Thursday, June 20, 2024

Review | Glenfiddich Perpetual Collection Vat 01

The Perpetual Collection is a series of whiskies created by the famous Speyside distillery of Glenfiddich. The series is exclusive to the travel retail market and are therefore only available in selected airports worldwide. The final whiskies are taken from huge marrying solera vats at the distillery. These have never been emptied, hence the 'perpetual' tag, and are said to contain some very old whisky. 

The Glenfiddich Perpetual Collection Vat 01 is the entry point into the range and has seen maturation predominantly in American oak, both virgin oak and ex-bourbon barrels. There is also a small percentage of European oak and ex-red wine casks also. Vat 02 is matured entirely in European oak ex-sherry casks, while Vat 03 carries a 15 years old age statement and has been matured in a combination of American virgin oak, ex-bourbon and European oak ex-sherry casks. Vat 04 is 18 years old and has seen maturation in ex-bourbon and ex-Oloroso sherry barrels.

Glenfiddich is located in the Speyside town of Dufftown - this is the unofficial capital of the region and boasts six distilleries. It was constructed by William Grant and his children in 1886 and 1887. Glenfiddich remains owned by William Grant & Sons today, making it one of the last family owned distilleries in Scotland. The first spirit famously flowed off the still on Christmas Day 1887. 

The name is taken from the Fiddich glen, the valley through which the River Fiddich flows and in which the distillery lies. This translates as 'valley of the deer' from Gaelic. The distillery is massive, especially since a large recent expansion was completed, and now has a capacity of 21 million litres per year. This makes Glenfiddich one of the largest single malt distilleries in Scotland.

The Glenfiddich Perpetual Collection has been created by Brian Kinsman, the Master Blender for Glenfiddich. Vat 01 is bottled at 40% ABV and is available in selected airports around the world. We purchased ours at London Heathrow and paid £52 for the one litre bottle.

Our Tasting Notes

The colour is vibrant gold and the nose light, bright and uplifting. Fresh aromas of green pear and orange blossom kick things off and are quickly joined by vanilla, cocoa and toffee apple. Hints of ripe tropical fruit and white chocolate sit underneath and add depth. A further hint of woody spice, like cinnamon, sits in the background.

On the palate this whisky is fresh and vibrant. Luscious fruity notes lead the way - think of crisp green pear, guava, pineapple and a hint of white peach. Sweeter notes then evolve to join. These are reminiscent of butterscotch, white chocolate and icing sugar, with a hint of marshmallow also. There is also a hint of that fairground toffee apple note from the nose. Some more savoury notes sit underneath - imagine cinnamon and bitter cocoa powder, plus some freshly sawn oak. Hints of bitter orange zest and oat cookies are also evident. 

The finish is of decent length with the fruity and sweet characteristics holding together well. These slowly fade to reveal more of the spicy and woody elements, especially the drying oak and a pleasant peppery warmth. A hint of ground ginger appears right at the very end.

What's The Verdict?

We have always been fans of Glenfiddich but have not revisited it for a while. This bottling was delicious and we cannot wait to sample the others in the series now. Vat 01 is light, sweet and refreshing. Perfect neat or over ice. We also tried it with soda water as a highball type drink and it worked well too. The Perpetual Collection seems to be well and truly re-establishing Glenfiddich in the travel retail sector, which has taken time to recover after the Covid pandemic.

We had a specific criteria in mind when looking in the travel retail store at Heathrow - we needed a light whisky for a hot climate, predominantly ex-bourbon cask and something that would hold our interest for the entirity of our trip and be versatile. Glenfiddich Perpetual Collection Vat 01 fitted each one and was the perfect choice, despite what the salesman tried to tell us.

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