With my recent trip to Orkney, flying is the best option, as from Edinburgh Flybe only takes around an hour to land in Kirkwall. Whereas the A9 north is never a timid journey and I've rarely met anyone who has had a pleasant experience with the subsequent ferry crossing. A couple I met on Orkney had driven the length of the country, only to be rewarded with a 6 hour crossing in stormy waters.
Car hire is very reasonable in Orkney and unlocks the islands to those fortunate enough to head north over some bland, foreign, sun-kissed destination. Going via the airport also brings its advantages in the form of travel exclusives to the whisky enthusiast. Needless to say a rummage through the Duty Free establishment took up most of my time before I settled on the Glenfiddich 125th Anniversary Edition.
The packaging brings back memories of the Glenfiddich Snow Phoenix release with the oversized metal box, harbouring some interesting inclusions. Now, Glenfiddich do like so many distilleries, release travel exclusives into what is a growing market; yet their releases are worthwhile in many respects. Only recently I had picked up the Millennium Edition and this was nowhere to be seen on the shelves. This release obviously is to celebrate the 125th Anniversary of the first spirit run from the Glenfiddich stills back on Christmas Day 1887.
The box opens out revealing an informative insert (behind the bottle in the lead picture) and on the right hand side wrapped and sealed in tissue paper is the bottle itself, copper-topped cork and a scroll, which I haven't opened. The aim of the project for the master blender Brian Kinsman was to recreate a Speyside malt from the Victorian era. What this made more interesting is this meant a peated expression and Glenfiddich is more known from it's silky smooth, vanilla essence malts.
My own initial impression was to avoid yet another Glenfiddich distillery exclusive however I then asked to taste the release, and asked for another sample just to make sure. If you lined up a series of malts this is probably the last I'd pick out as being from Glenfiddich - it is just so uncharacteristic from what I associate the distillery is all about today. As a peated malt it retains the Glenfiddich smooth, velvety quality but a new layer of depth of earthiness. Yes, I was taken aback and had to make the purchase. Sadly, 2 samples doesn't constitute enough for a Taste review but if you do have the chance to even taste this malt then do so. My only minor criticism is that it is bottled at 43% when 46% would have been more appreciated. Credit where it is due as with the use of vatting and European oak casks for the peated spirit, the master blender has worked wonders.
At £70.99 I do think this is reasonably priced for something truly different and a high quality malt; a commendable release from Glenfiddich.
Age: we know varying ages but no specifics
Limited Edition of: Unknown but would expect similar to Snow Phoenix so 60,000
Casks: American ex-bourbon, Spanish ex-Sherry butts, European oak casks
Additional: vatting of peated and unpeated Glenfiddich.
Labels: 125th anniversary, glenfiddich, limited edition, review, whisky