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Discovery and Journey

15 Jun, 2016 by Editorial Team

Discovery and Journey

One of the world’s finest Spey Side scotch whiskeys, Glenfiddich has remained a completely family run industry pioneer for over 125 years. It is today internationally sold in 180 countries and accounts for over 35% of the world’s whiskey sales. Time and again Glenfiddich has demonstrated a stellar performance at multiple coveted competitions receiving 28 accolades at awards such as the International Spirits Challenge and Scotch Whisky Masters competitions.

‘Glenfiddich’ which in Gaelic means ‘valley of the deer’ was founded by visionary William Grant in Dufftown, Scotland in 1886, with the help of his nine children and a stone mason. The first drop of spirit was born from their stills on the day of Christmas 1887, a full year from when they had started.

During the 1920s prohibition era, Glenfiddich being one of the only six operating distilleries intelligently increased production, which gave them dominance over the aged whiskey market, as demand had increased fourfold. 

In order to support this increased demand, they built up an onsite infrastructure that included well skilled coppersmiths to build and maintain the uniquely shaped copper stills and a dedicated cooperage where each and every aging cask would be tended. In today’s day and age, they are one of the few distilleries to have their own onsite cooperage. 

In the 1960s, Glenfiddichs’ single malt was introduced and promoted actively in the international market, which at that time was only used to drinking blended whisky.

There have been many landmarks in the long and winding journey of this iconic spirit. Let us take a look at some, which may not be commonly known to all. 

  • William Grant’s nine children were honoured by the vatting of Glenfiddich 50-year-old in 1991, from nine casks laid down in the 1930s. The second vatting was done in 2009 in hand-blown individually numbered bottles, hallmarked in sliver and finished in leather like William Grant’s journal.
  • In 2001, the oldest single malt whisky was released. The single cask was filled in 1937 and had a 64-year journey with ten consecutive warehouse masters watching it over, the ultimate result being 61 bottles of this rare and extraordinary whisky.
  • A remarkable scotch whiskey called the ‘Snow Phoenix’ was born in the most adverse conditions in 2010 when snow caused some of the Glenfiddich warehouse roofs to collapse, exposing them to the elements. The warehouse men worked day and night in temperatures below freezing degrees to ensure that the casks were saved. The ‘Snow Phoenix’ was a tribute to them.
  • In honour of Janet Sheed Roberts Scotland’s oldest woman and last grandchild of William Grant, 11 bottles of Janet Sheed Roberts Reserve were released in 2011, each of which were auctioned for record prices for charity.

From humble beginnings and hard work in 1886, this impressive 35-hectare site houses a cooperage, coppersmith, bottling lines, warehouses and two still houses containing mammoth 28 stills. William Grants vision has been passed from one generation to the next making Glenfiddich today World’s Most Awarded Single Malt Scotch Whisky. 

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