Landmark moment for William Grant & Sons as Glenfiddich 50 Year Old is revealed – 30/07/09
Source: ©The Moodie Report
By Dermot Davitt in Dufftown, Scotland
"The Glenfiddich 50 Year Old is the pinnacle of our whisky-making excellence" says Chairman Peter Gordon
UK/INTERNATIONAL. Independent distiller William Grant & Sons unveiled Glenfiddich 50 Year Old Single Malt - one of its rarest and most exclusive single malt whisky expressions – at a glittering ceremony full of Scottish pride and pageantry on Tuesday night.
The event at the Glenfiddich Distillery in Dufftown was hosted by William Grant & Sons Chairman Peter Gordon – great-great-grandson of company founder William Grant – and gathered a specially invited audience of 50 people to witness the unveiling. The Moodie Report represented the travel retail media at the event.
Glenfiddich 50yo, dubbed a rare and precious masterpiece by the company, comes in strictly limited supplies. For the next ten years, just 50 bottles a year will be released worldwide, from a stock of 500 bottles. It carries a price point of £10,000/€11,000/US$15,000 and has already attracted huge interest among collectors and whisky enthusiasts.
Travel retail is set to play a critical role in the limited distribution, with ten of the first 50 bottles made available through the channel. The first bottle goes on sale on 1 September through Aelia at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport T2E.
William Grant & Sons Chairman Peter Gordon on the unveiling of 'rare and precious' Glenfiddich 50yo
The remaining bottles will be made available in selected travel retail and domestic markets from 1 November. In travel retail they will be on display and sale at London Heathrow, Dubai, Shanghai, Beijing and Singapore Changi airports, as well as through Hans Just in Scandinavia.
Tuesday night’s unveiling ceremony celebrated Glenfiddich’s rich heritage and its Scottish traditions. The 50yo made a grand entrance to the sound of a bagpipe band. Guests then watched as Peter Gordon unlocked the presentation box, and showed the first bottle to the world. Afterwards, guests were treated to a special tasting of the 50yo by Malt Master David Stewart.
Peter Gordon said: “At Glenfiddich, nothing is more important than producing the world’s best whisky. Our independence enables us to do things differently and focus on the liquid above all else, a sentiment embodied in the flawless quality of this single malt."
"Our independence enables us to do things differently and focus on the liquid above all else." William Grant & Sons Chairman Peter Gordon pays tribute to the outstanding craftsmanship that produced Glenfiddich 50yo
|Marrying time and craft in a great Glenfiddich|
|As the last notes from the pipe band drifted into the cool evening air, a hush of anticipation fell over the 50 guests at Tuesday night’s unveiling of Glenfiddich 50 Year Old Single Malt|
|More on The Moodie Blog|
He added: “We’re happy to wait as long as we need to - up to 50 years in this instance - to produce the perfect whisky. The Glenfiddich 50 Year Old is the pinnacle of our whisky-making excellence and epitomises my great-great grandfather’s vision of creating the very ‘best dram in the valley’.”
Stewart and his deputy Brian Kinsman chose the 50yo by marrying two casks, one each from 1955 and 1957. For a whisky that has been aged for so long, it remains remarkably light on the palate, with a vibrant aroma on the nose.
The company said: “The taste is initially sweet with a zesty orange marmalade and vanilla toffee, which then cascades through a wonderful series of layers: aromatic herbs, floral and soft fruits, silky oak tannin and hints of gentle smoke. The finish is exceptionally long with a touch of dry oak and the merest trace of peat.”
Style and ceremony: A pipe band adds to the tremendous sense of occasion at Tuesday evening's unveiling
The 50yo makes its final journey to the unveiling ceremony at the Glenfiddich distillery
Peter Gordon, great-great-grandson of William Grant, unlocks the presentation case as guests watch in anticipation
The new 50yo "epitomises my great-great grandfather’s vision of creating the very best dram in the valley," says Peter Gordon (left); Malt Master David Stewart (right) takes guests - and their palates - on a tasting journey with 50yo
The packaging also reflects the heritage of the product. Design cues have been taken from archives that record the distillery’s 120-year history; the hand-blown bottles are individually numbered and presented in hand-stitched, leather-bound cases, which were inspired by William Grant’s personal ledgers.
In addition, a leather-bound book details the whisky’s history and provides pages for owners to record personal tasting notes. A certificate is also included within the case which has been hand-signed by four of the distillery’s long-serving craftsmen. On return to the distillery, the certificate will also be signed by Peter Gordon.
Each bottle is decorated in Scottish silver, crafted by Thomas Fattorini, a sixth generation silversmith, and imprinted with William Grant & Sons’ own hallmark.
Setting the scene for a celebration: the banqueting room where guests sampled the 50yo on Tuesday
William Grant & Sons' 50 guests were treated to a traditional Scottish menu at the celebration banquet held at the distillery - accompanied of course by a selection of single malts from the flagship Glenfiddich brand
Gordon said: “Staying true to the pioneering spirit of our founder, William Grant, who laid down stocks of whisky for future generations to enjoy, we have consistently planned ahead and have more aged stock than any other distillery. Our whisky spends years being carefully matured in our warehouses, with each additional year imparting light and elegant notes to the liquid. Every new year is important when it comes to making exceptional whisky - and Glenfiddich 50 Year Old is the ultimate expression of this pioneering foresight.”
Deputy Malt Master Brian Kinsman (left) with Travel Retail Marketing Manager Ian Taylor at Tuesday's event
Chairman Peter Gordon with The Moodie Report Deputy Publisher Dermot Davitt at the unveiling
In the run-up to the launch of 50yo on 1 September, The Moodie Report will bring you further in-depth coverage of this landmark launch in the weeks ahead. This will include special reports on the 50yo liquid – with comment from Malt Master David Stewart - the role of 50yo in driving the core portfolio, with additional comment from Glenfiddich Global Brand Director Michael Benson; plus full details of the forthcoming travel retail launch.
"Our whisky spends years being carefully matured in our warehouses, with each additional year imparting light and elegant notes," says Peter Gordon; pictured is the 1955 cask that supplied much of the liquid for the 50yo
The taste test: Deputy Malt Master Brian Kinsman introduces guests to the Glenfiddich portfolio
The 50 specially invited guests from around the world were treated to a tour of the distillery - and an insight into Glenfiddich's whisky-making techniques and traditions - ahead of the evening's unveiling
About William Grant & Sons Ltd
Strong foundations and a rich legacy: Glenfiddich 50yo single malt was aged in Warehouse 8 at the famed Glenfiddich distillery, which was built in 1886 by company founder William Grant and his nine children
William Grant & Sons is an independent family-owned distiller founded by William Grant in 1886 and today still controlled by the fifth generation of his family. The company distils some of the world’s leading brands of Scotch whisky, including the world’s leading single malt Glenfiddich, the handcrafted range of The Balvenie single malts and Grant’s Scotch, as well as selected other spirits, including Hendrick’s Gin and Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum.
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