Glenfiddich Experimental Series Edition 002: Project XX (20)
It’s not every day that I get to taste a scotch that isn’t even on shelves in Southern California yet, but that’s exactly what happened when I went to this little “secret soiree”. I had been looking forward to this night with immense anticipation for several days; I mean the company I was to experience this tasting adventure with included members of some of LA’s prestigious whisk(e)y clubs along with several members of the spirits trade. The last time I attended anything as exclusively comparable was when I got to go to a private event hosted at the Blizzard Entertainment campus for the actors and their friends/family for StarCraft 2.
Traffic is a mean co-conspirator and being more of a pain than usual I was a bit nervous; that is until I realized it was due to the premiere of Kong: Skull Island happening just a few miles down the road. I excitedly walked into Lost Property, armed with my trusty “Log of Spirits”(which coincidentally enough, is a Glenfiddich vinyl notebook) plus my trusty pen and met the host for the evening’s festivities Brand Ambassador for Glenfiddich, West, Mrs. Jennifer Wren.
Tonight we tasted 4 different expressions from Glenfiddich, the 15 year, 18 year, India Pale Ale (IPA) Cask and Project XX (20). The last two being a part of their Experimental Series, and thus a little harder for me to get my grubby little nerd paws on. Note that while they’re experimental they are not limited edition! It seems they’re here to stay for the foreseeable future and I think that is fine, just fine. Since we’ve already done a tasting of three of these in the past, which if you would like to read about you can do so here, we’re going to focus on the two Experimental Series expressions that we had tonight; the IPA cask and Project XX. Now the only reason I’m rewriting about the IPA cask is that my experience with it this time is significantly different than the last time I tasted it. The star and center of this post however is obviously Project XX, so we will get to that in just a second.
– IPA Cask: Last time I tried the IPA Cask I walked away somewhat disappointed, not that it wasn’t good, but I was expecting a stronger beer/hops/fruit flavor and nose but instead I got mostly Scotch. However after having it again tonight it was vastly better. This time around I got a lot of great aromas on the nose.
- Nose: I picked up on strong and forward fruitiness, as well as a strong sweetness and notes of candied fruit, specifically peaches and apricot. Lastly I got some subtle sweet hop aromas.
- Flavor: The flavor didn’t change all too much from last time around. There were subtle sweet notes as well as some spices and a very fruity and hoppy tones.
All in all, the IPA Cask was better the second time around and at an MSRP of about $70 it’s definitely worth picking up!
Now on to the star of the evening, Project XX! When we arrived Jennifer told us that she had a special surprise for us at the end but wouldn’t say what. Obviously, since the IPA Cask is being poured and this event was teased as an Experimental Series event, I had a feeling we would be trying a new one, and I was right!
– Experimental Series Edition No. 002: Project XX (20): This isn’t even in stores or bars yet here in SoCal! It’s official release is March 15th, a week after this fun evening, and that’s just when the roll-out begins, it probably won’t actually be everywhere for about a month, so if you want to try it expect to find it around April 15th. Now the really interesting thing about this expression is it’s a marriage of about 20 different casks. All the Glenfiddich ambassadors got together about 10 or so years ago at the distillery and were taken to the oldest warehouse that Glenfiddich uses to store some of their older whisky. They were told to pick 5 casks with no further explanation, and then the next morning they were presented with a pour from each of their selections and had to pick one each. Those selections were actually for Project XX, named because of the 20 people whose selections went into making this release.
- Nose: I picked up some subtle maple flavors, almost like maple syrup but not quite as sweet. I also got some bourbon notes and a few subtle hints of chocolate. It’s got a very strong aroma and I could tell that this scotch was going to be somewhat intense.
- Flavor: Now this is where it gets weird, with such a distinct and unique aroma coming off the nose you’d think there would be a whirlwind of flavors hitting my tongue but surprisingly no. Spicy, sweet and warm, were the top 3 things I picked up from this scotch. It has a slight creaminess to it as well as just being a very intense and heavy expression. That’s not to say it wasn’t a good scotch but I need to try another taste of it to really get a feel for the flavor.
A great night filled with good company, excellent scotch, and lots of fun! I’m excited to see what the community thinks of this expression, and to try the third edition next year.