When one starts dabbling in the world of single malts, Glenfiddich is one of the names you almost always come across. Their single malt began pouring on Christmas day in 1887, and is now one of the most recognisable single malts around the world. The brand offers single malts aged 12 years, right up to 50 years (and a very rare batch aged 64 years). Looking to push conventional boundaries, the team at Glenfiddich recently launched Cocktails Reimagined – a series of cocktails featuring some popular and rare ingredients from across India, mixed with the Glenfiddich 12-, 15-, 18- and 21-year old single malts. These cocktails were introduced to us at an exclusive gathering a few weeks ago. Yangdup Lama, one of India’s best-known mixologists, was present along with James Pennefather, Managing Director, William Grant & Sons India to showcase the cocktails to everyone present.
I’ve always been a bit sceptical about cocktails made with high end whisky predominantly because the flavour of the whisky tends to get completely masked with too many ingredients. I did hope for the best that evening. (Not counting the very awkward start where I was speaking to Angad Singh Gandhi, the brand ambassador, about the recently launched IPA aged Glenfiddich before we were interrupted by an influencer chap who thought it was completely fine to put the Glenfiddich on par with Signature and Black Dog… Yes, I face palm myself even now, thinking about the comparison ) The evening began with the Nutty Rob Roy – a concoction of Kashmiri walnuts, palm sugar, apple juice, black pepper cordial, egg white at the Glenfiddich 15-year old. While the drink was quite refreshing, the overall sweetness wasn’t something that was up my alley. The next cocktail, the Mulberry sparkle was a lot more balanced out and started bringing a smile to my face. A 12-year old Glenfiddich blended together with figs from Gujarat and ginger juice helped accentuate the sweeter notes of the whisky while bring a bit of zing. Served with a piece of fig on top, this little concoction was delightful.
Building on another 12-year old Glenfiddich, the Brahmaputra Boat brought together bay leaf from Assam and Cinnamon from Kerala to create a citrusy-spicy cocktail. While the use of cinnamon is quite subjective, I enjoyed the cocktail. I do wonder if the 15-year old would have made a better whisky to use given its natural flavours of cinnamon as opposed to the sweeter 12-year old. The house was divided on whether the cocktail had too much cinnamon or whether it was just right. Cinnamon, you devil you.
The Speyside Tiramisu is a delicious dessert cocktail that brings together strong coffee, chocolate and caramel syrup with a 12-year old whisky. I’m not sure if I enjoyed it because the whisky seemed the most prominent in this one, or whether it was the sum of all cocktails I drank before this. The cocktail paired wonderfully with the chocolate walnut brownie that was making the rounds.
The two special cocktails for the evening were presented by Yangdup Lama after a short presentation by James Pennefather. The first of the fabulous cocktails is the Darjeeling Mail Old Fashioned, an appealing cocktail that brings together the 18-year old Glenfiddich with one of my favourite ingredients – tea; namely the Darjeeling Castleton Muscatel. Served with a rather large Ice cube made from spring water, this taste starts off with the rich flavour of the whisky and as the ice melts releases the delightful notes of the tea fusing the two into a rich flavour.
The final cocktail for the evening, the pièce de résistance, was the Moon Spring. Keeping the very best for last, this cocktail brings together the warm Glenfiddich 21 year old and Silver Tips Imperial Darjeeling Tea. The tea, Plucked only on one full-moon night every year is supposed to have some of the best flavours. This was my first time having both the tea, and the 21 year old whisky. While I’d love to have them separately, the cocktail itself offered a warm flavour that brought together citrus and spicy notes with earthy flavours of tea. Needless to say, besides being the one of the most expensive cocktails that evening, every note of the drink was worth the price tag.
While I will still continue to have my single malts with just a dash of cold water, the cocktails definitely put a delightful spin on what possibilities the single malts offer. That being said, I just may be partial to the last two cocktails, should I get a chance to have them again. Sigh, what can I say, I’ve got good taste…albeit expensive ones… I think! Kudos to the team behind these cocktails.