In January 2010, after weeks of heavy snow and record low temperatures, four feet of densely compacted snow covered the Glenfiddich distillery roofs, which housed hundreds of casks of fine aged whisky, gently maturing in semi-darkness.
On the evening of 7th January, in the most remote part of the distillery estate, a number of warehouse roofs dramatically collapsed under the weight, leaving the maturing oak casks exposed to the night sky. In wintery conditions and temperatures of -19˚C, distillery staff swung into action, working round the clock to clear the snow.
Glenfiddich Malt Master, Brian Kinsman, commented: “Standing amongst the wreckage and exposed casks, we were working out our next steps and assessing the situation. I was thinking about how the casks, some of which were very old, contained some beautiful whisky and it occurred to me that they would create a fantastic non-aged single malt. A limited edition bottling from the whiskies in the damaged warehouses would be an appropriate way of celebrating the pioneering spirit of the distillery team at this moment in Glenfiddich’s history.”
“A photographer was shooting the scene and rather fittingly, when we looked at the pictures, the light shining through the warehouse roofs looked like a phoenix rising above us. I suppose this was the moment of conception of Glenfiddich Snow Phoenix.”
Snow Phoenix was created by marrying together natural strength and non-chill filtered casks of different ages and finishes, including American oak and Oloroso sherry. The result is a single malt, gold in colour with bright copper highlights. Its nose is creamy vanilla mingling with vibrant notes of apple and pear complemented by the scent of fresh blossom. The taste is reminiscent of apples roasted in the embers of a campfire, sweetened with heather honey and accompanied by a piece of chocolate, rich and complex with a whiff of burned sugar, coffee and woodsmoke. It has an exceptionally long finish – austere sherry notes mellow into a satisfying sweetness. The distinctive monochrome packaging and amazing photography pays dramatic homage to this exceptional whisky and details this exceptional story.
Shifting snow around the clock gave the Glenfiddich distillery team a deep admiration for those who work in extreme conditions. Glenfiddich has therefore dedicated Snow Phoenix to the Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team (CMRT), who battle harsh environments to save lives in the heart of Speyside, and has made a special contribution to their funds.
To celebrate this partnership, Brian Kinsman invited a group of CMRT volunteers to a unique mid-mountain tasting where they developed the Snow Phoenix tasting notes. By conducting the tasting notes at a high altitude, Glenfiddich’s Malt Master was able to explore the difference temperature has on the taste of whisky.
Glenfiddich Snow Phoenix is a one of a kind, limited edition single malt Scotch whisky which has been bottled in 2010.
One thousand bottles will be made available exclusively to members of the online club, Glenfiddich Explorers.
Glenfiddich Snow Phoenix Tasting Notes
Colour: Gold with bright copper highlights.
Nose: Creamy vanilla aromas mingle with vibrant notes of apple and pear – the whole complemented by the scent of fresh blossom.
Taste: This is Glenfiddich in the wild – apples roasted in the embers of a campfire, sweetened with heather honey and accompanied by a piece of chocolate, rich and complex with a whiff of burned sugar, coffee and woodsmoke.
Finish: An exceptionally long finish – austere sherry notes mellow into a satisfying sweetness.