Glenfiddich pays homage to Japanese culture with limited-edition whisky
Glenfiddich has introduced the latest release from its Grand Series collection: Grand Yozakura, the first Single Malt Scotch Whisky to be finished in rare ex-Awamori casks. The whisky will make its travel retail debut in selected airport locations in Europe and Asia from late March, supported by a series of experiential activations.
"A limited-edition fusion celebrating the finest flavors from Scotland and Japan, Grand Yozakura is a 29 Year Old Whisky matured at the Glenfiddich Distillery in Dufftown," explains a press release. "It is finished in oak casks that previously matured Awamori – the oldest distilled alcoholic spirit in Japan – producing a finish unlike any other. Awamori is made using long grain indica rice, and is traditionally stored in clay pots and matured in oak casks. It is said that the technique for making the spirit has not been altered in over 500 years. Only a small proportion of Awamori is aged in oak casks, making them exceptionally rare."
Grand Yozakura celebrates the renowned Japanese cherry blossom festival known as Hanami.
"A time for renewal and optimism, the festival is best experienced illuminated after dark, where it is known as the Yozakura or ‘night sakura’. This fleeting moment captures a time where nature is honored. In the same way, this marriage of rare liquids, once gone, will never be replicated, and therefore presents a precious, transient chance to experience a beautiful collision of cultures and flavors."
The packaging of Grand Yozakura features a signature illustration created by Japanese artist June, whose work incorporates Japanese culture and landscapes. The whisky packaging includes a bespoke topper and traditional poem printed onto each specially designed outer.
Glenfiddich Malt Master Brian Kinsman, commented, “We are always looking to experiment with new finishes so when the chance arose to acquire rare ex-Awamori casks we saw an opportunity to push the boundaries and experiment with this highly unusual spirit. This is the first time that Single Malt Scotch Whisky has been finished in these rare casks. We always learn something new when we lead with innovation so taking a risk is worth it, and in the case of Awamori we trialled a very small number of casks at a younger age first.
“Awamori is much like whisky, with a diverse range of flavors. Since embarking on this fusion, it’s been fascinating to focus on the oak and how it has been changed and adapted by contact with another spirit. The six month finish in ex-Awamori Casks compliments the smooth Glenfiddich taste profile, elevating the finish and lifting the flavor to a new level, accentuating the mouthfeel characters and zingy herbal notes unlike any in the series, or anything I have tasted before.”
Tasting notes of the Grand Yozakura, as explained in the release, are:
Nose: Zesty, ripe fruits and caramelized almonds. Lovely rich oak notes with hints of cinnamon and a distinctive herbal zing.
Taste: Indulgent layers of toasted oak, creamy vanilla toffee and silky tannin. Sporadic bursts of spice and sherbet lemons with crunchy green apple and warming earthy tones.
Finish: Long lasting oak.
“The Grand Series underpins Glenfiddich’s spirit of innovation and Grand Yozakura is no exception," said Glenfiddich Global Brand Director Claudia Falcone. "It is perhaps the most ground-breaking expression to sit alongside the series so far, whilst also being the first limited-edition release. Bringing together two scarce components accentuates the anticipation and sense of occasion, paying homage to the brand’s innovative nature when it comes to creating dynamic whiskies of the highest quality.”
“We are pleased to once again be partnering with key retailers to showcase this latest addition to our pioneering Grand Series collection within travel retail – a vital channel for the luxury spirits business,” added Gwilym Cooke, Head of Brand Marketing for GTR at WG&S. “In line with our commitment to innovate this new whisky offers a unique taste experience and compelling story that will be hugely appealing to both new and established whisky drinkers.”
Grand Yozakura is the latest addition to the series, which includes Glenfiddich Grand Cru, aged for 23 years in American and European oak casks and then finessed in French Cuvée oak casks; Glenfiddich Gran Reserva, patiently mellowed for 21 years in European and American Oak casks before a final flourish in Caribbean Rum casks; Grande Couronne, a 26 year old Scotch Whisky matured in American and European oak casks finished for up to two years in meticulously sourced French Cognac casks; and Gran Cortes, a refined Glenfiddich whisky aged for 22 years in traditional Sherry oak before finishing in very rare Palo Cortado Sherry casks.