Glenfiddich is releasing a limited edition single malt with a dessert wine heritage. Winter Storm is a 21-year-old whisky finished in rare Canadian ice wine barrels.
This whisky is part of a new ongoing series for Glenfiddich. Winter Storm is the third release in the experimental series, which previously included Project XX and IPA cask. It’s a showcase for unique (and thus far successful) adventures in whisky for the brand — a sort of discretionary canvas that’s meant to offer the public new experiences without limiting the distillery. Malt master Brian Kinsman says they’ll likely release one a year going forward.
Kinsman put the project together after years of encouragement from Canadian Brand Ambassador Beth Havers to try using ice wine to finish whisky. Ice wine is a rare and rich wine, harvested in the worst of conditions. In Canada, to legally put "ice wine" on the label, the external temperature must be -8 degrees Fahrenheit, at which time the totally frozen grapes are hand-picked and crushed in the cold so that significantly less water enters the fermentation process. The end result is a complex and syrupy after-dinner style that can be red or white depending on the grapes used.
The casks Glenfiddich used for Winter Storm held Riesling grapes for nine years before being repurposed for whisky. Because ice wine has such a dominant character, Kinsman says he needed older whisky stock, though nobody is complaining.
Winter Storm is the smallest production and the highest price point from the experimental series to date. There are just short of 8,000 bottles of this gem entering the market over the next few months (it’s available in the distillery today but will not be available in the U.S. until next month). Once it’s gone, Kinsman says that there aren’t currently any plans in the works for a second batch, so this could be it — for a while anyway.