Sunday, January 9, 2011

Glenfiddich Snow Phoenix and My Twist of Fate

Eventually, you may begin to appreciate a dram of Glenfiddich Snow Phoenix, but respect may take a few sips.  That is my experience, because there is something that works.  If I were to score it by nose, taste, body and finish, then its at 87 points based upon N21, T22, B23, F21.  I will explain in a moment, but first the history.

Glenfiddich Snow Phoenix was developed and released after several Glenfiddich Cask Warehouses had roofs destroyed from snow damage. Many casks within these warehouses had to be blended in order to avoid serious loss.  As a result, Snow Phoenix arose as the no age statement blend of a variety of these casks of varying ages.  Perhaps, someone knows whether any casks in the blend exceed fifteen years. I understood otherwise. It is now being sold in the U.S.

A number of Glenfiddich Dinners at The Palm Restaurant featured Snow Phoenix.  This expression was a temptation due to respect for Glenfiddich and its unfortunate loss.  I liked the way it turned a mess into a money maker. The price was worth taking a risk.

After U.S. Distribution delays, the introduction, and a few questionable comments from some single malt bloggers, among other internet acquaintances, I 'too quickly' labeled it 'snow penis.' This was prompted upon the what seemed like marketing overdrive and a desire to challenge it. The first sip was not it.  It did not help to view comments by other experienced imbibers. In the end, the dram was well above average. Although the snow god may have screwed with Glenfiddich, these whisky lords rose up and threw back a bunsen that does not burn given the market and limitations!

I like the primarily sherry nose, get almonds, enjoyed the body, but the finish, well. The mouth feel for me became better as I sipped a bit. It is unique and takes over in a friendly, yet pronounced Glenfiddich way. I don't think that scoring on one sip will work for me.  After two to three, I get it.

My recommendation? Well, if you get the chance, have more than a few sips, perhaps three, before you throw this bottle back into the snowy cabinet of oblivion.  Glenfiddich fans should buy this expression. And if you find this bottle not to your tasting, I won't fault you, but the body on this Snow driven expression is worth the experience, IMHO.  I have had about four to five drams this week. I will move on to others, but there is something that I have yet to identify and savor a bit for this price point. What have others found?

It is worth the $89.99 that I paid for it.  For me, it's a fun bottle to double up on and pull out in ten years.  It is dynamic and complex for a Glenfiddich. It has some parallels to Glenmorangie Astar in that it is the no age statement Glenfiddich of 2010-2011.  I think that I'd prefer the Glenfiddich 21 rum finish, but that now averages $130 a bottle. There are other unique Glenfiddich expressions that I have been fortunate enough to sip. However, none recently due to controls put in place by the distillery. Now, if I had just taken notes.  However, those bottles are likely in the history books. 

I have yet to see any Indie Glenfiddich Casks being sampled at the Hansell's, Binny's, or Shayne's Events. Perhaps, I have to look harder. They may be older. I hope to taste more than the garden variety Glenfiddich expressions.  However, I consider the Snow Phoenix to be an historic oddity worth the experience.  Some with more Glenfiddich experience may rank it higher.

1 comment:

Freddy at Glenfiddich said...

Just came across you're Snow Phoenix post, I can confirm that it's a vatting of between 13 to over 30 years old whisky. Trying to find some in Chicago today, but it looks like the whole lot has sold out.