In times of non-aged statements appearing on the market more frequently than me being in the wife’s bad books and aged statements regularly taking a step back, it takes a quality product across all departments to squeeze past other new whiskies and become established.
So Scotch whisky, one of the most rigorously regulated alcoholic drinks in the world, how do you push the boundaries without breaking a few rules & regulations? I’m not sure myself but Glenfiddich found the answer and produced two new products in an experimental series. #1 IPA Experiment & #2 Project XX (Project Twenty).
Glenfiddich #1 IPA Experiment
An IPA (India Pale Ale) cask-finished NSA single malt, finished for 3 months in casks from Speyside Craft Brewery, a hop, skip & a jump up the road from the Glenfiddich distillery.
I have never tried any of Speyside Craft Brewery ales, but by all accounts they’re full of fruity flavours which in turn should lend it’s self to the fruit characteristic’s of Glenfiddich.
Not the first whisky to team up with a brewery, we’ve already had Jameson team up with Cork’s Franciscan Well brewery & Teeling Whiskey Company partner with Galway Bay Brewery.
So how does it hold up?
Nose: Slight hops, lemon, barley sugar, green or red apple, nutmeg & a sprinkle of soft cinnamon.
Palate: Slight oily texture, rich vanilla toffee and lemon zest surrounded by an oaky spice, milk chocolate, subtle hints of floral notes & hops.
Finish: A lingering sweetness and hints towards the hops.
Comments: A very easy, delightful & refreshing whisky to drink. Don’t be put off by the IPA label, it’s not an ale flavoured whisky. The IPA casks add subtle notes unlike a sherry cask would add sherry notes. It tastes like it has youth on its side but not too youthful for the price of £45 which puts it in the playing field alongside The Balvenie – 14yo Caribbean Cask.
Everyone loves a diagram so here is one for the IPA Experiment…
Glenfiddich #2 Project XX
20 brand ambassador of Glenfiddich picked a number of casks each, they then narrowed it down to 20 different casks altogether and handed them over to Brian Kinsman, Master Blender to work his blending magic to create the final product.
Project XX seems to be the one everyone wants to get their hands on but has proved elusive for most. It took me almost 6 months to track my bottle down, and I’m now on the hunt for another.
There is no doubt about it at all, the packaging & bottle looking absolutely outstanding.
Nose: Barley sugar, dry cinnamon plus notes of nutmeg. Hints of dried pine needles, & orange zest. (I was told to add water during another tasting as it adds in layers of fruity toffee, which I just about picked up on).
Palate: Caramel chocolate (Cadbury’s), pepper (I think), orange peel, chocolate truffles and hazelnuts follow-up at the end.
Finish: Dry, soft spice to start, hints of biscuits (shortbread) building with butter and more spice.
Comments: A barrel full of flavours which are exceptionally blended. High fives to all the 20 Glenfiddich brand ambassadors & Master Blender, Brian Kinsman. Very much worth the £50 RRP.
Don’t say I don’t spoil you, heres another diagram!
Well what else do I think….
The hype behind them has fairly helped, thanks to some very sexy bottle designs. If I was to shop with my eyes it’s safe to say these would be snapped up right away. But that’s not how it done. Both the IPA Experiment & Project XX are without a doubt two decent whiskies, for me though, the Project XX wins hands down between the two. It’s fantastic to see a whisky company come up with two fairly new & exciting ideas and then to put them into production.
I’m already looking forward to the next instalment in the Experimental Series from Glenfiddich.
Until next time folks, keep safe & keep drinking whisk(e)y.
Over & out.
Jamie. Whiskey JAC.