Glenfiddich’s Experimental releases are pushing the distillery in new directions. Fire & Cane, the latest, is perhaps the perfect balance of price and flavor. Winter Storm is, undoubtedly, the best whisky of this excellent collection. It’s 21 Year Old Glenfiddich, however, and that comes with a high price. Fire & Cane is affordable, and dead-set on competing with peated whiskies coming from Islay.
Peated. Right. Let’s get that out of the way first. Glenfiddich isn’t a peated scotch; it’s from Speyside. However, much like its sister distillery has been doing (The Balvenie), Glenfiddich produces peated whisky once a year just before the big annual cleaning when the distillery is closed down for maintenance.
Glenfiddich's use of Highland Peat means (according to the distillery) that it tends to be softer and less medicinal. The original peated single malt scotch made by Glenfiddich was listed at 45ppm (similar to Laphroaig on the peat scale), but it’s been vatted with unpeated Glenfiddich, bringing the peat influences significantly lower in the final product. The final peat levels were measured at a significantly lower number, which surprises me, because I find the whisky having heavy peat influences. The whisky is finished in rum casks, giving it an extra level of texture.
Nose: Sweet smouldering char notes easily come through upon first pour, though settle through as the drink rests in the glass. The sweetness is rich, seasoned with cinnamon spice, and hard candy notes. The rum barrel finish is present, with those sweet notes found in the 21 year old Caribbean Cask.
Palate: Familiar Glenfiddich notes of rich caramel sweetness and baking spice notes, with peat that hangs on the palate through each sip. Really sweet, rich, wonderful pour of whisky. The finish stirs memories of Glenfiddich, with that touch of brown sugar sweetness.
★ ★ ★ ☆ Excellent, a near must-have in its category
The trend for the last several years among peated Islay whiskies has been providing complex cask finishes. Glenfiddich joins this category with a release that fits uniquely within a range of many competing products. Glenfiddich fans will be familiar with the nose and palate, but if you love peat, the added lingering smoldering campfire peat makes this a terrific pour. At this price-point, it's a unique offering that is likely to do well among single malt scotch consumers.
*Whisky Cabinet Rating Explained:
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ Not recommended
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ Good whisky, but not a ‘must-have’
★ ★ ☆ ☆ Your great regular rotation whisky that'll come and go
★ ★ ★ ☆ Excellent, a near must-have
★ ★ ★ ★ Extraordinary, memorable, and original