RSS Feeds

Advanced search

You are in:


Glenfiddich rewrites the whisky rulebook

TFWA World Exhibition & Conference in Cannes this week sees the official launch by William Grant & Sons of the Glenfiddich Experimental Series to global travel retail (Golden Village Go2).

Launched initially to selected domestic market in September 2016 with phenomenal success, this new range combines the brand’s passion for pushing Scotch whisky boundaries and collaborating with trailblazers beyond the world of whisky.

Designed to inspire unusual and unexpected variants, the series has seen the launch of two initial releases: the Glenfiddich IPA Experiment and Project XX (pronounced twenty).

Click here to also read our report on this new whisky’s unusual visual identity, which was designed by Purple Creative

The Glenfiddich IPA Experiment marks the world’s first single malt Scotch whisky finished in India Pale Ale (IPA) craft beer casks. Glenfiddich Malt Master, Brian Kinsman created the Glenfiddich IPA Experiment in collaboration with a local Speyside craft brewer, who shares a passion for innovative flavours. They worked together to create a zesty IPA that would season the whisky casks.  Brian is the pioneer behind this new single malt Scotch whisky imbued with zesty citrus and tangy hops from the oak casks that had previously held a bold Speyside IPA. In the process of Glenfiddich crafting a new whisky for the Glenfiddich Experimental Series, the pair also created a brand new IPA craft beer.

Project XX  is the result of one of the most ambitious malt experiments of its 130-year history; a

collaboration between 20 whisky experts and Glenfiddich’s Malt Master, Brian Kinsman, who developed one unexpected, extraordinary whisky by bringing together 20 very special single malts.

Going against normal whisky making conventions, Brian invited 20 whisky experts from 16 countries around the world, to explore and each select a cask from a warehouse at the Glenfiddich Distillery. The experts, from the US, Canada, France, Germany, Taiwan, China, South East Asia, Ukraine, Brazil, England, Scotland, Mexico, The Netherlands, South Korea, Russia and South Africa, descended onto Dufftown to take part in this global experiment; the ambition to create one remarkable single malt, by combining the curiosity and knowledge of these global experts.

This freedom of choice resulted in a 20-strong collection of some of the most unusual whiskies from Glenfiddich’s unrivalled stocks, chosen from aged malts matured in port pipes to ancient sherry butts and first fill bourbon casks. Brian skilfully produced the final variant, expertly married together in a small batch vatting, to create a remarkable final liquid.

Brian Kinsman says: “The Experimental Series builds on Glenfiddich’s long tradition of innovation and takes us to new levels of experimentation in a way no distillery has ever done before.

“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.

“Project XX bucks the tradition of malt whisky being chosen and vatted by only a Malt Master. The 20 whiskies selected include some of our most astonishing whiskies chosen for their taste profile and rarity, and it was an exciting challenge to marry them together in a way that did justice to the original sources. The final liquid was exceptional – and a special tribute to each individual cask the malts came from. Glenfiddich Project XX 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 candyfloss, cinnamon spice, almonds and rich port tannins kick in with the odd hint of liquorice.”

Supported by a 60 second ad which launched the Experimental Series to key markets in the UK, Europe, Asia and America, the Glenfiddich IPA Experiment has become William Grant & Son’s fastest growing single malt for a decade, with uptake beyond all expectations.

Says William Grant & Sons GTR managing direct Ed Cottrell: “We’re delighted to be able to offer the Glenfiddich Experimental Series to global travel retail following the official launch at this year’s TFWA World Exhibition. Both expressions perfectly match our remit to offer travelling consumers unique and innovative products that will provide a new kind of malt whisky experience.

“Brian has once again surpassed himself in producing two totally remarkable liquids that are both perfect for the travel retail environment and which lend themselves to some fantastic activation possibilities. Glenfiddich Project XX is a liquid that will intrigue and appeal to single malt enthusiasts all over the world, while the Glenfiddich IPA Experiment has already proved its appeal and interest to whisky and beer drinkers looking for the unusual and vibrant.”

The Glenfiddich IPA Experiment and Glenfiddich Project XX will roll out to global travel retail from November 2017, with a Recommended Retail Price of £40 and £45 respectively.  A GTR exclusive packaging format is planned for 2018.

30 September 2017 - Felicity Murray The Drinks Report, editor in chief