Born from a terrific multi-national collaboration — 16 countries, 20 whisky experts — Glenfiddich Project XX arrives to the U.S. via William Grant & Sons and is available at Binny’s — although supplies are limited. I was fortunate enough to sample the new collaboration Scotch. Normally, my whiskey-drinking involves Bourbon, Irish Whiskey, and Rye, but I not only found the Glenfiddich Project XX pleasant to drink, it blew me away.
Scotch often shocks my palate, and Glenfiddich Project XX did just that, but in the most seductive, sublime way. I’ve included my own tasting notes towards the bottom of this post. While I’ve simply included the Press Release below; it’s more than your standard P.R. The story told through the media-provided piece tells a wonderful story of collaboration. I’ve mostly left it unaltered, but I did edit some features and added my aforementioned tasting notes.
GLENFIDDICH CONTINUES TO BREAK WITH TRADITION; EXTENDS THE EXPERIMENTAL SERIES WITH GLENFIDDICH PROJECT XX
MALT MASTER BRIAN KINSMAN DEVELOPS ONE UNEXPECTED WHISKY BY BRINGING TOGETHER 20 UNIQUE SINGLE MALTS
New York, NY – Glenfiddich announces the U.S. launch of the next iteration of the Glenfiddich Experimental Series, a new range that combines the brand’s passion for pushing Scotch whisky boundaries and collaborating with trailblazers from the whisky world and beyond. Designed to inspire unusual and unexpected variants, the Glenfiddich Experimental Series continues with the unveiling of Project XX (pronounced “twenty”), the result of one of the most ambitious malt experiments of its 130-year history.
Glenfiddich Project XX (SRP $79.99) is the result of a collaboration between 20 whisky experts and Glenfiddich’s Malt Master, Brian Kinsman, who together have developed one unexpected, extraordinary single malt.
Going against normal whisky making conventions, Brian invited these experts from 16 countries around the world (the US, Canada, France, Germany, Taiwan, China, South East Asia, Ukraine, Brazil, England, Scotland, Mexico, The Netherlands, South Korea, Russia and South Africa), to explore and each select a cask, 20 in total, from a warehouse at the Glenfiddich Distillery in Dufftown.
The experts – many of them the foremost authorities on Glenfiddich in their respective countries – have accumulated a wealth of whisky knowledge between them and spend their lives introducing single malts to whisky connoisseurs, enthusiasts and novices. Brian’s ambition was to create one remarkable single malt, by combining the curiosity and knowledge of these 20 experts.
This freedom of choice resulted in a 20-strong collection of some of the most unusual whiskies from Glenfiddich’s unrivalled stocks. After each expert had chosen a single cask of extraordinary liquid, from aged malts matured in port pipes to ancient sherry butts and first fill bourbon casks, Brian skillfully produced the final variant to reflect their individual tastes and interests. Expertly married together in a small batch vatting, the final flavor profile defied even Brian’s expectations.
“The Experimental Series is an example of Glenfiddich’s long illustrious history of innovation and having the confidence to try new things in an unconventional way,” Brian said. “Bucking the tradition of malt whisky being chosen and vatted by only a Malt Master, we set out to create an unpredictable whisky by involving 20 whisky experts in the process. The 20 casks 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. It has the warm summer fruity character of a classic Glenfiddich but then its ‘multiple personalities’ are revealed as the flavors of candy floss, cinnamon spice, almonds and rich port tannins kick in with the odd hint of licorice.’’
“As a Glenfiddich Ambassador I have had the pleasure and privilege of selecting casks for bottlings on a few occasions now and it always reminds me that I have one of the best jobs in the world,” said Mitch Bechard, National Ambassador for Glenfiddich USA. “Not only do I get to talk about the world’s most awarded single malt Scotch whisky while meeting people on my travels around the USA, I also get to add my name to the list of incredibly talented Ambassadors who helped to select the casks that went into making up Project XX. A spicy and complex dram with depth and a smooth finish, Project XX is a great example of how experimentation and collaboration can work together.”
Created from collaborations with like-minded innovators from a wide range of different industries, the Glenfiddich Experimental Series focuses on using unique and innovative production processes to offer a new kind of malt whisky experience. Glenfiddich Project XX follows the first malt released from the series, Glenfiddich India Pale Ale Cask Finish; a Glenfiddich single malt finished in IPA craft beer casks carefully selected by Brian Kinsman and a local Speyside craft brewer.
TASTING NOTES & Comments from A Pint of Chicago
A Pint of Chicago comment: Drink it outside in the sun and watch the whisky shine. It’s gorgeous.
Classic Glenfiddich fruitiness with hints of apple blossom, summer fruits and ripe pear. A beautiful balance of oak with rich creamy vanilla, barley sugar and a hint of licorice and subtle spice
A Pint of Chicago comment: The initial aroma reminds one of a summery desert, like an oven-roasted pear dusted with brown sugar and vanilla. I was astonished at the lack of booziness that permeated through the nose. Glenfiddich Project XX offers an amazing aroma.
A refined and balanced flavor with candy floss sweetness and a rich vanilla oakiness. Deep and mellow, the initial sweetness is complemented by unusual notes of toasted almonds, cinnamon and a hint of crisp tannin
A Pint of Chicago comment: I have never tasted a Scotch like this before, or whisky/whiskey for that matter. Throw all your preconceptions out the window. This whisky is truly unique. The vanilla and oak notes are prevalent, with just a perfect level of booziness that refrains from dominating. The other tasting notes are spot-on here. I’m not a “Scotch guy,” but Glenfiddich Project XX is no ordinary Scotch.
Long lasting with a lingering sweet oakiness
Add a sprinkle of water to the outer lip of the glass, dab the glass lightly into a bowl of sea salt flakes, picking up a few flakes. The salt works well with the fruity notes in the blend for an unforeseen enhancement.
ABOUT GLENFIDDICH SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
Glenfiddich – the world’s most awarded and best-selling single malt Scotch whisky – is run by the fifth generation of the Grant-Gordon family and today is one of the few remaining family-owned and operated distillers.
From dream to dram, the Glenfiddich journey began in 1886 when founder, William Grant, realized his dream of creating the ‘best dram in the valley’ in Dufftown, Scotland. Equipped with distilling expertise, gained after working 20 years at the Mortlach distillery, Grant purchased the necessary tools for the job and he found his premises in the beautiful nearby field of Glenfiddich, Gaelic for ‘valley of the deer’ that also included a pure water source provided by the Robbie Dhu Spring, a vital ingredient in the production of quality whisky. The Glenfiddich distillery was born on Christmas Day 1887, when spirit first flowed from the Glenfiddich stills. The combination of crystal clear water from the spring, home-grown barley, pure Highland air and the unusually small size of the stills, produced an unrivalled single malt Scotch whisky.
Today Glenfiddich continues to be a progressive spirit in challenging malt whisky conventions while also staying true to legacy, by keeping traditional production techniques established by founder, William Grant. The Glenfiddich core ranges includes: Glenfiddich 12 Year Old (SRP: $39.99), Glenfiddich 15 Year Old (SRP: $59.99), Glenfiddich 18 Year Old (SRP: $99.99), Glenfiddich 21 Year Old (SRP: $179.99) and Glenfiddich 26 Year Old (SRP: $ 499.99). Glenfiddich also produces limited edition bottles, such as Glenfiddich The Original (launched 2014), and a range of some of the oldest and finest vintage cask and private vintage marques in the world. For further information visit www.glenfiddich.com.
ABOUT WILLIAM GRANT & SONS
William Grant & Sons Holdings Ltd is an independent family-owned distiller headquartered in the United Kingdom and founded by William Grant in 1887. Today, the global premium spirits company is run by the fifth generation of his family and distils some of the world’s leading brands of Scotch whisky, including the world’s most awarded single malt Glenfiddich®, The Balvenie® range of handcrafted single malts and the world’s third largest blended Scotch, Grant’s®, as well as other iconic spirits brands such as Hendrick’s® Gin, Sailor Jerry® Spiced Rum, Tullamore D.E.W.® Irish Whiskey, Monkey Shoulder® Blended Malt Scotch Whisky and Drambuie® Scotch Liqueur.
William Grant & Sons has been honored as “Distiller of the Year” by the prestigious International Wine & Spirit Competition and International Spirits Challenge 11 times over the past 16 years.
Founded in 1964, William Grant & Sons USA is a wholly-owned subsidiary of William Grant & Sons, Ltd. and features one of the fastest growing spirits portfolios in the USA with brands including Glenfiddich, The Balvenie, Hendrick’s Gin, Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum, Tullamore D.E.W. Irish Whiskey, Drambuie, Milagro Tequila, Grant’s, Hudson Whiskey, Gibson’s Finest, Monkey Shoulder, Clan MacGregor, Reyka Vodka, Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur, Montelobos Mezcal, Ancho Reyes, Flor de Caña Rum, Art In The Age, The Knot and Raynal French Brandy. For more information on the company and its brands, please visit www.grantusa.com.