The ability to move in unexpected directions paid off for Glenfiddich

 

Clearly experimental

A whole different side to a Speyside single malt. The fourth release in the Glenfiddich Experimental Series, Fire & Cane, is lightly peated, thus Fire, and matured in ex-bourbon casks, while finished in dark South American rum barrels, hence Cane. 

Belleville Paris Edith Piaf

Glenfiddich has been releasing its experimental whisky series for several years now. The launch of Glenfiddich’s 4th and latest offspring took place in the Amsterdam Sofitel Legend the Grand hotel in 2019. Fire & Cane’s fusion of smoky and sweet notes embottles Glenfiddich’s latest release on the Dutch market.

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A new style of Whisky on the block

Fire & Cane is a Whisky with a slightly smoky, peated taste (fire) and pleasant sweetness, result of its finish in rum barrels (cane). Hence the name Fire & Cane. As an experiment, malt master Brian Kinsman decided to age the distillery’s peated single malt in oak bourbon casks from the Kelvin Cooperage in Louisville, Kentucky before a three-month finish in a variety of South and Latin American rum barrels. It is with Fire & Cane that Glenfiddich put the peat and rum together for the first time.

 Fire & Cane can be called an atypical Glenfiddich, because of its peatiness on the palate and its caramelly sweetness on the finish. Peated aromas originate from using dried peat in a kiln to make the malted barley used for Whisky. When peat is burned, it releases smoke, and the smoky peaty compounds first end up in the malted barley and finally in the aromas of the Whisky. A peated Glenfiddich is somewhat rare. 

The Glenfiddich Experimental Series

The Experimental Series is a special project by Glenfiddich in which the Malt master Brian Kinsman and the team at Glenfiddich started a hunt for new flavors and possible (finishing) combinations for part of their single malt Scotch Whisky.

 

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The Glenfiddich IPA Experiment

The first experiment, the Glenfiddich IPA Experiment, was to give the Whisky a finish on an India Pale Ale Cask. The result is a Whisky that has fruit, some floral and vanilla aromas plus a distinct bitter taste. A bit like an apple pie made of rather bitter tasting apples touched up by a splash of lemon and sweetness, but unfortunately fairly short on the finish.

The Glenfiddich Project XX (twenty = twenty)

In the second experiment Project XX the casks were chosen by twenty Brand Ambassadors for Glenfiddich from around the globe. These twenty temporary Malt Masters came together at Glenfiddich’s distillery in Dufftown, Scotland, without knowing exactly why. They were told to each pick a cask from the thousands of stacked casks in stock at the Conval warehouse. Each expert was given free rein to select a cask. Their selection could be based on age, wood type, or other criteria, such as a cask that simply intrigued them.

The day after they could sample their chosen casks. Of these twenty casks (mainly ex-bourbon casks, some port pipes and sherry butts, aged between 8 to 20 years old) Malt master Brian Kinsman created the final Whisky. Brian has extended the recipe for this 20 cask marriage with a multitude of similar barrels, so the circulation should not be limited and therefore affordable for every lover of Whisky. Glenfiddich Project XX was bottled at 47% ABV at the requests of the whisky ambassadors, who prefer their drinks at higher ABV than the customary Glenfiddich 40/43% levels and it wasn’t chill-filtered.

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No 3 the Glenfiddich 21-year-old Winter Storm

Glenfiddich 21-year-old Winter Storm is the 3rd entry in the Experimental Series. Winter Storm flew off the shelves. Not only because of its very limited edition but also due to its unique, different than the usual approach: Winter Storm’s 3 months finish took place in French-oak ice-wine casks from Canada. When picked frozen, the icy grapes contain their highest concentration of sugars. To balance the intense influence of these icewine flavors Glenfiddich’s Malt master could only use a malt matured for 21 years in bourbon casks. That’s why Winter Storm is built around 21-year-old single malt.

The 21-year-old Winter Storm’s nose is delicate and promising with a typical soft and sweet fruitiness. is enhanced by the sweet wine. Honey, tropical fruit and soft spices enhance the unique taste of candies, adding layers of sweetness and spice, as well as stacks of candied fruit. Tannin plays a role too, in the taste, color, and structure of the Whisky. You taste candied candies, adding in layers of sweetness and spice, as well as a stack of candied fruit such as pineapple, pears, apricots, but also passion fruit, marshmallows, and vanilla. There is a batch 2, batch 03 is underway.

Fire & Cane is available in The Netherlands in limited quantities from independent liquor stores and selected Gall & Gall stores.