Out of Disaster, An Exclusive Scotch Is Born

Today is Robbie Burns Day, a Scottish holiday named after the poet who was born on January 25th, 1759. How better to celebrate than to raise a glass…of scotch, that is!

Editor Travis Persaud teaches us about Glenfiddich’s Snow Pheonix.

Born out of a near catastrophe, Glenfiddich presents its latest single malt Scotch Whisky, Snow Phoenix.

Bottled in 2010, this limited edition Scotch whisky, which comes in a classy tin package, was produced after the roof of their distillery warehouse came crashing down.

“We had an exceptionally bad 2009-2010 winter in Scotland,” explains Brian Kinsman, Glenfiddich’s malt master. “It would snow heavily day after day with no wind to blow away the snow. Eventually the roof started to pop and we were genuinely fearful we’d lose huge quantities of liquid. You can’t produce single malts anywhere else.”

But, thankfully, the casks stacked high around the warehouse helped keep the roof from completely caving in — but it broke enough that the maturing casks were uncovered from the night’s sky for that week.

“Once the initial pain was gone, the distillery manager and I were figuring out how to commemorate this. How could we turn this into something good?”

Well, Kinsman, who apprenticed for nine years before becoming only the sixth malt master in Glenfiddich’s 124-year history, decided to create a special vatting from the surviving casks.

“We nosed about 500 casks in one afternoon,” he says, “and picked what we thought would work well and sum up what is Glenfiddich. And rather than doing it the way we usually do — sitting down to plan the flavour profile, work out how to use the wood — we just let nature make that decision for us.”

The result is a 47.6 per cent single malt Scotch whisky, created from marrying non-chill filtered casks of different ages and finishes (Kinsman says the youngest is around 13 and the oldest near 30), resulting in a satisfying long finish with notes of apple and pear.

Only available in Ontario, this one-of-a-kind bottle goes for $90 and once it’s gone, it’s gone — so act fast!

Advice from Brian Kinsman, Glenfiddich malt master:

Serve: Kinsman poured out various Glenfiddich variants into small, tulip-shaped glasses. While great for nosing, Kinsman recommends drinking your Scotch from a heavy whisky glass.

Drink: It may seem counterintuitive for some, but adding a dash of filtered water to Scotch whisky will bring out the true smell and flavour. It especially came through when Kinsman added some water to Snow Phoenix and Glenfiddich 15.

However, he’s quick to add that each individual should drink it the way they’re most comfortable with — if that means adding ice, so be it!

Pair: Kinsman says any of their variants go well with a full meal. However, the taste profile make some especially appetizing with certain dishes.

Glenfiddich 12 – Haddock

Glenfiddich 15 – Lamb

Glenfiddich 18 – Tuna

Glenfiddich 21 – White chocolate crème brûlée

Snow Phoenix РCr̬am Caramel