An Innovative Marriage of Glenfiddich with Beer

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 Map, source: Glenfiddich official website)

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.

Glenfiddich IPA Experiement, Glenfiddich Experimental Series #01, NAS, IPA Cask Finish, 43%

Appearance: Pale gold

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

威士忌行業近年百花齊放,除蘇格蘭和日本現存的蒸餾廠,世界各地有越來越多的精釀蒸餾廠成立去分一杯羹,令競爭日趨激烈。有見及此,蒸餾廠便各出其謀,除了推出一向沿用的波本和雪莉桶外,近年積極地推出由不同種類的桶作熟陳或過桶,以葡萄酒行業的酒桶最為普遍,如紅酒桶, 波特酒(Port) 桶。

作為蘇格蘭最暢銷單一麥芽的威士忌酒廠,格蘭菲迪剛剛出了新的系列,取名為「實驗系列」,格蘭菲迪每年都會生產一些「不一樣的,意想不到的」威士忌,目的除了提高更多人對都威士忌的興趣和增加銷量外,也希望為飲家製造驚喜。「實驗系列」以兩款無年份的普飲威士忌作為頭炮:Project XX和IPA實驗過桶。Project XX是由格蘭菲迪20位國際品牌大使各自挑選一桶自己喜歡的格蘭菲迪單桶威士忌,再由首席調酒師Brian Kinsman把這20款不同年份、酒桶形狀、熟成的威士忌完美調和而成的。

至於在推出前幾星期我有幸嘗試的IPA實驗桶,是把已熟成的威士忌陳放在Indian Pale Ale (簡稱IPA, 譯作印度淡啤, 其實是一點也不淡的)3個月作過桶,而這款啤酒是由Speyside Craft Brewery (Speyside精釀啤酒廠)特別為了此項目而釀造的,用的是British Challenger hops 啤酒花,希望能為威士忌帶出更多的果香。IPA實驗桶以43%酒精濃度入瓶,並且以非常合理的價錢發售(Project XX也是)。

IPA實驗桶是一款十分直接,舒服柔和的一款,酒款頗為甜美,以果香作主導:熟蘋果、檸檬、少許梨子和檸檬皮,還有各式各樣的香料、菊蜜的清香、木頭和麥芽淡淡的鹹香,平衡易飲。入口和香氣沒有任何酒精的辛辣感,酒體和結構並沒有因為是43%裝瓶而過於單薄,雖然是一款無年份的威士忌,但整體的感覺並不是想像的年輕(沒辦法,我對NAS的威士忌始終都是有少許先入為主的偏見),沒有很多年輕威士忌有的青澀,我和朋友都認為這款的酒齡大概是12年。

但另一方面,於我而言,IPA啤酒桶對此威士忌的影響並不太大,一來可能是因為只有3個月的過桶,蜜月期也未過便要被裝瓶;二來我猜格蘭菲迪主要是用IPA桶來輕輕提升威士忌果香和複雜度,所以他們並不想酒桶對威士忌的影響如雪莉,蘭姆或波特桶那麼深。當然這個創新的酒款的確為飲家帶來驚喜,也是相當不俗的一個普飲酒款。83分

#Speyside #whisky #reviews #Scotch #IPA #Glenfiddich #craftbeer #Craftdistillery #singlemalt

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