Founded in Dufftown, Scotland, by innovator William Grant, Glenfiddich first ran from the stills on Christmas Day in 1887, and this single malt has been associated with festive occasions ever since. It was in similarly celebratory fashion that the brand recently launched three new whiskies under the Glenfiddich Grand Series, which aims to challenge the status quo and uplift ordinary moments. In a formal setting befitting the whisky label’s distinguished reputation, the three new stars of Glenfiddich’s arsenal were revealed to an intimate coterie of guests who more than enjoyed the evening’s food, drink and convivial merriment.
“At Glenfiddich, we believe that grand occasions deserve grand celebrations. Combining a time-honoured vision with the maverick spirit and determination to blaze new trails, the Glenfiddich Grand Series is a celebration of the extraordinary,” says Southeast Asia brand ambassador for Glenfiddich Brett Bayly. “From unexpected cask finishes of Caribbean rum to French cuvée and cognac casks, the Grand Series showcases our ability to experiment with aged liquid and intriguing finishes — bringing together luxury and traditional worlds in an unexpected marriage and elevating the ordinary. Occasions to offer a true taste of opulence.”
The event space at KEN Gallery, located in leafy upmarket Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur, was completely transformed for the occasion. While separate décor areas dedicated to each of the three new whiskies simply begged to be photographed, the more single-minded guests made their way to a large bar that anchored one part of the space. “Glenfiddich 18 is a great way to start the evening,” someone was overheard saying, and we wholeheartedly agreed. It was over dinner that we were able to sample the new liquids, paired with a meal designed by chef Lroy Lim of Willow Kuala Lumpur. But it must be said that the food, as good as it was, still played second fiddle to the drinks that night.
We began with the Gran Reserva, which transforms the uncommon into the unequalled. Mellowed for 21 years in meticulously selected American and European oak casks and finished for six months in Caribbean rum casks, this is flavourful and powerful dram. Notes of buttered rum, banana and prune dance from the glass and on the palate along with flavours of fig, toffee, brown spices, ginger and molasses. The finish is long and spicy, replaying the ginger and brown spice notes. Encased in a vibrant, deep amber bottle and reminiscent of the warm hues of beach sunsets complete with Caribbean-inspired illustrations, the Gran Reserva is a blend of tradition and rebellion.
Served with pan-seared Hokkaido Scallop alongside a finishing perfume of sansho pepper oil and apple, the Grand Cru is as far from ordinary as whiskies come. Matured for 23 years in hand-selected oak casks, the exceptional liquid is finished in rare French cuvée casks for six months — the first and only Glenfiddich expression to be completed in such a manner. Corked in a bottle of black glass embellished with gold foil, its lavish exterior offers hints of the indulgence that awaits. A true testament of craftsmanship, this masterpiece of whisky-making exudes elegance on the nose while bringing sophisticated richness to the palate; an impeccable accessory for any social event of the season.
The crowning glory of any occasion and the epitome of true opulence is the Grande Couronne, aptly served alongside the main dish for the night: Duck à l’Orange with a modern twist, presented on a gold-rimmed glass stage. Its very name, meaning crown in French, seals the promise of the pleasure to come. This rich and regal whisky is aged for 26 years before receiving an extended finish of up to two years in rare French cognac casks, painstakingly sourced in limited quantities.
This adds extra lavish layers of sweet oak and velvety aromas of café crème, brown sugar and soft spices. The pièce de résistance of the Glenfiddich Grand Series, the Grande Couronne bottle is secured with a 26-sided gold closure and adorned with gold filigree, with each bottle holding the key to unparalleled magnificence, nestled in beautiful packaging embellished with fresco artwork.
The Grand Cru made a re-emergence as a sweet treat to end the night — a lovely pairing indeed with a chocolate and comice pear dessert with hints of indigenous gula apong and oolong tea, served with table side service of liquid nitrogen snow. More subtle flavours of the whisky emerged in this pairing — rich vanilla, sweet brioche, sandalwood, pear sorbet and white grape.
Each imbued with intriguing and indulgent finishes, the Gran Reserva, Grand Cru and Grande Couronne are a beautifully disruptive series of single malts that ooze opulence and are designed to elevate occasions and celebratory moments in a whole new way. An unexpected marriage of luxury and tradition, the Grand Series promises pleasure with every sip, ideal to pair with a good meal or simply to be enjoyed on its own.
This article first appeared on July 11, 2022 in The Edge Malaysia.