Glenfiddich Winter Storm Batch 1

”Riders on the Storm”

Whisky Review # 906

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: Glenfiddich Winter Storm Batch 1 - Experimental Series # 03 - Bottled: 2017
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky - 8000 Bottles
Age: 21 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 43%
Maturation: Probably Ex-Bourbon with ca. 6 months Canadian Icewine Cask Finish
Chill Filtration: Yes
Price Range: US$ 400-700 (March 2021). Huge price differences! Be aware!
Price/Quality Ratio: 👎 This is way-overpriced even considering its 21 Years.
Buying Advice: 😒 It's just way too expensive for what it offers.


Golden Amber (Artificially Colored)


Light and Sweet. After 21 Years in the various casks, this Whisky deserves an ABV of around 46%. I find this to be a recurrent problem of Glenfiddich's older and more expensive Single Malts. They really should take a good look at this. Other than that the Nose shows a slightly boring but well-balanced mix of Fruit, Caramel, Wine & Spices. Surprisingly, the Alcohol is not fully integrated.

Main Aromas:

Barley Sugar, German Butter Biscuits, Apple, Pear-Drops, Artificially-Flavoured Fruit-Candies, Grass and Straw, Cinnamon-Spiced Tea, Pepper and Dried Herbs.
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Toffee, Honey, Vanilla, Fresh Meadow Flowers, White Wine, Nectarine, Gooseberry, Lemon, Wax, Studentenhaver (Mixed Dried Fruits and Nuts) and Arabian Sweets.


A mix of Sugary-Sweet, Bitter and Sour notes. The Icewine finish is certainly more noticeable here than on the Nose.

Main Flavours:

Sweet Barley, Sugar, Toffee, Caramel, Apples, Artificially Flavoured Fruit Candies (Pear, Melon, Nectarine), Grass & Straw, Seville-Orange, Grapefruit, Oak, Menthol,  Pepper, Cinnamon and Ginger.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Honey, Wax, Vanilla, Marzipan, White Wine, Lemon, Milk-Chocolate, Herbal Tea and cheap Spanish Brandy. I can still remember drinking the latter back in 1972 in Calafell on Spain's Costa Dorada.


Short to Middle-Long and Thin. Almost Sugary Sweet at first but with increasing Bitterness and Sourness towards the Medium Dry end. The Alcohol is noticeable and so is the Wine Finish. I find Sweet Barley, Toffee, Caramel, Vanilla Fudge, White Wine, Oak, Seville-Orange, Grapefruit, Lemon, Apple, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Milk-Chocolate, Menthol & hints of Salt, cheap Spanish Brandy & Cardboard boxes. The Menthol & Mint seem to almost explode in your throat. It's certainly different but I can't say I like it a lot. 

Drinking Advice:

No need to add Water. It's Thin enough as it comes.

Rating: 84

Nose: 21.5 - Taste: 21 - Finish: 20.5 - Overall: 21

Drinking Experience Neat:

Okay/Good. It's not bad but I won't enter the fanclub!


Glenfiddich was founded in Dufftown in 1886 by William Grant. It's one of the few distilleries that is still in the hands of the founder's family. In the year 1963 it became the first whisky that was marketed worldwide as a Single Malt. It was the first Single Malt to appear in the Travel Retail and Duty Free shops as well and the chance is huge that Glenfiddich was your first Single Malt. It was mine! It is also the first distillery that opened a visitor centre, back in 1969. The current core range consists of the 12, 15, 18, 21, 26, 30  and 40 years old. We visited the distillery in May 2014 and May 2019. Despite the large number of visitors they still do a good job on the Tours.

The Winter Storm was first released in October 2017. Glenfiddich's Malt Master Brian Kinsman got the inspiration when he visited the Icewine producing Peller Estates Winery near Niagara in Canada. The grapes for this wine are picked during the Canadian Winter in January. The grapes need to be very hard and are harvested at moonlight at minus 10 degrees C. Working together with Mr. Craig McDonald, Peller's VP of Winemaking, Brian experimented with several French Oak Icewine casks, filling them with Glenfiddich aged Malts of different ages for upto 6 months. It appeared that only the older whiskies (21 Years) could cope with the very sweet Icewine intensity.

I always applaud experiments so I congratulate Mr. Kinsman on trying to find a new road. I must confess however that this specific road doesn't seem to go anywhere. The Nose is okay but Palate and Finish are merely regular. I think that expensive projects like this deserve Better Cask Management and a higher ABV. The way it is presented it doesn't deserve the high prices at which Winter Storm is offered. The industry should sell excellent whisky at these prices and not stories and hypes. That way they avoid them being seen as Riders on the Storm!


Jan van den Ende                                                                         March 17, 2021

All pictures were taken during our visit in May 2019

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