Monday, 20 December 2010

One man's loss is another man's gain

In January this year the heavy snow that affected much of the UK led to a major accident at the Glenfiddich distillery with a warehouse roof collapsing. The result was damaged casks and millions of pounds of damage.

Glenfiddich and Malt Master Brian Kinsman saw the opportunity in this disaster. Why not take those casks not so badly damaged and create something new? Hence Snow Phoenix - risen from the ashes from the heavy snow.

So what's it all about? Glenfiddich Snow Phoenix has no age statement - none would make sense. The marriage is made up of some very young casks together with those destined for the brand's 15 and 18 year old as well, I am sure, with some heading for much older releases in years to come. Add to this the fact that there are various different finishes involved and a truly unique release is on the cards.

I was lucky enough to try Snow Phoenix at a dinner last week and I can report that it is worthy of the profile that Glenfiddich is giving it right now. Only 2000 bottles have been released and it's this limit has meant the £50 retail price (Booth's, can already be doubled, if not more, on the likes of ebay. As for the contents of the bottles - the design of it and its packaging are stunning - the liquid matches up.

The young casks in the blend mean Snow Phoenix delivers a relatively light and pale colour. To the nose this does not feel like any other Glenfiddich. A real sweetness is the first to come across with more depth and development as it takes hold. Caramel and toffee are obvious with spice and candied fruit coming in. As you progress subtle cinnamon and apple come to bear.

In short, Glenfiddich Snow Phoenix is a whistle stop tour through the Glenfiddich range. Elements of of the 12, 15 and 18 year old all come through. To be able to get all of this in a single dram is unique and for me, highly desirable.

Snow Phoenix is a testament to Brian Kinsman and an attitude that says there is always a way to get your best whisky to the end consumer. It is rumoured that the collapsed roofs at the Glenfiddich distillery have cost owner, William Grant, and their insurers in excess of £10m. The result is Snow Phoenix that can be ours for around £50. Proof if every there was that one man's loss really is another man's gain.