Celebrating 125 years of whisky-making, Glenfiddich is launching its Glenfiddich Anniversary Vintage in January 2014; one of Glenfiddich’s rarest, it is exemplary of its malt-making expertise throughout its long and illustrious history
The special anniversary edition, limited to only 286 bottles, was distilled on Christmas day in 1987, and is specially selected by William Grant’s great-great grandson, Peter Gordon and his son, Dougal. Taken from just one cask, the whisky holds an unusually high ABV of 55.2 percent – a sign of liquid’s preciousness.
Expect notes of fruit cake, toasted almonds and cinnamon flavours, underpinned by zestiness of citrus and sweetness of vanilla; with hints of liquorice, leather and ground coffee. On the tongue, the liquid turns to a luxurious velvety texture, lending a long-lasting, sweet and oaky finish.
Catching up with Matthew Fergusson-Stewart, William Grant & Son’s Southeast Asia Brand Ambassador we discuss the limited edition whisky, brand philosophy and Singapore’s positioning in the Asian Whisky consumption market.
MEN’S FOLIO: What’s the brand’s philosophy towards whisky making?
In 1886, our founder William Grant set out on a mission to create ‘the best dram in the valley’, in Scotland’s Speyside region and Glenfiddich was born in 1887 when the first drops of spirit flowed from the still on Christmas Day. Since then, we have been a pioneer in the field; we were the first distillery to commercially export single malts around the world in 1963, and we were the first distillery to adapt the solera process to maturing single malt whisky. Above all else, this pioneering spirit is what best characterises our personality and philosophy.
What is the best way to drink Glendiffich?
I always recommend it neat, or maybe with a little water if you prefer. Ice is best avoided, as cold whisky has less aroma and flavour. Single malt whisky should be sipped and savoured as it is made to have a great flavour and aroma, and if your mixing the whisky, that is all lost.
Do you have a favourite whisky and food pairing combination?
Often when we pair the Glenfiddich with a meal, we use the 12-year-old, the Solera 12-year-old and the 18-year-old to pair with three different courses. The light 12-year old with its distinctive pear note goes extremely well with some sashimi or other seafood as an appetiser. A bit of light spice in the dish works extremely well too, as the spirit helps to wash the spice around the mouth and intensify it a little, giving a fantastic kick that balances well with the pear note, without being overpowering. By virtue of the different casks used and the Solera vatting process, the Solera 15-year-old is a bolder, more fully-bodied whisky, which pairs extremely well with red meat dishes like a beef or lamb main course. A lighter whisky would be lost against the meatiness, while a white meat dish would play second fiddle to the boldness of the whisky.
I love to pair the 18-year-old with a dessert. Avoiding anything too sweet, a dish with vanilla notes and strawberries sits beautifully with the baked apple and cinnamon notes in the 18-year-old. If dessert is not your thing, the apple note also works exceptionally well with a pork dish.
Glenfiddich is in its 125th year of whisky making – where do you see it going in the next few years?
Glenfiddich has always innovated with processes like our Solera aging and our unique triangular bottle, but we have always stayed true to traditions where it really counts, as seen with our on-site cooperage, our wooden washbacks, and our direct fired stills. I think this is what you’ll see over the next 125 years as well, some great new ideas built on a solid core of great, traditionally-made single malt whisky.
Share with us the Glenfiddich Anniversary Vintage launching this month.
To celebrate 125 years of whisky making, we filled a cask on our 100th anniversary, and bottled it when we turned 125. So we have an extremely limited 25-year-old whisky of exquisite character, with only 286 bottles available for the whole world. For collectability and quality, this is a truly great whisky.
What’s your take on whisky consumption in Singapore? And how does it fare against other markets in Asia?
There is no doubt that Singapore is the Southeast Asian leader in whisky consumption. The appreciation and understanding of great whisky here is absolutely world class. There is nowhere else I’d rather be based as a Brand Ambassador.
Are there any new trends in whisky of late?
Trends come and go, great whisky is timeless. I am pleased to see a trend towards single cask whiskies like our Glenfiddich Anniversary Vintage.
A lot of brands are marketing whisky for the younger crowd. What do you envisage for the new whisky generation?
It’s very true that whisky is becoming more popular with women and with younger people, and I am pleased that the old notion of whisky being a drink for middle aged men has passed. But honestly, this is because youth of today are better informed and more savvy. We haven’t changed the product, they have discovered how good it always was. Whisky will continue to evolve as it always has, but I don’t think its going to be chasing young people. People who know good spirits will always know single malt whisky.