Glenfiddich accounted for 12.3% of all single malt sales worldwide in 2017 (source Malt whisky yearbook 2019), and is one of the biggest single malt distilleries operating these days. We all know their core range from the entry level 12 to the 21 which are very popular single malts and can be found in almost any liquor store. I appreciate the fact that such a big distillery is releasing some more “special” or “experimental” editions once in a while. It all started not long ago with the IPA cask experiment, followed by the “XX” and the Winter Storm edition, which were well received by Glenfiddich fans and there are many of those worldwide.
The Experimental series gives Brian Kinsman , GF Malt Master a chance to try out new things, new maturation methods and to “think outside the box” as to speak, and to experiment, things that can not be done on the large-scale of production for such a big brand.
The latest Experimental edition is called Fire & Cane, and as the name hints, is a bit smoky and features a finishing period in Caribbean ex-Rum casks. Glenfiddich does distill a bit of peated whisky, and this is no surprise, but not something that is often released, if you recall they had a 12 year old expression by the name of Caoran reserve a few years ago. This edition is a vatting of peated malt (8 ppm) and unpeated malt, aged in ex-bourbon casks, and then finished for 3 months on those active Rum casks, which are quite different from the ones used in the otherwise anemic 21 year old from the core expression, I am not really fond of..
Now, peated whisky and rum casks is nothing new, and quite a few distilleries had released such whiskies in the past few years, but it’s a first for Glenfiddich, and it’s worth a try!
Glenfiddich Experimental edition : Fire & Cane , 43% abv , £42 (MOM)
Nose: Nice entry with wee smoke , fruit : mainly apple and pear, and a nice caramel sweetness, some toffee and ripe blood oranges, citrus rind,and spices. The smoke is well-integrated and is there without shadowing the other notes, and adds to the complexity.
Palate: Sweetness alongside smokiness, wood fire cooked apples, toasted oak, fresh-ground black pepper, lemon and some burnt caramel candy, alongside toffee. The rum adds a nice sweetness indeed, and the smoke works well with the citrus fruit. a nice sweet-bitter combination. Highly drinkable and more-ish.
Finish: Smoky and bitter-sweet, with toffee, burnt sugar and dark chocolate.
This is not a ground breaking whisky, as expected. It’s rather nice and one of the best among the Experimental range thus far. Highly drinkable, and affordable as well. I think it’s going to be a big success among Fiddich fans, and single malt lovers in general. well done.
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