Glenfiddich Malt Master Brian Kinsman visited Australia for the very first time last week and hosted an intimate tasting of the single malt whisky over lunch at Café Sydney.
Café Sydney private dining room
Established in 1887, Glenfiddich means ‘Valley of the Deer’ in Gaelic and it is one of the few single malt distilleries to remain entirely family owned. Kinsman is the sixth Malt Master in Glenfiddich’s 125 year history and speaking against the backdrop of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, he explained his role in ensuring consistency of the whisky pre-maturation.
The theme of fruit runs through the Glenfiddich range, intensifying with age, and the tasting that followed was a journey through four expressions of the single malt, followed by two special drams after the meal.
Glenfiddich Dram of Discovery
The Glenfiddich 12 yo Signature (40% ABV) is matured for a minimum of 12 years in ex American and Spanish oak casks. The single malt exhibits a fruitiness with floral notes as well as oak and fruit. Described as having a soft taste, it has the freshness of cut grass, pear and fruit as well as soft vanilla from the bourbon with a sherry cask mouthfeel.
Glenfiddich 18 yo retains a fresh fruity character which has intensified into a richer deeper expression. The extra six years concentrate the flavours of the 12 yo yielding more cooked fruit and baked apples with a bigger mouthfeel.
Glenfiddich Rich Oak, signed by Brian Kinsman
Launched in 2010, the Glenfiddich 14 yo Rich Oak (40% ABV) is finished for up to 12 weeks in virgin American oak casks after a 14 year maturation, a process that acts to intensify the flavour of the wood. Rich in vanilla, toffee and acidity, the whisky has an oily mouthfeel with some tannin that give it a lingering finish.
Glenfiddich 15 yo Solera (40% ABV)wasthe inspiration for the 14 yo Rich Oak expression. The single malt is matured in American bourbon, Portuguese sherry and virgin oak then put together in a Solera vat which is never emptied. The resulting whisky is complex and intense, silky smooth, spicy and gingery with notes of sherry, honey and marzipan.
Glenfiddich 30 yo
Known as the grandfather of the range, the Glenfiddich 30 yo (43% ABV) is matured in refill and oak and sherry casks and has a distinct dried fruit and Christmas cake character with an intensity of fruit – a luxurious dram that goes well with dark chocolate.
And to finish, guests were treated to a special tasting of a cask strength Glenfiddich 37 yo Masters Select. The whisky had spent 30 years in bourbon casks then in sherry casks to get the balance of sweetness and aroma from the American oak. Deep in colour, with a 50% ABV, it has caramel on the nose, stewed fruit and spice. On the palate, it has the classic Glenfiddich sweetness followed by the sherry characteristics – a delicious whisky to sip in good company.
The Glenfiddich tasting included lunch at Café Sydney, a popular venue situated at Circular Quay above Customs House with enviable views of Sydney Harbour.
To start, lightly seared scallops topped with crispy pancetta were served with kohlrabi and apple remoulade amidst a scattering of quinoa and baby basil – light, summery and flavoursone, with the smoky pancetta adding texture and flavour to the dish.
The Berkshire pork dish with the crusted pork loin, pressed pork and morcilla sausage with butternut pumpkin and jus packed a lot flavour, with the crispy seasoned crackling being the highlight of the dish.
Double chocolate slice
And to finish, the double chocolate slice with candied orange, orange sorbet and creme fraiche made a fitting accompaniment to the Glenfiddich 37 yo which was an absolute treat.
The Glenfiddich media luncheon with Malt Master Brian Kinsman was held on Wednesday 14 November 2012 at Café Sydney.
31 Alfred St
Sydney, NSW 2000
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