As a Glenfiddich spokesman describes it:
“Glenfiddich Snow Phoenix commemorates a moment of drama in the long history of the Glenfiddich Distillery! It all began in December 2009 when it started to snow – it kept snowing for several months. After weeks of record low temperatures and alternate freezing and thawing there were four feet of densely compacted snow on the distillery roofs.
On the evening of Thursday 7th January 2010, in the most remote part of the snow covered distillery, some of our warehouse roofs collapsed, ripped open by the sheer weight of snow, leaving maturing oak casks of Glenfiddich exposed to the winter sky. It was as if some of the distillery angels had finished their ‘share’ and had come back looking for more.
Brian Kinsman our Malt Master, selected a number of casks from the snow damaged warehouse, some of these casks had previously held Oloroso sherry and others were traditional whisky casks made of American oak.
This Glenfiddich is as we found it, a marriage of Glenfiddich single malt Scotch whiskies of different ages and finishes with the strength brought to 47.6% abv by the addition of the distillery’s Robbie Dhu spring water. It has not been chill filtered.”Glenfiddich “Snow Phoenix” Limited Edition Single Malt 47.6% Rich honeycomb, stewed pears, thickly dripping honey onto a bed of drying malted barley, a vanilla pod dipped into Glenfiddich liqueur, then coated with a dusting of icing sugar and peppery allspice…you get the picture… It is thick, syrupy and liqueur-like on the tongue, impossibly sweet and a palate that reflects the nose in every nuance.. Oh Glenfiddich! Please, please can we have some more…please! 94
Glenfiddich 30yo Single Malt 40%Rich rumtopf, stewed dark fruits, honeycomb with a sprinkling of sweet spice and after a minimum of 30 years in oak, the barley is still so evident…a stunning nose! Then apple crumble with raisins drizzled with honey develops, Christmas pudding and orange toffee emerge a little later. I had to restrain myself from tasting this dram too soon, waiting for it to develop as much as possible, as this nose is so moreish. However, the palate had initially a touch of vanilla, a mid-palate of Seville marmalade, then a peppery, slightly dry and vinous finish….so disappointing! I would rate the nose a 95 but the palate only a 77, giving an overall 86. Macallan 30yo Single Malt 43% Mellow old oak and spicy Oloroso sherry. The palate has honey, garden mint and stewed raisins with a distinct anise finish. Not too complex but gorgeously balanced. Exquisite. 91 Famous Grouse 30yo Blended Malt (Blue Label) 43% Matabele ant predominates, with sweetened stewed prunes and PX soaked sherry trifle and a touch of floor polish. This dram is luscious, rich rumtopf, pineapple and a touch of smoke. The palate is rich, oily and tongue coating, molasses, prunes, salty with an Oloroso sherry finish. Water releases a battalion of matabele ants, rich spice and the pineapple now swamps the stewed prunes. An outstanding blended malt. 92 Famous Grouse 30yo Blended Malt (Purple Label) 43% Imagine cut pieces of pineapple and prunes dipped into a flaming PX fondue. The matabele ants have left this nest, leaving a more subdued, sherried, tropical fruit combo….a master blender’s dream concoction, an exquisite balance of sweet fruits, sherry, old smoked oak and creme brulee. The palate is a sublime mix of syrupy sweet tropical fruits, salt and a rich lingering Oloroso and woody smoke finish…a Caribbean sundae? Arguably the greatest blended malt ever. 94 Highland Park 30yo Single malt 48.1% Burnt sugar, tobacco, toasted barley, a rich cauldron of dark fruits that have been spiced and stewed in a vat of Oloroso sherry, barley sugar. Slowly, eventually the peat smoke emerges, giving the dram a more meaty character with toffee overtones and blackcurrant fruit gums. An oily, full bodied palate, this is a 30yo at its very best, reflecting the nose and thereby creating a beautifully crafted, elegantly balanced whisky. Initially Oloroso sweet, then the burnt sugars, peppery spice, molasses, a touch of treacle and sweet peat that lingers and just goes on lingering….awesome…a masterpiece! 95