The primary distilling constituents (water source, grain source and roasting technique)—and the magic of the distilling process itself—of a fine malt whiskey, or scotch, play a key role in the final taste of the product. But the real alchemy of the glorious creation is all in the barrel. Or barrel-finishing, properly. And the new Glenfiddich Grand Cru malt whiskey has a finishing story like no other.
Malt whiskeys are typically barrel-aged in oak, often former American bourbon barrels, to add color, tannins, and the varied flavor notes we all enjoy. Of late, some distillers have added an additional cask- or barrel-finishing step to further augment the overall taste of the final product. Olorosso sherry casks have been popular to finish malt whiskeys, as have various dessert wine casks and other approaches that add a variety of notes to the mix.
Glenfiddich’s Grand Cru, however, employs a unique blend of the traditional and the nouveau in its barreling techniques. The name itself provides a hint. “Grand Cru” is a term originally from the wine-making world used to designate those specific French regional vineyards with a long-term, consistent and favorable reputation for creating outstanding vintages. The base single malt spirit of the Glenfiddich Grand Cru starts its journey much like other fine whiskeys, but it is matured for no less than 23 years in either American or European oak barrels, delivering a particularly sophisticated overall taste profile of oaky and sandalwood tannins, fruit notes and vanilla you’d expect from a fine Speyside malt.
For this product, Glenfiddich was able to secure something very special to finish the process: very rare French cuvee wine casks. “Cuvee” is another oenophile term used to designate particularly fine blends of barrel-aged wines and often wines created from the pinnacle juices of the initial, gentlest grape-pressing process. Oftentimes, cuvee wines are used to produce champagne, in fact.
This special cask-finishing process lends a very unique and sophisticated sweetness to the quaff, a sweetness that many taste as a fruity or creamy finish that is quite spectacular. Hand-crafted by Malt Master Brian Kinsman and presented in a bold, artful and specially designed bottle, Glenfiddich Grand Cru will become a masterpiece of your curated home bar, ready to provide something very special for your next celebration. $300, glenfiddich.com/us/