Scottish whisky distillery Glenfiddich has launched its limited-edition, 29-Year-Old Grand Yozakura, the first Single Malt Scotch Whisky to be finished in rare ex-Awamori casks.
Awamori, the oldest distilled alcoholic spirit in Japan, is made using long-grain indica rice and is traditionally stored in clay pots, with only a small proportion ever aged in oak casks.
The limited-edition expression has been released to celebrate Hanami – the “cherry blossom festival”, where Japan appreciates the temporal beauty of nature through the sakura tree. It is a time for renewal and optimism, where these fleeting moments are best experienced illuminated after dark, in what is called Yozakura or ‘night sakura’.
In the same way, the brand feels this marriage of rare liquids, once gone, will never be replicated, but present consumers with a chance to experience a beautiful collision of cultures and flavours.
“We are always looking to experiment with new finishes, so when the chance arose to acquire rare ex-Awamori casks, we saw an opportunity to push the boundaries and experiment with this highly unusual spirit,” explained Glenfiddich Malt Master Brian Kinsman. “We always learn something new when we lead with innovation, so taking a risk is worth it, and in the case of Awamori, we trialled a very small number of casks at a younger age first.
With an accentuated mouthfeel character and zingy herbal notes, Kinsman believes the expression is unlike anything else in the series or anything he has tasted before.
“Since embarking on this fusion, it’s been fascinating to focus on the oak and how it has been changed and adapted by contact with another spirit,” he continued. “The six-month finish in ex-Awamori Casks complements the smooth Glenfiddich taste profile, elevating the finish and lifting the flavour to a new level.”
This expression is the latest release within the brand’s renowned Grand Series, a collection of single malts that are characterised by innovative and experimental cask finishing.
Bringing this meeting of cultures to life, the packaging of Grand Yozakura has been created by Japanese artist June, who creates visions incorporating Japanese culture and landscapes. The packaging includes a bespoke topper and a traditional poem printed onto each specially designed outer.
For more information, go to glenfiddich.com