Glenfiddich, renowned as the World’s Most Awarded Single Malt Scotch Whisky, is defying tradition with its latest offering, the Grand Yozakura. This innovative release, a part of the esteemed Grand Series, marks a groundbreaking moment in the world of whisky as it becomes the first Single Malt Scotch Whisky to be matured in incredibly rare Japanese ex-Awamori casks. Even acquiring just two of these casks was a monumental undertaking for Glenfiddich, making this particular single malt bottling especially notable for its relative rarity.
The reveal of the Glenfiddich Grand Yozakura
The Grand Yozakura, a very limited-edition 29-Year-Old Whisky, spent its maturation at the Glenfiddich Distillery in Dufftown before undergoing a unique finishing process. It was introduced to oak casks that once cradled Awamori, Japan’s oldest distilled alcoholic spirit. Awamori, made from long-grain indica rice and traditionally aged in clay pots, adds a touch of Japanese finesse to this Scotch. The Grand Yozakura celebrates Hanami, Japan’s cherry blossom festival, specifically focusing on Yozakura, or ‘night sakura,’ a moment of appreciation for nature’s transient beauty that occurs after dark.
This rare marriage of cultures and flavours results in a complex whisky that tantalizes the senses. The nose is greeted with an explosion of ripe fruits and caramelized onions, followed by an indulgent layer of toasted oak and creamy vanilla. The journey culminates in a crescendo of oak on the finish, creating a symphony of flavours.
Brian Kinsman, Glenfiddich Malt Master, shared his thoughts on this audacious venture: “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. This is the first time that Single Malt Scotch Whisky has been finished in these rare casks.”
The Grand Yozakura was the inspiration for a Japanese-themed multi-course dinner
Kinsman elaborated, “Awamori is much like whisky, with a diverse range of flavours. 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. 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, accentuating the mouthfeel characters and zingy herbal notes unlike anything I have tasted before.”
The Grand Yozakura joins Glenfiddich’s esteemed Grand Series, a collection of single malts that redefines luxury and transforms special moments into unforgettable experiences. The series boasts:
Grande Couronne: Aged for 26 years and finished in rare French cognac casks.
Grand Cru: Matured for 23 years and finished in rare French cuvée casks.
Gran Cortes: A 22-year-old expression finished in sherry casks known as “Palo Cortado.”
These expressions symbolize opulence and are crafted to enhance celebratory occasions, offering a unique and indulgent tasting journey.
A superstar line-up of the Grand Series
The launch of the Grand Yozakura took place at the Glenfiddich Dreamscape Banquet, an enchanting event that blended gastronomy, art, and fantasy. Hosted by Mr Ross Blainey, Glenfiddich Brand Ambassador for Australia & New Zealand, the evening featured a three-course Japanese-themed dinner curated by Chef James Won. This culinary celebration not only honoured the Grand Yozakura, but also embraced the essence of cherry blossom appreciation in Japan, creating a truly magical experience for all attendees.
Chef James Won introducing one of the curated courses
Even the hors d’oeuvres were something special
Given the exquisite rarity of the 29-year-old Grand Yozakura, we were understandably (and regrettably) unable to score a taste, but the chaps from Glenfiddich more than made up for this by serving every other expression in the Grand Series with the delightful meal, including a first for Malaysia, the 22-year-old Gran Cortes, which emerged as a favourite among a number of guests. The always-enjoyable 21-year-old Gran Reserva, Glenfiddich’s outstanding rum cask-finished single malt, was also poured.
We can hardly wait to see what might come next in this intriguing and opulent series of fine single malts!