Glenfiddich is all about experimentation these days. The family-owned distillery that single-handedly launched the category of whisky known as ‘single malt’ is far from the traditional brand one would expect it to be. With its core lineup of age-stated expressions enjoyed in virtually every bar around the world, Glenfiddich has rightfully earned the title of “best selling single malt in the world’. But while many brands would simply find contentment with this level of success, Glenfiddich seems set on, well, having fun with it.
Last year the distillery launched a new lineup called the Experimental Series alongside a massive outdoor festival called ‘Festival Experiment’, a gathering of hundreds of Glenfiddich fans who came together for an epic weekend in the middle of a forest on the distillery grounds.
As for the whisky itself, the Experimental Series began with 01, a single malt finished in crisp and hoppy IPA casks. Then came 02 dubbed “Project XX”, a bold and flavorful blend of 20 casks selected by the distillery’s 20 brand ambassadors. 03, named ‘Winter Storm’ was a 21-year-old single malt finished in ice wine casks. While all three of these whiskies differed in age, construct and price, they shared one commonality: nothing like it had ever been created before.
And so here we are with the brand new Experimental Series 04 ‘Fire & Cane’. This, my friends, is unlike anything Glenfiddich has ever bottled. Fire & Cane is a lightly peated Glenfiddich that has been finished in Caribbean rum casks. The nose presents a wonderful entanglement of tropical fruits and cold ash. Neither component, the sweetness and the smoke, take away from one another. Everything is in perfect balance. The palate is fresh and fruity at the start before making way for a wave of cracked pepper and smoke. The experience is about as unique as any and for $50 a bottle, as much fun as I’ve ever had with introductory single malt.