Well this one’s been teed up perfectly really following last week’s post on The Glenlivet, and specifically how they’re catching the Glenfiddich in terms of sales whilst placing emphasise on their recent and historical innovation. So Glenfiddich, your move it seems. And here it is: Glenfiddich Gallery, a bespoke online whisky service where you can discover cask strength malts that match your personal tastes and also design the bespoke packaging your whisky will come in!
Whilst there is a certain award-winning online retailer that’s provided the opportunity to personalise both the labels and the liquid of your whisky for some time now *ahem*, this is an incredibly exciting step for a leading single malt brand to take.
Discover and design your bespoke Glenfiddich.
With prices ranging from around £300 to £100,000, this is clearly luxury territory (the cheapest currently available is £390), but the range of casks hand-picked by Malt Master Brian Kinsman for the Gallery is impressive. Vintages range from 1958 to 1994, with the number of bottles of each available varying from just 3 to around 100. A variety of cask types and flavour profiles are of course included in this range, which leads us on to the clever bit…
Choose from a variety of rare whiskies.
(As ever, click on the image to enlarge.)
You can enter your preferences on the Gallery’s Taste Profiler using some sliders – it’s a super-simple 4-step process that’s all very intuitive – absolutely perfect for tablet and mobile users too. (For technological context here, Lagavulin only got around to joining twitter less than a week before this launch – the third of the Classic Malts to do so I believe.)
Do you prefer Rich, robust red wines or Floral, lighter whites? Succulent summer fruits or Zesty citrus? Intense or Subtle spices? Sweet or Savoury?
The site then pops your tastes onto the whisky flavour map, showing which casks will suit you best as well as offering some suggestions across a range of prices.
Here’s where Sam came out when I showed the new site to him at the end of last week.
Once you’ve selected a whisky, you can then design your packaging by choosing the colour scheme and adding a personalised message/name to the box and bottle. (There’s also a copper plaque inside where there’s room for longer messages.)
Design your own packaging.
Some examples of the finished products.
At the launch event on Tuesday night I was able to have a play about with all this on a slightly smaller scale, taking away a sample of of one of the whiskies now available through Glenfiddich’s new site.
Time to go through this Taste Profiler then…
There were four whiskies on the night, one per quadrant of the flavour map.
New UK Brand Ambassador Mark Thompson was on hand to bottle the chosen samples.
We also got to choose the colour of our sample box and booklet (naturally), but I suspect you’re rather more interested in the liquid…
Glenfiddich 23 Year Old 1991 (cask 10534) – 55.9% abv
The “elegant and floral” Glenfiddich was aged for 23 years in a single refill hogshead. Filled April 1st (oo-er) 1991 it spent the intervening years in warehouse 29 before being bottled at natural cask strength. A full bottle will set you back £590 through the Gallery.
Tasting Note for Glenfiddich 23 Year Old 1991 (cask 10534)
Nose: “Hard Williams pear” is spot on at cask strength, sugar snap peas too, almond oil and just a little vanilla or clotted cream fudge. Water reveals more fragrant depth with more green notes and sweet blossoms.
Palate: Some fizzy apple belts at full strength as well as fresh apple and orange fruit salad. Floral with pot pourri and some fragrant oak on the tail.
Finish: Green apple skin and dry scones.
Overall: Very elegant and quite floral. As Brian Kinsman says, “The classic flavours of an aged Glenfiddich, if on the lighter end – wonderfully clean and crisp.”
During the evening Brian and Global Brand Ambassador Ian Miller took us through four more whiskies, from an example of classic distillery character, to an unusually long rum finish (12 years!), to a hugely Sherried example before we were invited to a private tasting with Brian of a couple more casks. The message was clear: they have a huge range of casks to choose from across different ages and flavour profiles. And if some of the available whiskies start selling out? Well, Brian will be able to select another to take its place from their extensive stocks. They’re rightly proud not only to be in a position to make Glenfiddich Gallery work in terms of stock, but also that they’ve gone ahead and made this personalised online service a reality.