They’ve finished a whisky with pale ale, combined the favourite single malts of 20 Scotch experts in a single bottle and now the team at the Speyside distiller Glenfiddich have turned to Canada’s famed icewines to produce the latest experimental whisky from the family-owned business.
Glenfiddich’s Winter Storm has been finished in Canadian icewine oak casks using single malts that were 21-years-old.
Icewine is a powerfully sweet dessert wine made from grapes that were frozen on the vine when picked, concentrating the sugars. It’s the third iteration in the Glenfiddich experimental series, following on from 2016’s Glenfiddich IPA Experiment #01, the world’s first single malt Scotch finished in oak casks that held India Pale Ale, and Project XX (pronounced ‘twenty’) Experiment #02, a collaboration between 20 whisky experts and Glenfiddich’s Malt Master Brian Kinsman.
Just before the first two experimental whiskies landed, Kinsman visited Canada and Peller Estate in Niagara Peninsula, which produces the acclaimed Vidal icewine. The grapes are picked at night when the temperature can be as low as -10˚C and the grapes are rock hard, before the wine is matured in French oak casks.
Kinsman took several of those icewine casks back to the distillery in Duffton, putting Glenfiddich aged malts into them for up to six months.
“Only the rarer whiskies, those aged for 21 years, could cope with the extra icewine intensity,” he explained.
“Having more tannins, extracted from years in oak, these malts brought out a uniquely fresh lychee note instead of being swamped by sweetness
The result is an unusual and spectacular harmony between the familiar flavours of Glenfiddich and the intense tropical fruits and tannins of the wine.
The tasting notes single out candied fruit and turkish delight, amid tropical fruits and lychee, with a short, crisp finish. Winter Storm is also a slightly stronger whisky at 43% ABV.
The project also had an Australian flavour courtesy of Andrew Peller’s vice-president of winemaking, Craig McDonald, an Aussie who learnt his craft in Mudgee, who described the result as “a unique combination of the warming soul of whisky and the frozen cold of icewine”.
As befits the unusual project, Glenfiddich decided to release Winter Storm in white ceramic bottles in an embossed presentation box. The serving suggestion is to enjoy a dram in a chilled glass with a frozen grape.
Glenfiddich Winter Storm is available in Australian bottleshops now – it first came out in 2017, but didn’t make it this far south until the second and final batch was produced. The RRP is $350.
Business Insider recently travelled to Frogmore Creek in Tasmania, Australia’s only producer of icewine, for the launch of Winter Storm as a guest of Glenfiddich. While there we had a chance to chat with Glenfiddich brand ambassador Luke Sanderson about the Experimental Series.
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