Today’s New Arrival is a very exciting collaboration between perhaps the most famous single malt distillery in Scotland and a cult producer from the West Country, the Somerset Cider Brandy Company. It’s Glenfiddich Orchard Experiment!
In the last few years the number of esoteric casks finishes for whisky has exploded. We’ve tried mezcal finishes (not entirely convinced), orange wine finishes (yes please), and just last month Craigellachie released a limited edition 13 year old Armagnac cask finish (double yes please). But I bet you’ve never had a Pomona cask finish.
Glenfiddich Orchard Experiment is here
Well, now is your chance. It’s called Glenfiddich Orchard Experiment and it’s in the aptly named Experimental Series. But just what is Pomona? Pomona takes its name from a 17th century book by John Evelyn which became a bible to ambitious cider makers. At the time, West Country producers were making something akin to English Port made from partially-fermented apple juice mixed with apple brandy.
This modern version was created in the 1980s by the Somerset Cider Brandy Company and it’s essentially an English take on Pineau des Charentes, but made with apples rather than grapes. To make Pomona, Julian Temperley, the producer’s founder, blended apple juice with his famous Somerset brandy and then aged the result in oak barrels.
How do you like them apples
The idea to blend the orchard fruit flavours of Glenfiddich with old Pomona casks came from a meeting of minds between malt master Brian Kinsman and master distiller Matilda Temperley, Julian’s daughter. Kinsman explained: “Over the past few years we have had the opportunity to explore new sources for casks, and I was intrigued by the possibility of using Somerset Pomona spirit casks to enhance and elevate the core Glenfiddich character of apples and pears. Working with the Temperleys has been great fun as they share the same core values so common in family business.”
Matilda Temperley added: “With this collaboration we’re back doing the same but challenging innovation even further. This is a really exciting marriage of old English and Scottish craft distillates and we can’t wait for people to taste the incredible flavours of the Orchard Experiment.”
We haven’t always loved weird cask finish whiskies. I’m thinking in particular of the Lagavulin 13 year old finished in mezcal casks. Yet this Glenfiddich/Somerset Cider Brandy Company really does sound delicious. As brand ambassador Mark Thompson put it: the “classic Glenfiddich notes are accentuated and elevated by the Somerset Pomona spirit casks to a sweet, rich effect. On the first sip, fruit flavours transport you to an orchard on a warm summer’s day, then the liquid softens into sweet creamy toffee, caramelised apple and woody spice, leaving a sumptuous, decadent taste on the palate.”
We think it’ll taste delicious served on the rocks though we’re particularly taken with a cocktail that has been especially created for the launch called the Service Temperley. Here’s how to make it.
Stir all the ingredients in an ice-filled shaker and strain into a chilled Nick & Nora glass.
Glenfiddich Orchard Experiment is available from Master of Malt. Click here to buy.
Tasting note from the Chaps at Master of Malt
Nose: Crisp green apple peels, a whiff of vanilla, and some tart, zesty notes of fermented fruit to balance sweet buttery toffee.
Palate: Packed with fruit – a host of pressed apples and hints of pear are followed up by zestier notes of orange and lemon peel. Spiced apple cake and a whiff of nutmeg bring warming spice.
Finish: The apple cider notes carry through to the finish, with pressed juices and red orchard fruits tangling with gentle oak spice and creamy barley.