A single malt is not one single thing, unless it’s a single cask, single malt whisky is just a bottle which comes from the same distillery so you’ll get a mixture of different casks and ages and there’s your single malt.
Some whiskies will only have a few casks, some dozens, and it takes time and patience and a genuine skill, it’s therefore often quite depressing to know that loads of whisky is utter garbage because there must be a moment when the money people say “fuck it, knock this out” and all the hard work goes out the window, still, I digress.
So that’s a Single Malt, and we get to taste the finished products.
And the other night I got to try something very few people actually do and taste all the parts of a Single Malt as well as being one of the first people in Scotland to try the new Fire and Cane Single Malt from Glenfiddich and I’d like to thank Mark Thomson, Jen Joyes and William Grant for inviting me to this event.
This isn’t a strict review of anything let alone the Fire and Cane, it’s only just out here and I’ll be buying a couple of bottles over the next week and I’ll be reviewing before Christmas, so don’t worry. This though is a look at individual parts and how they worked as whiskies considering none of these liquids were destined for bottling alone.
Everything here was cask strength by the way, apart from the Fire and Cane itself which is whittled down to 43% so we have water too.
Starting off we had a lively Glenfiddich from a traditional stand point but at a whopping 63.1%. First off after an initial nosing the power just overwhelmed me, it’s rare for me to try anything over 50% and not get that sensation so I watered it down. After ten minutes this softened to reveal a high volume Glenfiddich, apples and pears, heavy oak influence, it’s rough around the edges, it’s reasonably young too, a white pepper aroma hits me, something floral, the palate is a punchy experience too. Huge creamy mouthful, crushed black pepper and some blackcurrant jam.
An interesting start to the evening for sure, the only notes I took down were some texts I sent to myself so I probably missed some, reminds me of the old Distillers Edition but perhaps a little less complete which you’d expect.
Next up was something almost no one else will have tried before and it blew my mind. A peated Glenfiddich.
Again, this was cask strength a savage 68.6% which is ridiculous, but perhaps here we have a rare example, for me anyway, of a high strength whisky which can be enjoyed neat, or as near to neat as possible. With water this is extraordinary, it reminds me of a lighter Highland Park or Ardmore, a floral, heather honey sort of peat, it’s magic, it has just enough, with water, of Glenfiddich notes to remind you where this is from, boiled apple sweets and fresh decent quality casks. This would make an outstanding solo release, maybe another couple of years as I’d say this is reasonably young, maybe eight to ten years old, and taken to 50%, this would fly off the shelves, I doubt it’ll ever happen, but one can dream.
Right then, the third pour of the evening, so far we’ve had a couple of elements to the experiment and now, this, a rum.
This undisclosed rum has been taken out of it barrel so the whisky can sit for a few months, it’s described as “Latin Style” all very cloak and dagger, no one knows where the rest of the rum ended up, some say it was used to water the grass of the field where Glenfiddich hold their pagan “festivals”, apparently the rum helped cleanse the area, so I’m told.
There isn’t much point in me looking too hard here, I thought it was lightly smoky, a deep treacle feel, a little ginger and some orange rind, those were my unhinged slightly tipsy notes and I’m sticking to them.
Oh and it was bottled at 58.9% and really didn’t need water which might have been because I was already more well oiled that I normally am.
Then of course we attack the Fire and Cane itself, but more of that over at the review post, no point in reviewing here.
This wasn’t a room full of guys with beards, beer bellies and blazers all gently sipping whisky and spitting into spittoons and coming up with scores, this was a relaxed night for friends, food and hidden within some deep and complex whiskies which were such a joy to experience.
Thanks to the Scotsman hotel, the Glenfiddich suite and the team who put this together, it was a cracking night and great to catch up with some old chums and meet some new and interesting peoples.