The competitions among whisky industry is getting keener and keener. Different brands and distilleries are releasing new bottling every year for whisky lovers and enthusiasts to increase the market share. Therefore, apart from traditional bourbon and sherry casks, you can see more and more new types of cask finishes appearing in the market, in which those casks from wine industries have been widely used in recent 5 to 10 years to mature or as a cask finish for whiskies.
Glenfiddich distillery as one of the largest distilleries with the best-selling single-malt whisky in the world, they have just released 2 experimental whiskies to the market in early September and they are going the Experimental Series collections. The Series aims to produce "unusual and unexpected" whiskies every year that give surprises to the market, and of course arise more people's interests and create noises among whisky lovers.
The first launch for the Experimental Series is a pair of NAS single malt whiskies: Glenfiddich Project XX and Glenfiddich IPA Experiment. Project XX is a marriage of 20 different whiskies of different casks, sizes and shapes including Port pipes, Sherry butts and first filled Bourbon casks. They were selected by 20 Glenfiddich global brand ambassadors and blended by Master Blender Brian Kinsman.
IPA Experiment is a whisky finished for three months in casks Speyside Craft Brewery in Forres. The IPA beer was specially designed and created for this project that would go into a whisky cask. The ale was created using British Challenger hops for enhance the fruity flavours of the whisky. The IPA Experiment was bottled at 43% ABV. Both whiskies are at a very reasonable price in spite of the continuously price increment in the industry.
I was lucky to have a chance taste the IPA Experiment a few weeks before it was launched, and special thanks to my Danish friend for this.
Aroma: A lot of fruit and sweet spices like a sweet teenage girl: Intense ripe apple, spiced apple, green pear peel, lemon, lemon zest, honey water, cardamom, camomile, hint of malt and digestive biscuit. Sweet but comfortable aroma, a typical bourbon Speyside whisky performance. There is a light hint of hops smell at the back but not obvious.
Palate: Pretty creamy textile, medium to medium(+) body. Fruity and spicy characters continue in the palate: ripe apple, spiced apple, mixture of sweet spices, apple peel, lemon zest. There is a touch of wood and tannin in the palate with hint of savoury, hoppy and malty taste.
Aftertaste: Medium length but in quite a mild and light way. Hint of honey water, apple, ripen pear and some apple peel tastes
Conclusion: A straightforward, smooth and comfortable whisky. There is nothing really over-expressive. The sweetness and fruitiness of the whisky makes it really approachable and of course it is bottled at 43%. You will not find it alcoholic in both aroma and palate. The overall structure and texture is pretty ok without any big disappointment. Even it's a NAS whisky, it didn't show youthful or a lot of raw and green characters. However, the IPA cask didn't give much influence to the drink in general- nothing to compare to rum, sherry or port casks whiskies that we normally get in touch with. One reason maybe because it's a marriage of 3 months only and seems the aim of distillery and master blender is the enhancement of the fruitiness brought by the ale instead of cask influence. Anyways it is an interesting and innovative experiment and it is not a bad whisky at all .-83points