Glenfiddich

Glenfiddich is Scotland's best-known and most successful distillery. It is located in the heart of Speyside, in Dufftown to be precise. Also known as "The Giant", it has an impressive annual production capacity of 21 million litres. No other Single Malt is as popular worldwide. Glenfiddich Whiskies are usually matured in small Ex-Bourbon casks made from mild American white oak. This ensures that the fine, fruity flavour of the Malt Whisky is expressed particularly well.

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Information about the Distillery
347 Bottles
Scotland, Speyside
-3.123686 57.451336
Active
Wm. Grant & Sons
10 x 9,000 l
Normal
20 x 4,500 l
Normal
24 x 60,000 l
12 t
1886
21,000,000 l
http://www.glenfiddich.com
Average tasting notes Tasting notes
Calculated from 3,480 Tasting Notes
i
Nosing
Fruit:
Sweet:
Vanilla:
Oak:
Sherry:
Spices:
Apple:
Pear:
Caramel:
Honey:
Malt:
Peat Smoke:
Zitrus:
Nuts:
Herbs:
Cinnamon:
Chocolate:
Floral:
Raisin:
Plum:
Dried Fruit:
Green Apple:
Herb:
Almonds:
Berries:
Orange:
Alcohol:
Peach:
Oil:
Cake:
Grape:
Cherry:
Heather:
Leather:
Dark Chocolate:
Banana:
Bonfire Smoke:
Clove:
Pepper:
Pineapple:
Lemon:
Chili:
Tropical Fruit:
Fig:
Grass:
Wheat:
Hazelnut:
Hay:
Coffee:
Melon:
Date:
Barley:
Mint:
Ham:
Nutmeg:
Ginger:
Blackberry:
Coconut:
Medicinal Smoke:
Grapefruit:
Lemon Peel:
Kiwi:
Black Currant:
Rye:
Seaweed:
Walnut:
Maritime Notes:
Lime:
Strawberry:
Tasting
Sweet:
Fruit:
Oak:
Spices:
Sherry:
Malt:
Nuts:
Caramel:
Vanilla:
Peat Smoke:
Oil:
Apple:
Pear:
Zitrus:
Herb:
Cinnamon:
Honey:
Pepper:
Herbs:
Chocolate:
Ginger:
Leather:
Raisin:
Alcohol:
Chili:
Dried Fruit:
Dark Chocolate:
Floral:
Green Apple:
Tobacco:
Grape:
Berries:
Lime:
Orange:
Date:
Hazelnut:
Plum:
Lemon:
Peach:
Barley:
Bonfire Smoke:
Heather:
Coffee:
Tropical Fruit:
Cake:
Clove:
Nutmeg:
Maritime Notes:
Fig:
Cherry:
Almonds:
Banana:
Hay:
Wheat:
Grass:
Seaweed:
Pineapple:
Mint:
Grapefruit:
Blackberry:
Walnut:
Medicinal Smoke:
Salt:
Lemon Peel:
Iodine:
Strawberry:
Ham:
Coconut:
Melon:
Kiwi:
Finish
Oak:
Sweet:
Spices:
Fruit:
Malt:
Peat Smoke:
Sherry:
Nuts:
Herb:
Oil:
Vanilla:
Honey:
Zitrus:
Chocolate:
Pepper:
Pear:
Dark Chocolate:
Caramel:
Apple:
Alcohol:
Chili:
Herbs:
Coffee:
Leather:
Ginger:
Cinnamon:
Almonds:
Tobacco:
Maritime Notes:
Bonfire Smoke:
Heather:
Dried Fruit:
Raisin:
Barley:
Seaweed:
Cherry:
Floral:
Tropical Fruit:
Grape:
Green Apple:
Wheat:
Grapefruit:
Cake:
Peach:
Nutmeg:
Plum:
Orange:
Hazelnut:
Berries:
Grass:
Lemon:
Salt:
Iodine:
Hay:
Medicinal Smoke:
Walnut:
Mint:
Coconut:
Lime:
Black Currant:
Kiwi:
Banana:
Date:
Fig:
Clove:
Pineapple:
Blackberry:
Melon:
Lemon Peel:
Details about the Distillery

The Whisky

Glenfiddich is one of the most prolific distilleries in the entire Scottish Whisky world. The distillery is located on the hills of Speyside, on the outskirts of the bustling Whisky town of Dufftown. The well-known Glenfiddich "brand" offers an extremely extensive range of official bottlings and is also the best-selling Single Malt Scotch Whisky in the world. In addition to the different maturations and cask-strength editions, the core range consists of various ageing bottlings, such as a 12-year-old, a 15-year-old, an 18-year-old and a 21-year-old. The 15-year-old Glenfiddich is produced using a special Solera process that has been reinterpreted for Whisky. Here, the youngest Whisky in the Solera Vat is 15 years old. 
Glenfiddich boasts Cask 843, filled in 1937, as the oldest Single Malt on the market. The cask with the 64-year-old malt was monitored by ten malt masters during the maturation process. In the end, only 61 bottles could be released.
It is very rare to find independent bottlings of Glenfiddich on the market. Although Glenfiddich used to produce its own blends, the current Single Malt is used exclusively for Grant's blends.

 

The Production

Glenfiddich has an impressive production capacity of 21 million litres per year, hence the nickname "The Giant". The water source is the nearby Robbie Dhu. William Grant bought what is now the Glenfiddich Estate at the time to secure access to this water source. But what is even more impressive than the distillery's production capacity and history is that this sprawling but beautiful site was allegedly founded with a starting capital of just £120.

 

The Pot Stills

As you would expect for such an incredible production capacity, the distillery has 42 stills since the construction of a new stillhouse in 2019. These include 14 pear-shaped wash stills with a capacity of 9,000 litres and 28 spirit stills with a capacity of 4,500 litres. 
The spirit stills in the old distillery have a constricted segment, and the others have a reflux bowl instead. Both are very small and are located in the centre of the stills. These stills are still fuelled directly with gas. The new stillhouse was put into operation in 2020. The new stills here are also shaped differently according to the old ones, but are heated with steam.
The distillery always produces in a combination of three: a wash still is filled with approx. 9,000 litres, after which the alcohol is divided into two spirit stills. One of these is a bowl still with a reflux bowl, the other has a constriction. The spirits are then blended to obtain the fruity and mild raw spirit that Glenfiddich wants.
Since 1957, Glenfiddich has had its own coppersmiths, who are responsible for building the stills used in production. This was introduced at the special request of Charles Grant, the great-grandson of founder William Grant. In 1974, 16 new stills were installed in the distillery and the latest expansion took place in 2019.

The Maltings

Nowadays, the malt required is brought over from the neighbouring Balvenie distillery, which is also owned by William Grant & Sons. Until 1958, the distillery used its own malting floors, but due to the high production capacity, it became impossible to produce the required malt in the distillery itself. The malt used in production is unpeated.

 

The Mashing

Glenfiddich was the first distillery to use continuous mashing. Four mash tuns, which were doubled to their current level in 2019, support production.
Here, 160 tonnes of barley malt are crushed and processed into Wort. The distillery produces 16 batches of 10 tonnes per day. The 10 tonnes of barley malt are mixed with 39,000 litres of water and poured into the mash tun at 65 degrees. After draining, the second water is added with 10,000 litres and a temperature of 85 degrees. The third water is no longer used as there is too little sugar and starch to achieve good fermentation. It is therefore used as recycling water for the next pass.
The draff that used to be sold to farmers is now mainly used to produce bio-methane. The rest is still suitable as organic fertiliser.

The Fermentation

Glenfiddich doubled its production in 2019 and since then has also been working with 48 washbacks instead of 24. These are still made from ordinary Douglas fir. The wood comes from Canada. The new washbacks had to be completely assembled on site as they did not fit through the doors due to their size.
Before fermentation, the washbacks are filled with 40,000 litres of Wort and 250 kilograms of yeast. A lot of alcohol is initially produced in the first 48 hours. After this time, the lactobacterial fermentation begins, which produces many esters and fruity flavours of apple and pear. In total, Glenfiddich ferments for 72 hours.
 

The Warehouses

Glenfiddich is proud of another rather unusual aspect: it has its own bottling plant. Distilleries very rarely have their own bottling plant, which makes the distillery all the more exceptional.
Glenfiddich matures all of its Single Malt Whisky in an enormous complex of over 40 warehouses, which have a capacity of up to 1.3 million casks. The casks are stored in Dunnage Warehouses and Palettised Warehouses, which are necessary due to the large number of casks.
Shortly after Charles Grant brought coppersmiths onsite in 1957, Gordon Grant built up a dedicated cooperage in 1959. It is still active today, making it one of the last in the whole of Scotland. Glenfiddich uses a combination of oak casks, such as Rum casks from the Caribbean (in the case of the 21-year-old Rum Finish), American Bourbon casks or Sherry butts from Jerez in Spain.
95 per cent of the bottlings have a double maturation. This means that the Whisky is stored in Bourbon and Sherry casks and then married in so-called "marrying tanks". These huge oak barrels hold 2,000 litres and are fitted with a refuelling pipe as they cannot be moved.

 

The History

Glenfiddich is very special in the scope of Scottish distilleries as it is still managed today by its founders, William Grant & Sons. The distillery was founded between 1886-87 by William Grant, who also founded Balvenie and Mortlach. The equipment was bought from Mrs Cummings of Cardow Distillery and launched its production on Christmas Day in 1887. In 1892, William Grant took a break from managing Glenfiddich to found the nearby Balvenie distillery, which is still in the possession of Wm. Grant & Sons. In 1898, Glenfiddich had its own brush with the Pattison crisis. At the time, Pattison was Glenfiddich's biggest customer, as they mass-bought Glenfiddich Single Malt to use in their Blends. When Pattison filed for bankruptcy, the Grant family decided that they would begin to blend their own Whisky. Standfast became one of their major Blends, and quickly became a business success. Nowadays, Glenfiddich's Single Malt goes exclusively into the Grant's Blend.

With the turn of the new century, William Grant formalized the status of Glenfiddich as a family business by creating William Grant & Sons, the official name for the family company. As the twentieth century progressed, Glenfiddich proved its business tenacity on several occasions: it's innovative tactics setting it apart from its peers. In 1923, while prohibition was at its peak, William's grandson Grant Gordon joined the family firm and surprised everyone by increasing the level of production at the distillery. When Prohibition was repealed, Glenfiddich was one of only six Scottish distilleries still operating, and thanks to Gordon's savvy business move, the distillery was ready to meet a new surge in demand for fine, aged single malt. Glenfiddich profited greatly thanks to this smart gamble.

In 1961, Glenfiddich's distinctive three-sided bottle was introduced. The design was created by Hans Schleger and has since become iconic. This move has been acclaimed as a great marketing technique, quite literally setting Glenfiddich apart from the other bottles on the shelf. This same year, Glenfiddich released their single malt as an official bottling for the first time, defying critics who said that such a venture would not be successful. The sales success allowed Glenfiddich to really build themselves into a 'brand', virtually creating the idea of a Single Malt range

The end of the twentieth century continued successfully, with Glenfiddich continuing to expand its range of Single Malts, including adding several collectors' editions. In 1998, the malt master at the distillery invented the Solera Vat, which is used in the marrying process of the Glenfiddich 15-year-old. The process creates constant flavours over the batches, which have been critically acclaimed.

In 2010, the roof of a warehouse collapsed due to extremely heavy snowfall. Many barrels could be saved but had to be bottled quickly. This is how the "Snow Phoenix" bottling was created, which is also intended as a tribute to the efforts of the helpers.

The Visitor Centre

Glenfiddich was the first distillery to open a reception centre for visitors, back in 1969. In 2005, the visitors centre went through a £1.7 million rebuild. The centre now welcomes 125,000 visitors a year, which provides significant financial support to the site. The visitor centre includes multiple tours of the distillery, a gift shop, bar and restaurant.

Visitor information

The Glenfiddich Distillery
Dufftown
Keith
Banffshire
AB55 4DH
Tel: +44 (0)1340-822211
Email: glenfiddichbookings@remove-this.wgrant.com 

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