September saw no shortage of excellent new spirits entering the market, but one is especially perfect for toasting to end-of-year celebrations.
In a beautiful meeting of France and Scotland, Glenfiddich launched their latest expression, Grand Cru, a 23-year-old scotch that’s been aged in American and European oak casks before it’s finished in French cuvée casks. Housed in a sleek black and gold package, this is the type of scotch that even whisky newbies will enjoy.
Glenfiddich launched Grand Cru in true style with a celebration at Manhattan’s Academy Mansion where people came together to sip the new expression and enjoy delicious scotch cocktails. There, we caught up with brand ambassador Tracie Franklin to learn about the inspiration behind this decadent spirit.
While all types of barrels are used to finish whisky these days, French cuvée casks are certainly a standout choice. What inspired Glenfiddich to take a French lean and finish this spirit in sparkling wine casks?
Our aim was to create a fresh, new drinking moment for Glenfiddich and for the wider whisky category. Fine sparkling wines are immediately associated with celebratory social moments. We wanted to challenge that convention by creating an expression which brings the substance and richness of a single malt together with the elegance of sparkling wine. The result is Grand Cru—a whisky bearing the hallmark of quality and innovation Glenfiddich is known for and a true testament to our maverick spirit.
Grand Cru has been aged for 23 years. What notes are coming from the oak, and which are coming from the cuvée? How do they complement each other in the flavor of this spirit?
Our Malt Master Brian Kinsman has married the best of both worlds to elevate our unique Glenfiddich style while bringing forth some of the distinctive notes found in the world’s best sparkling wines. The cask fermentation of the relatively low pH wine changes some of the wood chemistry and flavor compounds within the staves. The flavors and compounds that have developed are then subtly imparted into our 23-year-old Glenfiddich during a period of several months, resulting in this distinctive Grand Cru finish.
The whisky is already rich and intense in flavor thanks to its long maturation in American and European oak casks. The traditional Glenfiddich characteristics of ripe orchard fruit are at the core of the 23-year-old whisky. We then finish the whisky for up to six months in the French cuvée casks, adding new layers of flavor and a myriad of aromas from apple blossom to candied lemon and freshly baked bread. On the palate, rich vanilla, sweet brioche, sandalwood, pear sorbet and white grape build a beautiful harmony of flavors, enhanced by a long, opulent finish for an unforgettable experience to be shared and remembered.
Are you trying to appeal to new whisky drinkers with Grand Cru, or is it simply a way for whisky lovers to switch up their dram choice?
Both. Grand Cru has been crafted for those consumers who may not be single malt connoisseurs but who like premium spirits and sparkling wines and enjoy them as part of a celebration or special moments in their lives. It is also a way for those more experienced scotch drinkers to try something new—an exceptional and innovative new liquid that combines richness, sophistication and elegance.
The packaging of this expression is stunning and evokes a celebratory mood with its black and gold box and label. How did Glenfiddich work with HERE design to create it?
As a company, William Grant & Sons has worked with HERE several times in the past with incredibly beautiful results, including Glenfiddich Winter Storm. For Grand Cru, we are obviously going in a bold, different direction with packaging and knew that HERE would be the team to lead us to that new place. The results are a sleek black glass bottle presented in an opulent black box featuring a sparkling golden firework design, created to emanate the spirit of celebration and the true taste of luxury contained within.