[This whisky was actually released last October and then again this March. We received a sample in the summer months, but we’re putting our review out during the winter months to minimize confusion.
The Glenfiddich Experimental Series #03: Winter Storm is a 21 year-old that comes in a classy all-white bottle and it was aged in an ex-Eiswein cask. (Eiswein, should you not know, is a late harvest wine quick-crushed from grapes that are generally picked in the very early morning when frost or ice has actually formed on the grapes. It’s labor-intensive and thus, unfortunately, uncheap. For this dram, the cask was filled with wine made from grapes picked by moonlight.) We got toffee bars made with sugar from beets, butter cream slyly removed from the center of chocolate truffles, nori, unsalted macadamia nut butter, and botrytis, the noble rot of grapes. More like butt-righteous, amirite, MaltBros? Guys? Guys? There’s also a light, high wine note that percolates noseward after some tentative sips. I got also hoboes and flutes, but no bassoons. (JOHN! I said “oboes,” not “hoboes”!)
The mouth is light–vitiated–at first, then spreads over my tongue softly, as in a morning sunrise. It’s a high-explosive fruit MIRV, loaded with flambéed oranges, mangoes, grilled peaches, fresh apricots, and caramelized bananas. There’s a choir of lemons singing behind this fruitastic crescendo, and they, once properly translated, sing also of a malty, bread bowl forming the fruit basket. Stephen kept getting a dry reediness, like the reed from John Coltrane’s tenor saxophone used the last occasion on which he played A Love Supreme, lovingly preserved in a reliquary in the Church of St. John Coltrane. The finish doesn’t seem even like a start, let alone a finish, given how well it holds up in the mouth. It’s like it refuses to be swallowed, as a fish fighting for dear life in a pelican’s maw might.
[Stephen: Bill! You got that from Finding Nemo, didn’t you?]
It’s suspended in time and in space as it expands throughout my mouth, defying the normal fluid dynamics of drinking. “One swallow doth a spring not make,” quoth John, from the Book of Yoda. Now the reeds are more like those at the edge of the Everglades, hinting at the elegance of flamingos and the lurking danger of crocodiles and alligators.
On the scale of bi-stable two-dimensional forms–
The Glenfiddich Experimental Series #03 Winter Storm 21 Year Old is Rubin’s Vase–
[Stephen: Bi-stable? Like John?]
No, Stephen! Rubin’s Vase is, if you look at it one way, a vase. If you make the background the foreground, suddenly the vase is negative space, and the dark sides are profiles in silhouette. Geez, didn’t you learn anything when you passed your Sommelier Savant Test at the École du Vin, Bordeaux? Anyways, the white bottle/vase screams winter, but when you taste it, the zingy tangy zestalicious fruits let you know, unequivocally, that this is also a splendid summer drink. A brilliant entry in Glenfiddich’s cutting-edge Experimental Series; way to up your game, Glenfiddich. I’m already a-quiver waiting for your next entry.
–Our thanks to Glenfiddich for the sample!