Glenfiddich — Archival Rendition

Glenfiddich — Archival Rendition


The idea of a whisky archive collection is a somewhat strange notion when you think of it, as whisky in its very nature is archival.


Every bottle represents a time capsule, a moment in yesteryear when that then clear liquid was poured into an oak cask to begin its transformation. Each bottle represents an archive of ideas, casks and nurture; the gentle coaxing touch of a Master Distiller as colour and flavour enrich over time.

That said, there are levels to this game.

Not many distilleries can boast an archive dating back as far as Glenfiddich. That’s the honesty of whisky; despite all that’s said and done, you can’t cheat time. Yes, there can be nuances of flavour created via clever casking, blending and climate, but when all is said and done there is no time machine, the only way to get age old whisky, is to age it.

In other words, as my one-time lecturer so succinctly put it, “If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail”. But prepare they did, the William Grant & Sons family diligent in their process, decade upon decade, ensuring that despite what the future may hold in the wider remit of things, there would always be whisky—and great whisky at that.

This depth of catalogue and foresight ensures the future of the world’s most awarded single malt scotch whisky is secure; good news for all concerned. Towards the end of last year I visited Dufftown, the home of Glenfiddich, to celebrate Christmas, and also witness the unveiling of a new set of archival whiskies.   

“Whilst some of our series look to innovative finishes or experimental methods, we have curated the Archive Collection in the knowledge that each bottle from the single cask will be truly unique because of the time it has spent developing; a key element in the whisky making process which may sometimes be overlooked.”

_Brian Kinsman, Malt Master, Glenfiddich 

The Archive Collection

Glenfiddich Archive Collection 1973

“The scent of French polish in an old sweet shop. Layers of woody beeswax join the bright zing of lemon sherbet. A fresh breeze carries a whisper of honeysuckle and sweet fruits from a walled garden, thriving just out of sight.”

Cask Type

Refill American Oak Barrel



Glenfiddich Archive Collection 1984

“At first, warm scent of woody oak, all velvety, sweet and smooth. Warm sugar and buttered pastry fill the air with stewed fruits from a tarte tatin. A jar of bitter orange marmalade sits next to sherry, contrasting sweet and dry.”

Cask Type 

European Oak Sherry Butt



Glenfiddich Archive Collection 1987

“Casks laid down to celebrate a centenary, distillery character classic and true. Initial ripe pear, fresh
and green as granny smith apples, a trio of desserts ready to be savoured. Delicate spun sugar, crisp fruit salad and slow poached pears, a balance of fresh, sticky, and spiced.”

Cask Type

Refill American Oak Hogshead




As snow crunched underfoot I made my way to the family room, a mainstay of the Dufftown estate, to sample these new archival editions. Dufftown is located in the “Valley of the Deer” as it’s fondly known, a place where nature has worked hand–in–hand with the Grant family, namely William and Elizabeth Grant, to such an extent that the stag is a mainstay on all their bottles — including in this latest Archive Collection release.

Comprised of three unique limited release offerings, this Archive Collection launch includes whiskies distilled in1973, 1984 and 1987; the 1987 release marking the Centenary milestone for the Grant family, with the cask having been laid down at Christmas of that very year. A personal release, it makes sense that they should choose to limit the quantity to a mere 75 bottles, all of which are only available to purchase at the Distillery Boutique in Dufftown itself.

In fact the entire historical release is limited to a number of hand-picked casks available in select countries around the globe. A suggestion if I may: when sampling this collection, don’t focus too much on the whisky, rather let your mind drift to the year the whiskies were casked. If you weren’t yet born when the casks were laid, just use your imagination—the whisky will be your guide.

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