The Glenfiddich Ultimate Launch Event

8 April 2013

While I enjoy a great deal of travel in my role as Global Ambassador for Glenfiddich, few events are as enjoyable as the launch of a new expression, especially one as exciting as this.

This month saw me travel to Xiamen, China to launch a very special whisky – Glenfiddich Ultimate, a 38 Year Old Single Malt. The numbers '3' and '8' are extremely auspicious in Chinese culture, and with the popularity of whisky (especially Glenfiddich) growing rapidly in China, it’s only fitting that we launched this expression exclusively there. 

The launch event took place at the stunning Seaview Resort, http://www.xmseaview.com/en/ one of the top 5-star hotels in the city – a majestic venue that truly befitted this luxurious special edition. As well as a tasting of the 38 Year Old Glenfiddich Ultimate, we also served our 21 Year Old and 30 Year Old expressions paired with some exceptionally fine food. I am always delighted when pairing Glenfiddich with unique cuisine, and with no fewer than seven courses to tantalize our taste buds; I feel I must share them with you.

Amuse bouche: Smoked duck breast, smoked salmon

 Parma ham, honeydew melon with Italian cheese wonton

Seaview Resort “Fo Tiao Qiang”. This is a Chinese delicacy; a special stew/soup which, names translates as ‘Buddha Jumps Over the Wall’

Pan-fried cod with French potato cake and asparagus

Glenfiddich blueberry sorbet

Carbon grilled Angus fillet with butter baked potato, green vegetable and black pepper sauce

 Glenfiddich Tiramisu, served inside a fantastic ice sculpture 

But the star of the show was, of course, the 38 Year Old. Served between courses, we warmed the liquid in our hands and I proceeded to guide our guests through a tasting.

First the nose. Our 38 Year Old has immediate vibrant oak notes with a rich vanilla toffee aroma. But the nose really unfolds as the liquid is brought up to temperature, developing into fresh summer fruits with a distinctly floral character.

After warming the liquid, we enjoyed our first sip. On the palate, this expression has a delicious wood spiciness from the sherry butts, complemented by layers of creamy vanilla from Bourbon barrels and rich flavours of caramelised fruits.

The finish is as refined as you’d expect – long, velvety, with a rewarding sweetness.

Although I guided the guests through the tasting, I wasn’t doing all the talking. We were privileged enough to hear from some wonderful guest speakers at the launch, which really made for an inspiring evening.

Howard Cai, the most famous whisky expert in the country and newly nominated Keeper of Quaich shared some of his vast Single Malt knowledge with us and expressed his close, personal connection to Glenfiddich. Chen Bai Yu, assistant publisher of Food & Wine and Sam Lu, chair of a whisky collectors’ club also shared their journeys and experience of Glenfiddich.

We've made just 600 bottles of Glenfiddich Ultimate available this year. As you'd expect for such a limited release, each bottle is presented in an exquisite case made from hand blown glass. It looks great but tastes even better. An investment for some, perhaps, but too delicious not to drink.

All in all, it was a fantastic launch of a very special whisky indeed. I look forward to returning to Xiamen soon – hopefully someone has kept a few drams of Glenfiddich Ultimate to one side for me!

You can follow Ian Millar on twitter: @distillermillar