Glenfiddich was started in 1886 by William Grant, a former employee of the Mortlach distillery. With the money he had saved from his years at Mortlach he bought the stills from Cardhu distillery just as they were being replaced. Using his children and wife's labour he built a distillery as close to the river Fiddich as he could. The first few drops of spirit poured into the spirits safe in late 1887. The distillery was started and continues to be a family business.
By 1911 Glenfiddich distillery was supplying spirit to several blending companies in Scotland and distributors around the world. They even had their own brand of blended whisky: Grant's. Considering the fact that, back then, most distillers had easy access to cash and were backed by bankers and wealthy business owners, William Grant's achievements were remarkable.
When the prohibition in 1920's America began affecting the Scotch whisky industry Glenfiddich was among the very few distilleries that increased its production. Once the prohibition was repealed, this distillery had a competitive advantage: plenty of maturing stocks. This allowed Glenfiddich to remain strong for the decades ahead.
The 1950's and 1960's saw Glenfiddich consolidate its image and becoming one of Scotland's most important players in the whisky industry. During those decades a cooperage, and workshops for coppersmiths were built on-site. Its iconic triangular bottle was designed by Hans Schleger in 1961. Faced with fierce competition and being involved in a grain supply dispute pushed the board of directors to release Glenfiddich as a single malt in 1963. They were the first distillery to promote its whisky under this category to the general public. Releasing a single malt when they did, was seen as a foolish thing to do. Many considered single malt whisky to be too strong and intense in flavour for the general public.
In the late 1960's Glenfiddich single malt began selling on duty free markets before any other whisky brand, it also opened its doors to visitors before any other distillery. Today Glenfiddich is the best selling single malt scotch whisky in the world.
Glenfiddich Whisky Style
The character of Glenfiddich is soft, delicate and very fruity. This is achieved by a combination of several different factors. First, some of the stills are fired directly while others use steam. Prior to this, the fermentation takes some 60 hours, liquid yeast is used. The size and shape of the stills would suit the production of a heavy and rich spirit. Glenfiddich achieves a light and fruity style thanks to its very early cut point. To maintain the style, many pot stills are employed during production.
Glenfiddich Single Malt Whisky
The best known whisky from this iconic distillery is the classic Glenfiddich 12 year old. This expression shows the delicate and malty character that we all expect. The Glenfiddich 18 year old offers a deeper and more complex palate with the fruity notes and delicacy of a well aged spirit.