March 15th 2018 was to be an exciting day. It was the day Glenfiddich released the third instalment of their Experimental Series: Winter Storm.

There are only 150 bottles available in South Africa, at R3500 per bottle. It’s something special.

(Source: Glenfiddich invitation image)

Breakthrough often comes from exploring unexpected avenues. The Bullet Train shape was inspired by a Kingfisher’s beak, and the chainsaw came from a birthing contraption (don’t google). You never know where a good idea will come from.

Brian Kinsman, the Malt Master at Glenfiddich, was looking for such an epiphany.

Bring in Ice wine. Picked by moonlight, with snow crunching underfoot, mercury registers -10°C, you have the beginning of the ice wine harvest. As the grapes freeze, only the water content solidifies and the other elements don’t, so you end up with a concentrated juice that becomes a truly delicious dessert wine.

Similar to sherry casks being used to imbue whisky with their characteristic flavours, Glenfiddich does the same in French oak ice wine barrels with some of their 21 year old whisky.

The result is an amalgamation of the balanced whisky and the sweet caramel/candied fruit notes of the the ice wine.

Here’s the process:

(Source: Glenfiddich website)

It sounds strange to say, but the Winter Storm pairs incredibly well with frozen grapes. The sweetness and slight crunchiness somehow help to give more context to the whisky, and complete the picture.

I was also lucky enough to have a taste of the other two experimental expressions, the ProjectXX, and the IPA. The IPA, their whisky stored in IPA casks, was an absolute crowd pleaser. The ProjectXX, put together by 20 whisky experts, is something you store away for special occasions. Both deserve honourable mention, and separate posts in their own right.

If you enjoy a good story behind your whisky, and who doesn’t, or you’re looking for an investment whisky, then I would suggest doing everything you possibly can to get a bottle, preferably 3.

{Note: I was a guest of Glenfiddich, but all thoughts and images are my own, unless otherwise stated.}