Why Glenfiddich is giving Scotch the sparkling wine treatment with Grand Cru whisky

William Grant & Sons-owned whisky label Glenfiddich has unveiled a new whisky aged in French cuvée casks.

Called Glenfiddich Grand Cru, the spirit has been matured for 23 years and finished in rare French cuvée oak casks, which the brand said will “create a true taste of luxury to celebrate with others.”

It is the only Glenfiddich single malt to undergo maturation in cuvée casks.

The new release is the latest innovation the Speyside distiller has produced to elevate its offering and attract a new audience to Scotch whisky.

The Grand Cru has aromas of “apple blossom, bread and candied lemon”, according to William Grant & Sons, and on the palate, it has flavours of “vanilla oak, sweet brioche, sandalwood, pear sorbet and white grape”.

The whisky label first began experimenting with alternative barrels and cross-pollination in 2016, launching an Experimental Series featuring Scotch whisky aged in beer barrels (Glenfiddich IPA), and a large collection of “unusual” barrels (Glenfiddich XX).

Last year, the brand extended its Experimental Series with the launch of Fire & Cane, a single malt finished in rum casks.

Speaking to the drinks business before the launch, William Grant & Sons’ innovation marketing manager, James O’Connor, said that these kinds of launches have helped to rapidly scale up the value of the Glenfiddich brand.

“We’re particularly proud of Glenfiddich’s development over the past 5 years,” he said, “as it continues to lead the category forward and recruit new drinkers into single malt.”

O’Connor said Glenfiddich’s value growth over the past 5 years has been double that of the single malt whisky category, “with innovations like the Experimental Series accelerating growth even further.”

The spirit brand experienced a double-digit rise in sales between 2017 and 2018, up 10.3% to 1.4 million cases.

Breaking category conventions, Glenfiddich malt master, Brian Kinsman, said this new collaboration was “an exciting opportunity to create a spirit that further elevated our unique Glenfiddich style.

He said the  influence from the oak of the French cuvée casks “added an extra layer of complexity thanks to the liquid they once held.

“Marrying the best of both worlds, the final liquid presents an exceptional finesse and is a special tribute to each individual cuvée cask the malts were finished in.”

Bottled at 40% ABV, the whisky will be initially sold in Harrods as an exclusive retailer for two weeks, and available on the Glenfiddich website, before being rolled out to select retailers from 18 September, with an RRP of £220 per 70cl.

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