Kirsten Grant Miekle on Family Business, Glenfiddich 21 & Vintage Reserve 1974

Kirsten Grant Meikle, the great-great-granddaughter of William Grant of William Grant & Sons was in Australia on a flying visit last week to speak at a family business conference. We caught up with here at an intimate session, where she presented a deconstructed tasting of Glenfiddich 21 yo along with whisky ambassador, Laura Hay.

Kirsten Grant
Kirsten Grant Meikle

William Grant & Sons is 100% family owned and Kirsten Grant Meikle is the fifth pioneering generation of the family to run the business since 1887. Her surname Meikle is derived from an old Scottish word which means “a great amount”. After a career in wine starting as Bar Manager of Ecco Vino then Matthew Clark, a renowned UK drinks distributor, she joined the family business as Director of Prestige at William Grant & Sons UK.

Her great-great-grandfather founded The Glenfiddich Distillery and later her great-grandfather, Captain Charles Grant bought the GlenDronach Distillery in 1920, attributing the title of the “GlenDronachers” to the family. After he died in 1926, his family ran the distillery until it was sold in 1960.

Her uncle Charles Gordon, William Grant & Sons’ Life President brought her into the business in 2011, two years before he passed away. As Director of Prestige, she looks after High Net Worth Individuals, key VIP on-trade accounts and works alongside Global Travel Retail.

Glenfiddich is currently holding 2.8 to 2.9 million casks with a duty value of 8.5 million pounds. “The decisions that my uncle made 30 years ago have allowed us to have the portfolio we have today. It’s unrivalled in Scotch whisky and the stocks we have,” Kirsten explains.

Glenfiddich 21 yo Deconstructed

“Glenfiddich 21 sums up our business”, she adds referring to the available aged stock and David Stewart‘s pioneering of whisky finishes. The process is deemed highly inefficient in that the single malt is aged for 21 years in American oak first, then finished using sourced rum from the Caribbean.

Glenfiddich 21 yo
Deconstructed Tasting of Glenfiddich 21 yo

The Demerara-based rum was created in the 1980s and blended by William Grant & Sons in the Caribbean. The rum is brought over in food safe containers and put in American oak casks for seasoning.  The rum is then taken out and sent it back to the Caribbean, and the 21 yo single malt is added back into the seasoned rum casks for 6 months.

The Deconstructed Tasting of Glenfiddich 21 yo is the first time it has been done worldwide as WG&S are not keen on bringing focus to the rum.

Glenfiddich 21 yo cask strength 52.3% ABV was first tasted followed by the Caribbean Rum at 61.6% ABV before the finished product, Glenfiddich 21 yo Gran Reserva at 40% ABV. The latter is not a linear progression, but a dram that displays complexities beyond simply the sum of the flavour profiles of each component.

Glenfiddich Vintage Reserve 1974

The afternoon with Kirsten Grant Miekle cocluded with a rare tasting of the Glenfiddich Vintage Reserve 1974, a 36 year old single malt with 46.8% ABV.

Kirsten Grant
Glenfiddich Vintage Reserve 1974

Glenfiddich Vintage Reserve 1974 is part of the Rare Collection with only 1000 bottles produced worldwide. This expression is the first vatted Vintage Reserve created by Brian Kinsman who selected outstanding casks from 1974. The single malt has a nose that is redolent with the trademark fruity notes of Glenfiddich along with tobacco, heavy spice and oak. The liquid is viscous in the glass with a lovely oily mouthfeel. The palate is initially sweet with vanilla, toffee and fruit then explodes with spice that give it a lot of heat and fine oak tannins. The finish is luxurious and long, lingering with a balance of spice and oak.

The afternoon with Kirsten Grant Miekle was held on Wednesday 26 August 2015.


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About the author

Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is the Founder/Editor of popular online magazine Gourmantic and Cocktails & Bars, a website dedicated to cocktail culture and the discerning drinker. She is named in Australian Bartender Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential List since 2013, is a member of The Academy responsible for judging the World’s 50 Best Bars. She has also judged the inaugural Australasian Whisky Awards and various national cocktail competitions.

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