Glenfiddich Grows A Good Apple

The Glenfiddich Experimental Series does exactly what it says on its handsome, brightly coloured bottles. The idea, to push whisky-making boundaries, was distilled into development almost a decade ago by the brand and, since 2016, has yielded such unique spirits as Winter Storm, a dry whisky finished in frosty ice wine casks, and Fire & Cane, a peaty expression aged in sweet rum casks from South America.

The latest launch is the fifth in the collection: Glenfiddich Orchard Experiment. It’s a crisp whisky, and one the British brand finished for four months in casks previously used to age Somerset Pomona, a liqueur from the south of England. An excellent digestif itself, the fruity liqueur blends apple juice and cider brandy together, has notes of almond and honeysuckle, and is equally as experimental as many of Glenfiddich’s own unconventional creations.

Glenfiddich Orchard Experiment

And its orchard-fresh influence can be detected in every delicate dram of this whisky. So, while the distillery describes the Orchard Experiment as tasting like “a warm autumn day,” we’d wager that its pear-green packaging and bright notes of zest and barley will also put a spring into your whisky- drinking step all summer long. It deftly balances fresh fruit flavours with heartier oak notes, while still delivering the deeper tastes of toffee, caramel, and spices — from nutmeg to vanilla — you’d expect from a sumptuous scotch.

But it’s on the finish where the experimental promise of the whisky’s name really rings true. Initially, you’ll get the prevailing flavour of sweet oak. But, after a moment or two, several more surprising flavours will wash in — beginning with a faintly malty mouthfeel, but culminating with an unlikely uptick of mint. It’s a herby curveball to cap off proceedings, but the marriage between menthol and earthy apple turns out to be an unexpected treat. Proof, if ever was needed, that the 137-year-old brand remains at the very top of its groundbreaking, whisky-making game.