A Look Inside the World of Glenfiddich

With its notes of fresh pear and apple. the Glenfiddich Orchard Experiment defies expectations of what a single malt scotch can be, evoking an orchard at the peak of autumn ripeness. Golden-hued and crisp, this spirit’s unique character is the result of four months spent in sweet Somerset Pomona Spirit casks — formerly home to a secret blend of juice and Somerset Cider Brandy. Released a little over a year ago, The Glenfiddich Orchard Experiment is just the latest in a long line of single-malt scotch whiskies that blend heritage and innovation and have helped to make The Glenfiddich the most-awarded single malt scotch whisky in the world.

“Glenfiddich continues to challenge traditions, explore new flavours, and embark on entrepreneurial collaborations in ways other single malts can’t,” affirms Jamie Johnson, Glenfiddich’s National Brand Ambassador in Canada. With the single malt scotch whisky category rapidly growing in Canada, the Experimental Series is a timely reminder that Glenfiddich has the perfect dram for everyone. After almost 150 years of crafting high-quality single malts, there’s plenty more where that came from.

The Glenfiddich story begins in 1886, when founder William Grant, along with his nine children, embarked on a journey to build the world’s finest distillery. He named it Glenfiddich, Gaelic for “valley of the deer,” and on Christmas day, 1887, the first drop of spirit fell from Grant’s handmade copper stills. Over the decades that followed, Grant’s descendants would stay true to the founder’s uncompromising standards, constantly striving to improve their work while adhering to the age-old traditions of whisky distilling. Still family-owned after 137 years, this commitment reveals itself in the team of in-house coopers at their highlands distillery who maintain Glenfiddich’s oak barrels, and the in-house team of coppersmiths who build and repair its copper stills — not to mention the dozens of award-winning whiskies they have helped to produce.

“We have a rich history of firsts and significant moments in the single malt category, especially having been the first to bring single malt to market,” Johnson says. Indeed, in the 1960s when blended whisky was the world’s drink of choice, Sandy Grant Gordon (William Grant’s great-grandson) opted to actively promote Glenfiddich as a single malt outside of Scotland — making it the first brand to do so.

glenfiddich whisky

Outside-the-box thinking like this has always defined Glenfiddich’s journey, from the trademark triangular bottle created in the 1950s as a tribute to the holy trinity of water, yeast, and malted barley (the three essential elements of whisky) to the annual Glenfiddich Artists in Residence Program. Celebrating 18 years in Canada as of 2024, the program recently awarded a prestigious residency, including three months of income, travel costs, and all-inclusive accommodations in Dufftown, Scotland, to Montreal-based contemporary photographer and sculptor, Lorna Bauer. “At Glenfiddich, we continuously ask how we can push the brand into entrepreneurial and creative spaces,” adds Johnson. “Growing our credibility with our luxury audience through taking bold risks is crucial.”

Of course, none of this would be possible without the whisky itself. From global best-sellers to ultra-rare creations, it is the character of Glenfiddich’s creations that makes it the world’s best-selling single malt whisky by volume and continues to propel it forward in the 21st century. “Scotch is still a market leader in the industry,” says Johnson. “As long as we remain focused on spirit quality and producing the very best whisky, our position within the industry can only build strength.”

glenfiddich whisky

Among the most beloved of these is the Glenfiddich 12YO, a complex yet approachable whisky distinguished by a sweetness that dissolves into butterscotch and subtle oak flavours on the palate. From its golden colour, and fresh, fruity aroma with hints of pear, to its long, mellow finish, there’s a good reason this flagship green bottle has been countless whisky drinkers’ introduction to the world of Glenfiddich single malts.

On another end of the spectrum is Glenfiddich Grand Cru, a 23-year-old whisky whose unique flavour comes from finishing in rare French cuvée sparkling wine casks. Following a long maturation in American and European oak, a six-month rest in grand cru casks lends it aromas of apple blossom, candied lemon, and freshly baked bread. With rich vanilla, sweet brioche, sandalwood, and pear sorbet on the palate, and a long, sumptuous finish, Glenfiddich Grand Cru is designed to be shared and savoured.

glenfiddich whisky

Even more rarified is the Glenfiddich 30 Year Old Time Series, a meditation on time itself distinguished by a luxurious silver-capped bottle and a deep bronze colour. The result of a handful of barrels set aside by Glenfiddich’s master distiller 30 years ago, Glenfiddich 30 Year Old Time Series is a whisky that aspires to art, and encourages the contemplation of passing decades in its exquisitely balanced composition. The journey begins with aromas of sherry and oak, before settling into deep, complex flavours of wood and florals, and a warm, lingering honeyed finish.

While Glenfiddich 30-Year-Old Time Series cannot promise to reveal the secrets of the universe with each sip, anyone lucky enough to taste this rare whisky is guaranteed to come away with another important realization. To enjoy any of Glenfiddich’s hand-crafted whiskies is to gain a profound appreciation for the power of a few ingredients, a lot of patience, and 150 years of unfaltering commitment to creating the best spirits in the world.