Three Strong Launch

Three Strong Launch

Glenfiddich rolls out new whiskies for the travel retail shopper

Travel Retail | 25 Oct 2013 | Issue 115 | By Joe Bates

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Last month saw me take a short, very early morning flight from London Gatwick to Hamburg airport for a very special Glenfiddich launch. Travel-retail exclusive ranges seem to be two a penny these days, but when the world's best-selling single-malt decides it's time to enter the fray, it's definitely worth an early start.

William Grant & Sons had decided to collaborate with Gebr Heinemann, one of Europe's largest travel retailers, for the exclusive European launch of this three-strong range. The new Glenfiddich Cask Collection was already on shelf and creating quite a buzz in Hamburg airport's main departures shop when we arrived so there was no chance of a fanfare and a big reveal. Happily, global brand ambassador Ian Millar was on hand to lead us through a vertical tasting of the new range. He told us that all three new expressions, Glenfiddich Select Cask, Glenfiddich Reserve Cask and Glenfiddich Vintage Cask, have been finished in three new specially constructed Solera Vats in the distillery's 60 year-old dunnage Warehouse No. 8.

Inspired by the Spanish way of blending old and young wines to create a consistent end product, former Glenfiddich malt master David Stewart pioneered the Solera Vat technique in 1998, creating the popular Glenfiddich Solera Reserve 15 Year Old. However, this new trio of 40% abv expressions doesn't feature an age statement. The emphasis is more on flavour and taste rather than age and a prescribed recipe. The entry-level Glenfiddich Select Cask will replace Glenfiddich 12 Year Old in global travel retail. It has lots of vanilla and toffee notes balanced with black pepper. The second and pricier Glenfiddich Reserve Cask is a very different beast, having been matured solely in sherry casks before being married together. Rich, deep fruits come to the fore here; the only similarity with the Select Cask being those oaky tannic notes. My favourite dram was the Glenfiddich Vintage Cask, which actually won't be released into travel-retail until early next year. It harks back to the style of Glenfiddich before the 1950s when significant amounts of peat were used in the malting process. Vintage Cask is a wonderful marriage of balanced, but assertive smokiness and sweet crème brulee. I found it a quite delightfully complex whisky, which balances depth with smoothness.

What I particularly like about the Glenfiddich Cask Collection is that both the 1-litre Select and Reserve Casks have been positioned at price points (€43.90 and €58 respectively), which will be within the reach of most travellers. Far too many travel-retail exclusives these days seem to be targeted solely at those with very deep pockets.

Tullamore Dew


If you needed an extra reason to visit the great cities of Dublin or Cork, this exclusive new Tullamore Dew certainly provides one. The name refers to the town's phoenix-like rebirth after a tragic 1785 balloon crash led to a fire which destroyed over 100 houses. As for the whiskey in the bottle, it's a high-strength 55% blend of all three types of Irish whiskey: pure pot-still, malt and grain whiskey, which has been finished in oloroso sherry casks. Expect lots of spice and rich toffee notes on the nose and a spicy, pot-still flavour on the palate. Available in 70cl bottles, Tullamore Dew Phoenix is priced at €49.95 (£42) and can be pre-ordered for collection at

Old Virginia

Smooth Honey

Surely all those American bees deserve a holiday? The trend for honey-flavoured bourbons shows absolutely no sign of stopping. The latest release to enter duty free and travel retail is Old Virginia Smooth Honey. Bottled at just 30% ABV, is made with six year-old Kentucky bourbon. Recommended to be drunk neat over ice, Old Virginia Smooth Honey has already been released with some success on the Australian domestic market.

At press time no pricing details were available, but I suspect Old Virginia Smooth Honey could well be positioned against the likes of Jim Beam Honey and Wild Turkey American Honey liqueur, making it a good buy given the age of the whiskey used to make it.
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