Photography by Ape to Gentleman
Last year I travelled to Dufftown, home of the Glenfiddich whisky distillery in stunning-Scotland. The purpose- to learn about Glenfiddich’s new Experimental Series of whiskies- IPA Experiment and Project XX. The third instalment of this series is inspired by Canada, a tenuous link you might think? I headed to Niagara to find out.
Glenfiddich Malt Master, Mr. Brian Kinsman
Before I get in to the specifics of this new ‘liquid’ it’s important to note that Glenfiddich is a William Grant & Sons, Ltd. brand- an independent family-owned distiller founded by William Grant in 1887. The important part of this statement- ‘family-owned’ which translated, means the brand is open to experimentation or trying something new and not beholden to safe-bet, profit thirsty shareholders. Crucially though, it allows the genius that is Malt Master, Mr. Brian Kinsman, to follow his creative desires for the benefit of all of our taste buds- hence the Glenfiddich Experimental Series.
The third expression of the Glenfiddich Experimental Series, is the result of Brian travelling to Canada in January 2016, during which he visited Peller Estate– a renowned winery in Niagara. Peller are famed for its Icewine- a sweet dessert wine cultivated in Niagara’s unique climate, where grapes must be picked by moonlight at -10˚C when they are rock hard. I spent some time at Peller and can report not only are its wines delicious but the levels of perfectionism across the family-owned winery are exacting- particularly for its flagship Icewine.
Grape to Cask, Repeat
Brian, inspired by his Canadian experience returned to The Glenfiddich Distillery, where he started experimenting with several French oak Icewine casks from Peller- filling them with various Glenfiddich aged malts for up to six months. After plenty of experimentation he settled on the rarer whiskies, those aged for 21 years, owing to their ability to cope with the extra Icewine intensity and sweetness. Brian was supported by Peller Estates VP of Winemaking, Craig McDonald, himself a genius but of the grapes and in particular Icewine.
To Toronto, the Liquid and Tasting Notes
Experimenting at the Future Food Studio, Toronto
I was treated to variety of Icewine-inspired, delicious meals throughout the trip- which all in their own way were experimental, maverick and unique, from Jason Parsons, the Executive Chef at Peller through to the Copetin restaurant in Toronto where Winter Storm was released in a stunning sensorial affair inspired by the creative mind of Future Food Studio owner Irwin Adam.
On the nose Winter Storm reveals a bouquet of tropical fruit and candied sweets balanced with those underlying wine notes. In the mouth I taste 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. It’s finish is short and crisp with the key notes of lychee, sweet and tannin combing for something typically Glenfiddich but with a masterful edge- a 21year old Glenfiddich infiltrated with sweetness absorbed from those French oak Icewine casks. Delicious.
Conclusion and Availability
Glenfiddich Winter Storm will be available in two small batches: 1st October 2017 and March 2018 priced at £199, in a seriously handsome white ceramic bottle housed in an embossed presentation box. A limited edition, when it’s gone it’s gone, so my recommendation would be to act now. Hats off to Glenfiddich and Brian for another superb addition to the brands’ Experimental Series of unique whiskies- a winner on the taste buds, and a truly stylish addition to your whisky cabinet, gentlemen.