A week with Peter

21 July 2014

When someone is a direct descendant of William Grant you can be pretty sure they will have inherited some of that mans appetite for hard graft and that it will be carried out with a dedicated passion. This is very much the case with Peter Gordon who despite a very busy schedule for his visit to Glenfiddich last week still found time to personally catch up and formally welcome this years artistic cohort to the distillery his great great grandfather built over 126 years ago. Peter was very much the originator of the idea to have a residency programme at Glenfiddich and as such always takes a very close interest in its progress each year. Monday evening saw us all assemble in the Robbie Dhu Center where Peter hosted the annual welcoming dinner, expertly prepared by one of our talented in house chefs, Alan Robertson. 

The evening was enhanced with the presence of another great supporter of the programme and one the whisky world's great women, Libby Laffery. Libby retired from William Grant and Sons earlier this year after 44 years with the company where she latterly had responsibility for Scottish PR. A native of Girvan, she began her career at our distillery there before heading up to Dufftown to take a managing role in the Glenfiddich visitor centre. Over the years she also organised Glenfiddich's sponsorship of the Highland Games and the annual Spirit of Scotland Awards.

So with all these guinea pigs present it seemed an appropriate occasion to test out a selection of Glenfiddich serves so we could choose one in advance to serve at Friday's gallery opening. The Glenfiddich sonic is a simple but refreshing serve presented in a high ball glass. A measure of 12,15, or 18 year old Glenfiddich is poured over crushed ice and is respectively garnished with either lemon, orange or lime depending on the age of spirit being used. The drink is then topped up with equal measures of tonic and soda water... hence the name sonic! After a through testing the unanimous verdict was that the 15 year old with orange was the most flavoursome. 

In between the arduous tasting and comparing of serves Peter was able to speak in turn to each artist about their experiences so far in residence and learn more about their work. It was one of these conversations that resulted in Tania meeting again with Peter later in the week, where he was able to his explain to her the subtle ways that the flavour profile of a maturing spirit builds resonance and develops not unlike like a lingering musical note.

Peter was also able to meet with a party of special guests who arrived from China in the middle of the week. The group comprised of our selection partner, Cheng Xixing of the Don Gallery in Shanghai and three editors from leading Chinese arts publications. The informal lunch time meeting was held in the Gordon family ancestral home, a farm house located in the isolated splendour of the Cabrach. With no 3G or indeed any mobile signal available, the tranquillity of this high moorland is about as great a contrast to hustle and bustle of Shanghai and Beijing as one can find.