, produced in collaboration with a local Speyside craft brewer.
Glenfiddich Project XX (47% ABV) is the result of a collaboration between 20 Glenfiddich Brand Ambassadors and Brian Kinsman, Glenfiddich’s Malt Master, who developed the whisky by bringing together 20 separate single malts.
For the Glenfiddich IPA Experiment, the collaborators first had to design and create a new IPA craft beer that would go into whisky casks, which would later be used to finish the first experimental variant.
The intensive experimental process involved creating three separate brews of different strengths and levels of hops. Brian Kinsman seasoned up to nine American oak casks at a time with the IPA brews, varying the time the IPA craft beer spent penetrating into the oak casks, before filling the casks back up with whisky to access the flavour profiles.
For the Glenfiddich Project XX, Brian Kinsman invited 20 Brand Ambassadors to explore and each select a cask from a warehouse at the Glenfiddich Distillery in Dufftown, Speyside. Brian’s ambition was to create one remarkable single malt, by combining the curiosity and knowledge of these 20 experts.
Commenting on the Glenfiddich IPA Experiment, Brian said: “The idea behind the Glenfiddich IPA Experiment was quite unusual but one we were passionate about – we wanted to really play with the flavours to see what we could create. Glenfiddich’s first whisky finished in IPA craft beer casks is testament to us challenging ourselves to produce something vibrant and unusual. The result is a liquid with a zesty citrus note followed by soft, sweet vanilla and a hint of fresh hops. The innovative flavour comes from carefully hand selecting the right malt whiskies to complement the extra hoppy notes.”
Commenting on the Glenfiddich Project XX, Brian said: “The final liquid was exceptional – and a special tribute to each individual cask the malts came from. The Glenfiddich Project XX we’re launching today is a recreation of that initial small vatting. It has the warm summer fruity character of a classic Glenfiddich but then its ‘multiple personalities’ are revealed as the flavours of candy floss, cinnamon spice, almonds and rich port tannins kick in with the odd hint of liquorice.”
The Glenfiddich IPA Experiment and the Glenfiddich Project XX, will be available later this month from specialist retailers.