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GLENFIDDICH   geen leeftijd vermelding 43 %     INFO  
SPECIAL OLD RESERVE
PURE MALT Scotch WhiskY
William Grant & Sons Ltd,
The Glenfiddich Distillery, Banffshire

GLENFIDDICH   15 years old 51 %   INFO
LAST  BOTTLE  AND  EMPTY        
Authentic Highland Malt
'Made Without Compromise'
CASK STRENGHT
Distilled, Matured and Bottled
Only at The Glenfiddich Distillery
Dufftown, Banffshire.

GLENFIDDICH   21 years old 40 %     INFO           
Bottled: 2002
HAVANA RESERVE
Specially Selected
ESQUISITOS SUPERIORES
A Unique CUBAN RUM FINISH
Matured A Unique Formula
PURE SINGLE MALT RICH AGED
Distilled , Matured & Bottled at
The Glenfiddich Distillery
William Grant & Sons Ltd, Banffshire
STAND FAST
Distilling Single Malt Scotch Whisky
for five Generations

GLENFIDDICH   Aged 30 years 40 %       INFO           
PURE SINGLE MALT
LAST BOTTLE AND EMPTY
'Made Without Compromise'
Distilled, Matured & Bottled at
The Glenfiddich Distillery
William Grant & Sons Limited,
Dufftown, Banffshire

GLENFIDDICH   Aged 18, years 40 %    INFO       
ANCIENT RESERVE
Pure Single Malt
'Made without Compromise'
Distilled, Matured & Bottled at
The Glenfiddich Distillery
William Grant & Sons Limited,
Dufftown, Banffshire

GLENFIDDICH   geen leeftijd vermelding 43 %    INFO        
CLASSIC
OLD CLASSIC RESERVE 1887
RARE OLD GLENFIDDICH RESERVE
Pure Malt Very Rare Scotch Whisky
Matured in Oak Casks
From an Independent Family Company
Distilled & Bottled at The Glenfiddich Distillery,
Banffshire

GLENFIDDICH   Aged 18 years 43 %     INFO              
EXCELLENCE
Pure Single Malt Scotch Whisky
RARE OLD SCOTCH WHISKY
The Glenfiddich Distillery, Banffshire

GLENFIDDICH   50 years old 43 %       INFO
50 ml
The Glenfiddich Distillery, Banffshire

GLENFIDDICH   Aged 21 years 40 %       INFO     
MILLENNIUM RESERVE
A Vintage Reserve of
Rare Scotch Whisky
Made without Compromise
In Celebration of a New Millennium
VERY RARE
Limited Edition
Distilled, Matured & Bottled at
The Glenfiddich Distillery,
Dufftown, Banffshire

GLENFIDDICH   geen leeftijd vermelding 43%      INFO
CENTENARY SINGLE MALT
THE CENTENARY CELEBRATION
100 Years of Craftmanship 1887 - 1987
GLENFIDDICH PURE MALT
SCOTCH WHISKY
LIMITED CENTENARY EDITION

GLENFIDDICH   geen leeftijd vermelding 43 %   INFO  
HERITAGE RESERVE
Bonnie Prince Charlie 1720 - 1788
The Glenfiddich Distillery, Banffshire

GLENFIDDICH   12  years  old  40 % INFO           
PURE SINGLE MALT
'Made without Compromise'
SPECIAL RESERVE
Distilled, Matured & Bottled at
The Glenfiddich Distillery
William Grant & Sons Limited,
Dufftown, Banffshire

GLENFIDDICH   15 years old 40 %    INFO              
SOLERA RESERVE
William Grant & Sons Ltd,
Dufftown, Banffshire

GLENFIDDICH   Over 30 years 43,6 %                
VINTAGE RESERVE
PURE SINGLE MALT
LAST BOTTLE AND EMPTY
' Made Without Compromise'
Laid down in 1967
In Cask Date 6th Mar 1967
Cask No. 3959
Limited Edition
Bottling Date 14 th Sept 1999
Hand Bottled
234 bottles
Bottle No. 35
VERY RARE
Distilled, Matured & Bottled at
The Glenfiddich Distillery
William Grant & Sons Limited,
Dufftown, Banffshire

GLENFIDDICH   12 years old 40 %   INFO          
CAORAN RESERVE
PURE SINGLE MALT
Distilled, Matured & Bottled at
The Glenfiddich Distillery
William Grant & Sons Limited,
Dufftown, Banffshire

GLENFIDDICH   13 years old 40 %      INFO      
VINTAGE 1991RESERVE
Fine Aged
Distilled 1991
Bottled 2005
DON RAMSAY -THE HEAD COOPER
American Oak Casks
225 Casks
Distilled, Matured & Bottled at
The Glenfiddich Distillery
William Grant & Sons Limited,
Dufftown, Banffshire.

GLENFIDDICH    21  years old 40 %   INFO        
GRAN   RESERVA
Specially Selected
ESQUISITOS SUPERIORES
A Unique CUBAN RUM FINISH
Matured A Unique Formula
PURE SINGLE MALT RICH AGED
Distilled, Matured & Bottled at
The Glenfiddich Distillery
William Grant & Sons Ltd, Banffshire
STAND FAST
Distilling Single Malt Scotch Whisky
for five Generations

GLENFIDDICH    Aged 12 years 40 %     INFO    
TOASTED OAK RESERVE
PURE SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY
'Made Without Compromise'
'Limited Edition`
William Grant & Sons Limited,
Dufftown, Banffshire

GLENFIDDICH  MATURED 14 YEARS AND  INFO
THEN
DELICATELY  FINISHED  IN  NEW
AMERICAN  &  SPANISH  OAK TO
CREATE  A  COMPLEX  HARMONY
OF   LIVELY  FRUIT  FLAVOURS  AND
FRESH  NEW  OAK
40  %
Distilled, Matured and Bottled in the
Valley of The Deer
Where the distillery has stood since 1887
William Grant & Sons Limited
Glenfiddich Distillery, Dufftown, Banfshire

GLENFIDDICH 2 0 1 0   47.6 %     INFO
S N O W   PHOENIX
SINGLE  MALT  SCOTCH  WHISKY
Distilled and Matured in
The Valley of the Deer
Where the distillery had stood since 1887
Limited Edition Bottling
One of a kind, it will only be bottled
and released in 2010
Non - Chill Filtered
William Grant & Sons
Distilled and Matured at
The Glenfiddich Distillery, Dufftown, Banfshire.


GLENFIDDIC    30 years old    43 %   INFO                    
CASK  SELECTION  00019
Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Aged in Oloroso and Bourbon Casks
Distilled, Matured and Bottled at
Glenfiddich Distillery, Dufftown, Banff - shire

GLENFIDDICH  15  years old   51  % INFO
DISTILLERY  EDITION
This Exceptional Whisky has been
Matured  in American & European
Distilled and Matured in
The Valley of the Deer
Oak for 15 years
Non Chill - Filtration
William Grant & Sons
Glenfiddich Distillery, Dufftown, Banffshire
                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

GLENFIDDICH MALT  MASTER'S  EDITION                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

43 %                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

BATCH  0 1  /  1 2                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

DOUBLE  MATURED  IN  OAK                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

AND  SHERRY  CASKS                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Distilled and Matured in                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

The Valley of the Deer                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Distilled, Matured and Bottled at                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

The Glenfiddich Distillery,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Dufftown, Banffshire                   

Highland Malt
Speyside
GLENFIDDICH   (1887 zie ook The BALVENIE, KININVIE,  LADYBURN en CONVALMORE


Dufftown, Banffshire. Licentiehouder en eigenaar: William Grant & Sons Ltd.
William Grant (1839 - 1923) leerde de kunst van het distilleren te Mortlach, waar hij twintig jaar werkte voor £ 200 per jaar.
Al die jaren spaarde hij, tot hij geld genoeg had om zijn eigen distilleerderij te beginnen.
Hij koos een stuk grond uit bij Dufftown, Glenfiddich genaamd, wat dal van de herten betekent.
Er was veel en goed water voorhanden van de Robbie Dubh bron.
Zijn ketels kocht hij tweedehands van Cardhu voor £ 120 en de eerste whisky kwam op eerste kerstdag 1887 uit de ketels.
Grant, zijn vrouw en negen kinderen werkten allemaal mee in de distilleerderij.
De whisky werd verkocht als zijnde goed voor medische doeleinden, elk onderdeel van het proces in de distilleerderij stond onder dokter's toezicht. Dit hield in dat Alex, de vierde zoon medicijnen studeerde, maar ook in de distilleerderij werkte.
De eerste grote klapper voor Glenfiddich kwam toen The Glenlivet grotendeels door brand werd verwoest en een grote order niet uit kon voeren.
William Grant begon toen een tweede distilleerderij: The Balvenie.
Het bankroet van de Pattison's in 1898 trof veel distillateurs, het antwoord van Grant op de problemen was, alles in eigen hand houden, zelf blenden en zelf ook verkopen.
Hij stuurde zijn zwager Charles Gordon naar Engeland om een kantoor op te zetten te Blackburn, Dit was geen succes, na 503 zakelijke bezoeken had hij één kist Glenfiddich verkocht!
Maar Grant ging door en binnen tien jaar had hij vertegenwoordigingen in meer dan dertig landen.
In de jaren dertig werd, tegen de trend in, de produktie opgevoerd, in de verwachting dat na beëindiging van de drooglegging in de VErenigde Staten, er weer meer afzet zou komen.
Glenfiddich is één van de grootste distilleerderijen van Schotland met dertig ketels, al-lem replica's van de eerste ketel die werd gekocht van Cardhu.
De Mash tun is  12 ton.
De 24 Wash backs hebben elk een inhoud van 60.000 liter.
De 10 Wash stills zijn elk groot 9100 liter, de twintig Spirit stills zijn elk 4550 liter groot.
Vijftien ketels worden met kolen gestookt, twee verhit met stoom en dertien worden met gas verhit, maar kunnen ook met kolen worden gestookt.
De ketels hebben allen een electrisch aangedreven rummagers.
Er is een cooperage, een vatenmakerij en een bottelarij met een kapaciteit van 10,2 miljoen flessen per jaar.
Glenfiddich heeft 40 lagerpakhuizen met ongeveer 100 miljoen liter whisky. 10 % van de vaten zijn gebruikte sherryvaten.

William Grant & Sons Ltd, komt de eer toe, in een tijd van smaakvervlakking en malaise in de whiskyindustrie, als eerste zijn single malt whisky op grote schaal aktief te gaan pro-moten, dat was in 1963.
De driehoekige fles werd in 1957 geintroduceerd.
William Grant & Sons Ltd bezit ook de graandistilleerderij te Girvan, gebouwd in 1963.
Drie jaar later werd er een malt distilleerderij bijgebouwd, Ladyburn, maar die werd in 1975 gesloten.
In Augustus 1990 opende William Grant ' Sons Ltd, Kininvie, een nieuwe malt whisky dis-tilleerderij in de Speyside, en dat wordt gezien in Schotland als een historische gebeurtenis.
Convalmore wordt gekocht in 1990, maar wordt uitsluitend gebruikt als lagerpakhuis.
Gemiddeld ontvangt Glenfiddich 100.000 gasten per jaar, die worden rondgeleid door 50 gidsen.
Glenfiddich is sponsor van:
Glenfiddich Piping Championship, Glenfiddich Fiddle Championship en Glenfiddich Heavyweight
Qualifying Championship, Tossing the cabre, het gooien van boomstammen.
Voorjaar 1999 kregen de Edrington Group en Highland Distillers verschil van mening over het niet of wel aanhouden van de beursnotering van Highland Distillers.
September 1999 wordt bekend dat Edrington en William Grant & Sons samen Highland Distillers overnemen.
De naam van de nieuwe onderneming luidt: The 1887 Company, wat slaat op het stichtingsjaar van Highland Distillers.
Edrington verkrijgt 70 %-, William Grant & Sons 30 % van de aandelen. Archie, de kat van Glenfiddich sterft op 6 October 2002.
Op 13 Maart 2003, worden een chauffeur en zijn vrachtwagen, geladen met Glenfiddich, Balvenie en Grant's whiskies ontvoerd.

De vrachtwagen stond geparkeerd in de omgeving van Lockerbie. De chauffeur werd negen uur later vrijgelaten in Worchestershire, de vrachtwagen, zonder de whisky, en met een waarde van £ 135.000 werd bij Huil teruggevonden.
September 2007:
Glenfiddich krijgt een nieuwe uitmonstering, de driekante fles blijft.
Nieuwe slogan is "Every Year Counts"

September 2004
Ter viering van de tewaterlating van de Queen Mary 2, van de Cunard Line, brengt Glenfiddich uit één vat gebottelde Glenfiddich uit, exclusief voor passagiers van de Queen Mary 2.
Er wordt ook een Vintage 1972 botteling uitgebracht, van twee vaten, hiervan werden 519 flessen gebotteld.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

GLENFIDDICH  SNOW   PHOENIX

The Great Warehouse Collapse of 2 0 1 0:

Glenfiddich Snow Phoenix commemorates a moment of drama in the long
History of The Glenfiddich Distillery. It all began in December 2009 when it
started to snow - it kept snowing for several months. After weeks of record
low temperatures and alternate freezing and thawing there were four feet
of densely compacted snow on the distillery roofs.

On the evening of Thursday 7th January, in the most remote part of the snow
covered distillery, some of our warehouse roofs collapsed, ripped open by the
sheer weight of snow, leaving maturing casks of Glenfiddich exposed to the
winter sky. It was as if some of the distillery angels had finished their 'share'
and had come back looking for more.

In all 4 roofs collapsed and several more were badly damaged. The distillery engineers calculated that there were 400 kilograms of snow on every square
metre of warehouse roof - the equivalent of a herd of elephants standing
on top of each warehouse.

The Glenfiddich Distillery team immediately swung into action - working around
the clock to clear snow from the distillery and neighbouring warehouses to
make everything safe. Enduring temperatures as low as - 19o C they could
only work for a few hours in the bitter cold before having to go indoors to thaw
out.

Before the rebuilding of the warehouses could start, all the casks of maturing
Glenfiddich had to be moved to other secure places where they could continue
their maturation undisturbed.

I came to see the warehouses for myself and standing amongst the wreckage
decided to create a special Glenfiddich whisky to mark this moment in the
distillery's history and recognize the fantastic and difficult work carried out by
the distillery team.

To create this whisky I selected the finest casks from the snow damaged ware-
houses - marrying together different ages of mature Glenfiddich - some very
old. Some of these casks had previously held Oloroso sherry and others were
traditional whisky casks made of American oak. Each one was specially chosen
to make a unique contribution to the taste and aroma of the final whisky.

Aside from choosing and marrying these casks, this Glenfiddich is as we found
it:  a marriage of Glenfiddich single malt Scotch whiskies of different ages and finishes with the strength brought to 47.6 % abv by the addition of the distillery's
Robbie Dhu spring water. It has not been chill filtered.

We have called it Snow Phoenix - a great Glenfiddich Single Malt born of chance
and adversity. It is a limited edition, one of a kind and will only be bottled in 2010  

Glenfiddich Anniversary Vintage joins Rare Collection

September 2013

The new edition to Glenfiddich's Rare Collection

William Grant & Sons has released a 125th anniversary edition of its world leading single malt scotch, Glenfiddich.
Glenfiddich Anniversary Vintage, is described as one of the Speyside brand's "rarest whiskies ever released" and numbers only 286 bottles.
The whisky, which falls within the brand's Glenfiddich Rare Collection and is priced at £699, has spent 25 years in a ex-sherry oak barrel.
It is available globally to "whisky connoisseurs and prestigious establishments".
Brian Kinsman, malt master at Glenfiddich said: "Bottled from just one European oak sherry cask and testament to the uniqueness of this exclusive whisky, Glenfiddich Anniversary Vintage has a cask-strength ABV of 55.2%.
"Glenfiddich has been family run since 1887 and with the freedom of independence and the foresight of long term planning, we have created the largest collection of single malt stock anywhere in the world. It allows to us to create exceptional and fantastic tasting whisky."

Company director Peter Gordon said: "It was an honour to select this whisky. Born of two momentous anniversaries for our distillery, this whisky truly reflects the pioneering spirit that has underpinned our 125 year history and my great-great grandfather's legacy of making 'the best dram in the valley'."
Glenfiddich is the world's best selling single malt scotch, with 1.0m 9-litre case sales in 2012

Glenfiddich solera whiskies continue no-age trend

September, 2013
William Grant & Sons has continued the trend of age-statement free single malt scotch with the release of three solera vat whiskies.
The Glenfiddich Cask Collection whiskies - Glenfiddich Select Cask, Glenfiddich Reserve Cask and Glenfiddich Vintage Cask - have been matured in a variety of oak casks and finished in solera tuns.
According to William Grant & Sons, the solera process marries the whisky together for at least two months, until deemed ready by malt master Brian Kinsman.
The solera technique "guarantees the continuity of the whisky's flavour and taste by ensuring that the tun is never less than half full and is constantly replenished", said the spirits company.
Kinsman said: "These latest additions to our no-age range allow us to offer single malt aficionados the best of both worlds - whiskies crafted for their flavour, alongside whiskies bottled by their age."
Glenfiddich Select Cask is described as "an elegant whisky with layers of sweetness, spice and hints of citrus, matured in hand-selected aged bourbon, European oak and red wine casks to impart a beautifully soft taste".
Glenfiddich Reserve Cask is matured in "Spanish sherry casks used for their mellow and rich flavour characteristics" while Glenfiddich Vintage Cask is matured in European oak and American bourbon casks.
Glenfiddich Select Cask and Glenfiddich Reserve Cask will be available as global travel retail exclusives from this month; Glenfiddich Vintage Cask will be available from early 2014.
The full range will be available across all global travel retail outlets from April 2014.
e Cask is matured in European oak and American bourbon casks.
Glenfiddich Select Cask and Glenfiddich Reserve Cask will be available as global travel retail exclusives from this month; Glenfiddich Vintage Cask will be available from early 2014.
The full range will be available across all global travel retail outlets from April 2014.


WHISKY distiller William Grant & Sons yesterday toasted record revenues despite the eurozone debt crisis making 2012 a "challenging year" for the family-owned company.
The Dufftown-based firm, which makes Glenfiddich single malt and Grant's blended Scotch, posted a 1.4 per cent rise in full-year revenues to £1.06 billion. Sales first broke through the £1bn barrier in 2011.
Operating profits dipped by 1.2 per cent to £124.8 million after the company invested in increasing its production, refurbishing its visitor centres and gearing up for the construction of a distillery in Ireland.
Cash was also pumped into replacing one of the computer systems used by the group, which also makes the Balvenie single malt and the Monkey Shoulder triple malt.
Stella David, chief executive at William Grant, said: "Whilst 2012 saw some difficult global economic conditions, the company continued to perform well thanks to the continued success of our premium spirits brands and our consistent focus on building brand equity and investing for the long term."
Last year saw the launch of the first television advertisements for the company's Sailor Jerry spiced rum brand, while its Hendrick's label "continues to lead the super-premium gin segment with rapid value growth across all regions".
William Grant & Sons, which is owned by the Gordon and Grant families, said that it had also invested in its other spirit brands, including Reyka vodka, Solerno blood orange liqueur and Milagro tequila.
Work began a couple of weeks ago on the construction of the new £29m Tullamore distillery at Clonminch, Co Offaly.
Irish agriculture minister Simon Coveney broke open a cask of Tullamore whiskey to mark the first sod being turned at the site, which will bring production back to Clonminch for the first time since 1954.
William Grant & Sons bought Tullamore in 2010 as part of its €300m (£250m) takeover of C&C Group's spirits business, a year after the Dublin-based drinks group bought Tennent's and its Wellpark brewery in Glasgow from InBev for £180m.
Glenfiddich marked the 125th anniversary last year of the opening of its distillery by filling 11 bottles to celebrate the life of Janet Sheed Roberts, the grand-daughter of the company's founder, William Grant. Roberts died last year aged 110.
The bottles raised more than £400,000 for a group of charities after going under the hammer at various auctions.
Balvenie held a "fête" in Edinburgh's St Andrew Square last week, featuring tastings with its UK ambassador, Andrew Forrester, cooperage displays and chocolate and whisky tasting workshops with Nadia Ellingham, who runs the Thinking Chocolate shop in Edinburgh.
William Grant & Sons' figures come amid a flurry of rising revenues in the spirits industry, as demand for whisky soars in Asia and the United States.

Water: Robbie Dubh Springs
Mash tuns: 1 x 12 tonnes
Wasbacks: 24 x 60.000 litres
Wash stills: 10 x 9000 litres
Spirit stills: 20 x 4500 litres
Output: 13.000.000 litres

William Grant & Sons to expand Glenfiddich distillery
03 December, 2015

William Grant & Sons has announced plans to increase the capacity of its Glenfiddich distillery in Speyside, Scotland.

The company says the planning application for the multi-million pound expansion has been given the stamp of approval from Moray Council.

Enda O’Sullivan, global brand director of Glenfiddich, said: “As a family owned business it is in our DNA to protect the future and think in the long term. This means managing our stock profile carefully and leading the category through innovation and creativity.

“The expansion plans enable us to help meet these objectives. We are delighted that the plans have been approved and that we can continue to meet the needs of our discerning drinkers all over the world long, long into the future.”

Glenfiddich is Gaelic for valley of the deers.


All of the stills in ‘Stillhouse 2’ remain directly fired (by gas). The size and shape of the stills have not changed since 1886 (see below) which seems to contradict Glenfiddich’s new make character – light, estery, pear and apple-accented. Small stills and direct fire are meant to combine to make a heavy style. Here, however, having an early cut point preserves that delicacy. The number of stills is another clue. More spirit could have been made with a smaller number of stills by widening the cut, but that would have meant that character would have been lost. The only solution was to add more stills.

That delicacy is seen most clearly in the 12-year-old. After that, a steady increase in the amount of ex-Sherry casks used adds increasing layers of fruit and weight but the light notes seen in the new make are never fully lost.

The firm has also pioneered (or maybe revived) a type of solera ageing. This involves a set recipe of mature stock from specific cask types being mingled together in a solera vat which is then never more than half emptied.

The technique was pioneered for the 15-year-old expression and now three more vats have been constructed for the Select, Reserve and Vintage Cask range. The vatting cask for the 40-year-old, containing whiskies from the 1920s, is also never fully emptied. Because none of the vats are fully emptied some of the original whiskies are still contained in the mix, something which adds mouthfeel and harmony to the final whisky.

Indeed, all Glenfiddich undergoes a marrying process – if not in solera vats then in marrying tuns where the component parts are allowed time to meld together. It is time consuming – and expensive – but William Grant & Sons believes it adds quality to the final product.

BRANDS PRODUCED HERE
Burnside
Wardhead

The story of the building of Glenfiddich has the air of a Victorian fairy tale. It was in 1886 that William Grant of Dufftown decided to leave his position as manager of Mortlach and start up on his own. He had saved assiduously and, fortuitously, was starting his project just as Elizabeth Cumming was revamping Cardhu and replacing her old small stills. Along with his wife and nine children, William built his distillery near to the Fiddich river by hand. The first new make trickled out on Christmas Day, 1887. At a time when more distilleries had foundered than succeeded, and those which were being built tended to be bankrolled by brokers, bonders and blenders, his enterprise and stubborn belief was remarkable.

He must have been a talented distiller, for his whole output was soon snapped up by Aberdeen blender and broker William Williams. Within 25 years, the family firm had 63 agencies internationally, proving them with their family blend, ‘Grant’s Standfast’.

The firm is still wholly owned by the Grant family (now in its fifth generation), and has expanded to include three more malt distilleries [Balvenie, Kininvie and Ailsa Bay], a grain plant [Girvan] and other brands such as Monkey Shoulder and Hendrick’s gin.

In 1963, after a dispute over grain supply (which prompted the firm to build the Girvan plant) the decision was made to bottle and promote Glenfiddich as a single malt, the first concerted effort to create a global malt brand. In the late 1960s it was one of the first to be sold in new duty free outlets and in 1969 the distillery’s doors were opened to the public – another first.

Today, Glenfiddich remains the world’s best-selling single malt with sales in excess of a million cases a year.

1886
William Grant leaves Mortlach and builds Glenfiddich Distillery
1887
The stills begin production on Christmas Day
1903
The distillery is incorporated as part of William Grant & Sons, where it remains today
1957
Glenfiddich introduces its iconic triangular bottle
1963
The brand becomes the first to be marketed as a single malt whisky worldwide
1969
Glenfiddich becomes the first Scottish distillery to open a visitors' centre
1974
A major investment sees 16 new stills installed
2005
Glenfiddich upgrades its visitors' centre
2010
Glenfiddich Snow Phoenix is released
2013
The Cask Collection is launched in duty free

CAPACITY (MLPA) i
13
CONDENSER TYPE i
Shell and tube
FERMENTATION TIME i
60hrs
GRIST WEIGHT (T) i
9.5
HEAT SOURCE i
Steam, some direct fired
MALT SUPPLIER i
Various
MASH TUN TYPE i
Semi Lauter
NEW-MAKE PHENOL LEVEL i
Less than 5ppm
NEW-MAKE STRENGTH i
70.5%
SPIRIT STILL SHAPE i
Onion, lantern
SPIRIT STILL SIZE (L) i
9,500
STILLS i
32
WAREHOUSING i
Dunnage, racked, palletised
WASH STILL CHARGE (L) i
11,500
WASH STILL SHAPE i
Various
WASHBACK SIZE (L) i
50,000
WASHBACKS i
32
WATER SOURCE i
Robbie Dhu Spring
YEAST TYPE i
Liquid yeast
OWNERS

William Grant & Sons
1903 - present
PREVIOUS OWNERS

Glenfiddich Distillery Co
1896 - 1903
William Grant
1886 - 1896


21 September 2017
Glenfiddich has revealed the third edition in its Experimental Series, a single malt Scotch finished in Canadian icewine casks.

Glenfiddich Winter Storm Glenfiddich Experimental Series
Icy touch: Glenfiddich Winter Storm is the third release in the distillery’s Experimental Series
Glenfiddich Winter Storm is a 21-year-old single malt finished for six months in French oak casks previously containing icewine from Peller Estate in Niagara.

Icewine is a style of sweet wine that’s been produced from grapes that have frozen while still on the vine.

When pressed, the frozen grapes deliver a more concentrated amount of sugar, resulting in a very sweet wine.

Having visited the Peller Estate winery in January 2016, Glenfiddich malt master Brian Kinsman experimented with maturing Scotch whisky in several different icewine casks.

He said: ‘Only the rarer whiskies, those aged for 21 years, could cope with the extra icewine intensity.

‘Having more tannins, extracted from years in oak, these malts brought out a uniquely fresh lychee note instead of being swamped by sweetness.’

Craig McDonald, vice-president of winemaking at Peller Estates, said: ‘We go to extreme lengths to produce our intensely sweet icewine and are always looking for ways to push the boundaries of taste, so I was intrigued to see how it could be used to create a new unexpected whisky.

‘The resulting liquid is a unique combination of the warming soul of whisky and the frozen cold of icewine.’

Glenfiddich Winter Storm, which is bottled at 43% abv, is described as having ‘tropical fruit and underlying wine notes’.

Storm in a bottle: Glenfiddich Winter Storm has spent six months in icewine casks

The expression, which is presented in a white ceramic bottle, will be released globally in two batches from 1 October 2017, and March 2018.

It will be available for around £199 per bottle.

It is the third release from the Speyside distillery’s Experimental Series, which launched in September 2016 with Glenfiddich IPA and Glenfiddich Project XX.

The series is designed to ‘push the boundaries of Scotch whisky’ through an exploration of various factors that affect flavour.
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GLENFIDDICH UNVEILS LUXURY NAS BACCARAT MALT
29 September 2017 by Giles Milton
Glenfiddich is to introduce a luxury range of whiskies in collaboration with Baccarat, as part of its Cask Collection series in duty free.

Glenfiddich Cask Collection Finest Solera
French connection: Glenfiddich Cask Collection Finest Solera comes in a hand-blown Baccarat decanter
The first edition to be unveiled is the new Glenfiddich Cask Collection Finest Solera, a no-age-statement expression that will be available for around £1,950.

The expression was created by Glenfiddich malt master Brian Kinsman, who married whiskies matured in American oak casks for at least two months using Glenfiddich’s solera-vatting process.

The solera process of simultaneously maturing and blending different cask liquids into a consistent flavour is one that has been used most commonly in Sherry production, rum and occasionally whisky – including Glenfiddich’s 15-year-old.  

A 2,000-litre tun was used to hold single malt from 20 casks, with only half of the liquid removed at any time, before being replenished with fresh casks.

With new casks used for refilling the solera tun, Glenfiddich said every batch will differ.

Glenfiddich Cask Collection Finest Solera is presented in a hand numbered and signed 70cl crystal decanter – complete with a copper stopper and neck collar, plus red cartouche made with 24-carat gold – hand-blown by French glassware specialist Baccarat.

Bottled at 48% abv, it is said to have notes of ‘luxurious oak and sweet crème brûlée flavours… with soft spices, raw cane sugar and caramelised fruit’.

The expression, of which only 600 decanters have been created, is available now in exclusively travel retail outlets globally.


DAVID STEWART MBE, BALVENIE

From his humble beginnings as a whisky stocks clerk at William Grant & Sons to his long tenure as Balvenie malt master, David Stewart can look back on a 55-year career, including his exploration of double cask maturation during the 1980s and 1990s. He talks  about his life’s work and recalls some of the fine (and not-so-fine) finishes created along the way.

David Stewart MBE, The Balvenie
Malt master: David Stewart’s DoubleWood 12 Year Old ‘put Balvenie on the map’
               ‘Good appearance. Appears to be the solid type. Would do.’

The year is 1962, and a 17-year-old David Charles Stewart is being interviewed for a job as a whisky stocks clerk at William Grant & Sons. And, while the notes made in that interview may not be the most laudatory assessment of a prospective employee, they somehow fit the man himself – steadfastly humble and modest, despite the many highlights of a remarkable 55-year career that culminated in the award of an MBE last year.

‘I think it was the chief accountant who interviewed me first of all,’ Stewart recalls. ‘I didn’t start off thinking I would ever become a blender. I just started off as a clerk in the whisky stocks team.’

After two years counting casks, Stewart began to become acquainted with their contents. ‘I was lucky in that my boss [Hamish Robertson] was the master blender. Within a couple of years of me working, he started to bring me into the sample room.

‘I just started to nose the whiskies that were coming through. There weren’t that many in those days, but Girvan distillery had just opened in 1964. We had Glenfiddich and Balvenie distilleries; there was [blended Scotch] Grant’s Standfast.

‘Then Glenfiddich started [as a single malt] in 1964. Gradually I was seeing more and learning more and more from [Hamish], and then he left in 1974. I was just left to get on with running the place after 10 years with the whisky.’



Early days: Stewart was present for the ‘dawn’ of single malts during the 1960s

We’ll move onto what was involved in ‘getting on with running the place’ in a moment. But first, consider the timing of Stewart’s entry into Scotch whisky: the birth of Glenfiddich as a single malt and, with it, the creation of a new commercial category at a time when blends were all-powerful. While his initial involvement with it was minimal, the seismic forces which Glenfiddich set in motion were to shape his career.

Stewart acknowledges the significance of this new era of single malt, but plays it down in characteristic fashion. ‘Yes, the [Grant] family took a big risk in bottling Glenfiddich at the start,’ he says. ‘But in the big scheme of things, single malt is still pretty small. I mean, it’s 15% of industry sales – we still rely on blended whiskies like Johnnie Walker, J&B and Grant’s.’

Nonetheless, the journey of single malt – reflecting and punctuating Stewart’s own career – has been long and eventful since that first consignment of Glenfiddich headed south in 1964. It’s a development encapsulated by the evolution of Balvenie, the Speyside single malt for which Stewart remains responsible in his semi-retirement (Brian Kinsman took over his broader company duties in 2009).

‘When Glenfiddich was launched, it was 10 years before Balvenie – Glenfiddich was 1963, 1964, I think,’ recalls Stewart. ‘So not that I was terribly involved at that stage, but I knew about it, I saw samples coming into the sample room.

‘I think it was the family again who, 10 years later, thought: “Well, we’ve got this great whisky at Balvenie.” With Glenfiddich, the single malt market started opening up. Glenfiddich probably had almost 10 years with very little competition.



Revolutionary move: Stewart’s development of double maturation helped shape modern single malts

‘It wasn’t until the 1970s when Macallan came along, The Glenlivet, Glenmorangie and others. At that stage we thought: “Well, let’s bottle Balvenie.” We put it into a triangular bottle because that’s what we were used to very much at Glenfiddich. In 1973, we launched it at eight years old – Glenfiddich was eight as well and generally quite a lot of single malts that were around at that time were eight. It wasn’t a problem.’

How does he remember that whisky? ‘You still see the odd bottle. I tasted it at The Craigellachie Hotel just last week – they’ve got a bottle there. It was very nice, to be fair. It would be from maybe more European oak then than now, because it would be back to the 1960s for the whisky that was in that bottle. So it was quite rich-tasting, was the eight.’

Evolution followed: a move to a long-necked, Cognac-style bottle, a shift to a 10-year-old age statement. Then, in 1993, came a launch that was, in the man’s own assessment, the highlight of Stewart’s career: Balvenie DoubleWood 12 Years Old.

‘That’s the one that I’m probably most proud of, just because that’s what put Balvenie on the map, and that’s really when Balvenie sales started to become what they are today,’ Stewart says.

DoubleWood’s DNA – aged in American oak, then ‘finished’ in Sherry wood – can be traced back a decade to the early 1980s and Stewart’s pioneering work on extra maturation. What is routine and commonplace in whisky today was then revolutionary – but, perhaps even more remarkably, nobody talked about it.

‘No, it wasn’t marketed as a “finish” then, it was just we wanted to create something a bit different [Balvenie Classic] from the Founder’s Reserve,’ admits Stewart. ‘What would happen if we recasked whisky from American oak to European oak? That produced the Classic and the Classic variants.

‘We were delighted because Sherry wood does add richness, spiciness and complexity and colour – and just a bit more flavour to the whisky. We knew that something was going to happen.’



Spirit clash: Experiments with spirit finishes, such as Cognac and Armagnac, did not work

For all DoubleWood’s success – next year marks its 25th anniversary – it’s still sometimes misunderstood, Stewart adds. ‘People think that a lot of the flavour in the DoubleWood is coming from the Sherry, which it’s not really – it’s coming from the wood, because the wood is only two years old.

‘It’s a two-year-old, brand-new, European oak cask that we use every time for DoubleWood. So a lot of that spiciness is wood spiciness and malt spiciness that gets into the whisky, whereas if you look at Madeira and Port [finishes], most of the flavour there is the Madeira, the Port, because the casks are much older.’

DoubleWood, Portwood, Madeira Cask, Caribbean Cask – a pioneering production line of Balvenie ‘finishes’ that was born in that fertile period of experimentation. But if the malt’s history is written by the winners, the losers can be just as educational in their own way.

‘We tried quite a number,’ Stewart recalls. ‘We tried other spirits like brandy, for example, and Cognac and Armagnac, and they didn’t work for us. The two spirits just kind of fought with each other and there was a clash between the two.

‘We tried a number of wines – maybe not always the right wines, and maybe they weren’t always sweet enough. The ones we did try were Californian wines – white and red – because they were easy to get, but they didn’t really work for us. They didn’t really change the whisky all that much.’

Blended away, a cask at a time, into William Grant’s older blends, only the chastening memory of these failed experiments remains.  ‘That’s probably the beauty of our company,’ says Stewart. ‘If it doesn’t work, then we’re not forced to bottle it.’

If there’s a general conclusion to be drawn from this feverish period of innovation, it’s that a relatively rich malt such as Balvenie needs something extra – sweetness, fortification – in a wine cask. ‘That could be,’ Stewart agrees. ‘We’ve got one or two in our warehouse – a Sauternes or Barsac, or a Marsala – to try and see if they might give us something for the future.’



Peat week: Stewart has overseen the release of a new smoky Balvenie bottling

From past and future, back to the present. The reason we’re talking in the first place is the launch of Balvenie Peat Week, the second of two peated variants launched by the distillery this year.

First discussed as long ago as 2001, the whisky is the result of an annual week of peated runs through the distillery, beginning in 2002. ‘We use peat in our bottlings at Balvenie anyway, but it doesn’t show through particularly in any of the expressions,’ says Stewart.

‘At first, we didn’t really know what we were going to do with it, we just thought it was good to have it… We’ve not used it all, we’ve held stock back, so we might decide to do a 17, or a 21. And I know someone was joking about having a 50-year-old…’

But anyone expecting a Speyside take on a super-peated Islay malt will be confounded. ‘It was peated to 30ppm [phenol parts per million], but that’s the barley itself, and when it translates into the bottle, it’s only 5-6ppm,’ points out Stewart.

‘We didn’t want to dominate the Balvenie style. We wanted it still to be very much Balvenie, but to have this little bit of smokiness. And it’s Speyside peat, it’s from Aberdeenshire, so it’s quite different from the Islay peat. That’s more kind of medicinal, but this is a softer kind of smokiness – more in the background.’




Stewart also resists suggestions that Peat Week is some kind of gimmick that risks compromising distillery character. ‘Balvenie has been peated – we used peated malt back in the 1930s and 1940s and I’ve seen some of that whisky in my time with the company,’ he points out. ‘The style would be quite different moving back – it would be quite smoky.’

What’s in the glass reflects Stewart’s carefully chosen words and, in a deeper sense, the character of the man as well. Peat not as a dominant force, but as a seasoning, happy to play an accompanying role and to allow the character of the distillate to shine through.

Substance over style, continuity of character above short-term show. Every master blender has his or her own unique way of doing things but, in the end, it’s the whisky they produce that creates their legacy, and that speaks most loudly to the world.

WILLIAM GRANT

The creator of Scotch whisky’s biggest family-owned business was a tenacious, no-nonsense individual who walked 12 miles to buy the equipment for his first distillery, Glenfiddich. Gavin D Smith tells his story.

William Grant at Mortlach, 1896
The beginning: William Grant (extreme left) pictured at Mortlach distillery in 1886, the year he left to establish Glenfiddich
The story of William Grant may be seen as a classic Victorian rags-to-riches tale, fuelled by a shrewd business brain, self-sacrifice and self-confidence, with a dash of good luck thrown in. However, the more one discovers about the driven, determined nature of Grant, the more it seems he would have found a way to succeed at any point in history.

William Grant was born in the village of Dufftown in Banffshire in 1839. What is now considered the ‘malt whisky capital’ of Scotland then boasted just one distillery, Mortlach, which was to play its part in the rise of William Grant from cobbler to whisky magnate.

His parents were William and Elizabeth, aged 55 and 26 respectively when he was born and, at the age of seven, William began to earn his keep by herding cattle. His education, at Mortlach School, was confined to the winter months, when the cattle were brought close to the farm for shelter.

On leaving school, William was apprenticed to a Dufftown shoemaker, and he married local girl Elizabeth Duncan in 1859. A year later, John, the first of their 11 children, was born (although two died in infancy).

In 1863, Grant decided to leave his shoemaking trade and became clerk of the Tiniver Lime Works at Crachie, on the outskirts of Dufftown. However, a quarrel between the two owners of the works saw Grant’s loyalties divided, and he decided to seek alternative employment again, becoming clerk at Mortlach distillery in September 1866.

He was soon carrying out the role of unofficial manager at Mortlach, and owner George Cowie recognised his contribution by formally appointing him to that position.

Grant joined the local Volunteer Movement, and it was typical of his tenacity, self-belief and organisational ability that he rose through the ranks to be commissioned, ultimately becoming a Major – the highest rank achievable by a non-professional soldier in peace time.

He came close to setting up his own lime business, before deciding to establish himself as a distiller in his own right. This was an extremely ambitious idea for a man with a salary of less than £100 a year and young children for whom to provide, but the family scrimped and saved every penny possible.

Grant’s dream of creating his own distillery became a reality when, early in 1886, he heard that the old distilling plant at Cardow (now Cardhu) distillery was to be sold off. He walked the dozen miles to Cardow in order to make an offer, and was able to acquire everything for the bargain price of £119 19s 10d.

He already knew exactly where he wanted to build his distillery – a field just north of Dufftown, through which a burn ran to its nearby confluence with the River Fiddich.

This field was called Glenfiddich, from the Gaelic for ‘valley of the deer’, and Grant was able to obtain a lease for the land, subsequently resigning from his post at Mortlach in September 1886.

Glenfiddich distillery

Field of dreams: William Grant's location of Glenfiddich distillery was a deliberate choice

The Glenfiddich foundation stone was laid in the late autumn of 1886 and, along with William himself, the Grant family workforce for the Glenfiddich project consisted of his sons William (23), James (21), Alexander, or Alec (19), George (17) and Charles (14).

Where possible, stones from the bed of the River Fiddich were used, but for larger structures, such as the warehouse and malt barn, stone was purchased from the local quarry. The construction of these larger buildings was supervised by a professional mason, with labouring duties undertaken by Grant’s sons.

Work went on through the summer of 1887, and the first spirit flowed on Christmas Day of that year, with Grant’s sons undertaking many of the whisky-making duties. The total cost of creating Glenfiddich distillery and getting to the point where spirit was flowing amounted to slightly in excess of £800, a remarkably modest sum, even for the time.

Glenfiddich soon proved a great success, with its ‘make’ being widely praised and sought-after by blenders. Accordingly, the Grant family decided to create a second distillery on land adjacent to Glenfiddich during 1892/93, when the Scotch whisky boom was at its height. Called Balvenie, it was built around the uninhabited mansion of Balvenie New House, formerly one of the residences of the Duke of Fife.

Staff at Glenfiddich, 1896

Early days: staff at the Glenfiddich distillery in 1896. By this time, Grant had also set up Balvenie nearby

The Grants now owned two distilleries producing malt whisky, but it was the collapse of their largest customer, the Leith blending firm of Pattisons Ltd, in December 1898 that led William and his family to begin blending in their own right, going on to establish valuable export markets in many countries.

Various names were given to Grants’ early blends, but the one that proved most successful was Stand Fast, which was inspired by the slogan of Clan Grant – ‘Stand fast Craigellachie!’ The name remained in use until the 1980s, when it was replaced by Grant’s Family Reserve.

By the time William Grant died on 5 January 1923, aged 83, the company he had established was a profitable and secure enterprise. Grant had last chaired a directors’ meeting at Glenfiddich in 1913, and had been confined to his bed for a decade. He had been getting progressively weaker during the months prior to his death, though the indomitable spirit that had achieved so much remained intact almost to the end.

Shortly before his death, his son John wrote in his diary:

‘...had a long talk to my father re new wash-still charger, and new malt barn at Balvenie; Glenfiddich malt mill etc.’

John Grant then added in italics:

            ‘...he warned me to go on at once and not delay repairs.’

William Grant was buried in Mortlach Churchyard, just across the River Dullan from the former family home at Hardhaugh, and opposite the grave of his father.

Son John took over as company chairman, and the spirit of independence, determination and innovation that William had so cherished remains intact to this day.

William Grant & Sons Ltd is the largest independent, family-owned operation in the Scotch whisky industry, with many diversified international drinks interests. Grant's Family Reserve is now the fourth best-selling blended Scotch globally, while Glenfiddich is the second biggest single malt brand in the world.


BRIAN KINSMAN,

There was never a doubt in Brian Kinsman’s mind that he’d pursue a career in science: he just expected to be in dentistry, not whisky. The Glenfiddich malt master and William Grant & Sons master blender tells  how his chemistry background makes his job easier – and what on earth SPPM means.

Brian Kinsman, Glenfiddich malt master
Science meets nature: Brian Kinsman marries a scientific approach to whisky to a natural flair for sensory evaluation
It’s been six years since Brian Kinsman inherited the roles of malt master at Glenfiddich and master blender at William Grant & Sons, yet the comparisons between himself and his predecessor, David Stewart, persist.

Perhaps it’s down to the remarkable legacy left by Stewart, or that the fate of one of the world’s best-selling single malt whiskies has passed into Kinsman’s hands. For some, Stewart represents one of the last of a dying breed of master distillers – craftsmen who started at the bottom of the ladder as wee youngsters, learning their trade as apprentice coopers or mashmen over decades as they worked their way up.

Stewart’s dedication to a life in Scotch whisky with William Grant – he joined the group as a 17-year-old whisky stocks clerk in 1962 and, at the age of 72, is still malt master of Balvenie – earned him an MBE earlier this year.

Kinsman, however, represents a new generation of distillers with scientific backgrounds who, armed with degrees and PhDs, are challenging the industry’s approach to Scotch whisky innovation.

‘Almost all the companies’ blenders of my generation have got chemistry backgrounds, while most of David’s didn’t,’ he says. ‘Our routes of working through the company are almost the same, as I started as a chemist doing very routine work too, but there’s a much closer link between the labs and blending side now.’

The advantage of having lab experience, he claims, is the knowledge of almost every part of the business – day-to-day analysis from the distillery, complaints from the marketplace, new product development and so on. ‘It would be hard to come into this area now and not have any experience with the chemistry side,’ he adds. ‘Even the industry knowledge has moved on so much.’

It’s the quiet season in Dufftown, but a beautiful spring morning when we meet at Glenfiddich’s Malt Barn. Kinsman, normally based in Glasgow, is in town for an annual workshop with the group’s global brand ambassadors. The idea is that he fills them in on new developments within the portfolio and they, in turn, repeat them to their respective markets so he doesn’t have to.

‘I don’t want to travel the world; I want to be here making the product,’ he says. Considering his remit, it’s not difficult to understand why Kinsman is happy hunkering down in his lab. As well as overseeing quality control for Glenfiddich and Grant’s, he is responsible for the blending operation of the entire group, including Tullamore DEW, Kininvie, Monkey Shoulder and its most recent portfolio addition, Ailsa Bay.



Busy man: As a blender, Kinsman can sometimes nose up to 200 whisky samples every day

The Lowlands distillery was built in 2007 on the site of the Girvan grain plant, but has only now released its first bottling – a no-age-statement release embodying more than one innovation.

In essence, Ailsa Bay is Kinsman’s own experimental distillery, where he plays around with peating levels – the phenol content of which is always measured in the spirit, not necessarily the barley – cut points, stainless steel condensers and micro-maturation, using 50-litre Baby Bourbon casks sourced from Tuthilltown Spirits in New York.

Might we see some of these casks used to mature Glenfiddich and Balvenie in the future? ‘Yeah, you’ve got to try stuff,’ Kinsman confirms. ‘We have a huge number of things we try that don’t go anywhere, and once or twice they end up being a product.’

He may support experimentation, but Kinsman is strict about what ends up in the public domain. ‘Innovation just to throw out another product with another flavour is not a good thing,’ he says. ‘There has to be a good story to tell and rationale. The acid test for me is if I’m happy to stand up and speak about it at a press launch. If not, we wouldn’t do it.’

One ‘innovation’ he is willing to speak about is the quantification of SPPM (sweet parts per million), a measurement of flavour compounds typically perceived as being sweet, such as vanillin. It’s a tool William Grant’s lab team have used to quantify sweetness for some time, but Ailsa Bay is the first example of it being printed on a bottle as a flavour signifier.

Kinsman admits he didn’t initially consider the team’s use of SPPM particularly significant as ‘it’s just something we do’. Does he think consumers are going to be as interested in a whisky’s SPPM as they would in its PPM (phenol parts per million)?

‘I have no idea,’ he shrugs. ‘For the massive enthusiasts who are interested in those numbers it will resonate a bit, but to be honest if they don’t like it or aren’t interested it almost doesn’t matter – it’s just a number.’



Tools of the trade: Aside from his nose, Kinsman claims his most important aid is logic, particularly when so many samples are involved

From a young age, Kinsman knew science would be his life. ‘I always liked science, and it turned out I was able to get good results without trying too hard, and that was quite important to me,’ he smiles. He studied chemistry at the University of St Andrews, and began a PhD while working as a development chemist with a dentistry company.

‘I looked at new materials for tooth fillings, impression materials, and crown and bridge work, which was actually quite interesting from a chemist perspective,’ he says earnestly. But, disillusioned with dentistry, he dropped out of his PhD and found a job as a chemist with William Grant, despite having ‘no deep burning desire to get into whisky’, as he admits. ‘I could see it was a good industry to be in with size, scale and opportunities. Though I realised I had made a good move within about three hours of starting.’

It may not have been his first choice of career, but as a Scotsman Kinsman was no stranger to whisky. ‘It was piping, you see, that’s the problem. It leads you astray.’

Turns out that this dark horse was a junior World Pipeband Champion with the Craigmount High School bagpipe band in 1990, and later played for the legendary Drambuie band. ‘It’s come full circle now because we now do Drambuie here,’ he says fondly.

Although he’s stopped playing now, Kinsman still prizes his first set of bagpipes, bought with the proceeds from busking on the streets of Edinburgh when he was just 17. ‘I was a bit of a wimp and only busked in the summer with a borrowed set of pipes. It was great; I was getting paid to practise basically. You could do all right from it – though I better not say for tax purposes,’ he grins.

The role of a whisky chemist is never something brand teams communicate to consumers, so what does one do? ‘My original job involved taking samples of new-make spirit every day from all the stills, doing the chemical analysis on it, finding out what congeners are in there, and also doing sensory analysis.’

It turned out Kinsman was pretty good at nosing samples, and he was soon invited to join the William Grant & Sons sensory panel. From there, he was approached to become Stewart’s apprentice.



On tour: The Drambuie Kirkliston Pipe Band in California, 1997. While touring, Kinsman (front, far right), discovered a taste for whisky

The ability to understand the chemistry behind the whisky is something Kinsman appreciates when he spots something he’s created on the shelf. ‘You know all the little chinks of what we’ve done to make it taste the way it tastes,’ he explains. However, he admits that once a new creation leaves the lab, he feels a sense of detachment.

‘I think of whisky in the lab as quite analytical and almost quite deep – you’re into all those little nuances and details so much that you don’t enjoy it as a product. It’s actually quite nice to drink whisky as a consumer and just enjoy it, and that’s when you see it in a slightly different light.’

Kinsman has been part of the whisky fabric for 20 years now and, along with the rest of his colleagues, has seen interest in Scotch increase rapidly. With that increase, though, he says the industry must do a better job of ensuring consumers, particularly connoisseurs, are educated properly.

‘We get to know the connoisseurs, which is great, but underneath that there’s a massive void of knowledge about the product,’ he says. ‘It never fails to amaze me that you can do some tastings with people who should know a lot about whisky, and actually find some pretty glaring mistruths or misunderstandings. The idea is those connoisseurs act as ambassadors themselves, but there’s a lot of work to be done on the story-telling.’

It’s this miscommunication that concerns Kinsman about any move to legalise transparency in Scotch – allowing the publication of which casks go into a vatting. ‘I like the idea, but I worry about the lack of knowledge. Some people would absolutely get it, but if you make it available to a wide consumer base that doesn’t, then suddenly it doesn’t make sense. I also slightly worry that we will over-communicate whisky and make it too transparent, whereby you lose some of the richness of whisky itself.’

Rather poignantly, at this point one of the visitor centre supervisors lights a fire in the hearth next to where we’re sat. The distillery is about to welcome its first visitors of the day, but before Kinsman departs I want to know – will he still be working at Glenfiddich when he’s 72?

He laughs. ‘I don’t think I’ll ever catch up with David, and I don’t think I want to. I hope I’ll retire long before I get to that point, though you never know. It’s a great job and very interesting, but I’d like to do something else eventually, whatever that may be.’

I have a feeling those bagpipes may come in handy again one day.

Brian Kinsman on...

His most vibrant whisky memory:
'A party we held for David Stewart’s 50th year in the industry in the Balvenie maltings. All sorts of people from across the industry, his past and his family were there, as were the Grant-Gordon family. It was such a nice night, but it was over in a flash. It reminded me of the friendly part of the industry, which is most of it, because all the blenders from all the companies were there.'

The most difficult aspect of being a blender:
'Getting caught up in thinking about the pressure too much. Ultimately you’re making the final call on if a liquid is right or wrong, and these brands are worth an awful lot of money, so I can’t think about it. You concentrate on doing your bit of the job. If you step back and think of the enormity of the value of the brand, then that could become a little bit overwhelming.'

NAS:
'I’m a supporter of NAS so long as they’re done properly and so long as you lead with flavour and you have a rationale. I do like the fact you can experiment in a way you can’t with age statements. You can get a genuine vibrancy from a young whisky that you can overlay on top of something that has a depth you wouldn’t otherwise get from a young whisky. You can come up with genuinely new flavours and, as long as it’s done for that reason, I’m quite supportive of it.'

Coping with nosing overload:
'As long as you do it in flights, and rarely more than 20-30 at a time, and as long as you take a break and do something else, it’s fine. Some people say the morning is better for nosing, but needs must and I have to do it in the afternoon too because I can’t fit everything into the morning. So long as you have a sensible approach to it, you can still be nosing by 6pm at night and it’s not a problem.'
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