What Makes Rare Limited Edition Whisky So Popular Right Now?
How we’ve learned to re-approach fine whisky, in part due to the rise of the Japanese dining scene.
Australians are frisky for whisky. We’ve learned to re-approach fine whisky in part due to the rise of the Japanese dining scene. Polished local haunts cater to quick weeknight snacks and drinks, right through to sumptuous omakase menus, with matched beverages.
Whisky based drinks have crept further up the cocktail list in recent years, led in part by our hip Izakayas and post-pandemic passion for punchy cocktails.
Now, with the release of the 29-year-old Speyside single malt from Scotland, Glenfiddich’s Grand Yozakura is injecting fresh fire into our enduring love affair with this liquid gold.
Persuasive packaging, restaurant collabs and even a limited edition pair of sneakers by Chase Shiel, have been created to mark the release of this new Glenfiddich single malt.
Created in north-east Scotland and finished in rare ex-Awamori casks for six months of ageing, production has been mapped out to impart subtle characters. It’s an experimental mash-up, uniting Scotland’s best export with a touch of subtle Japanese flair.
The flavour profile of the Grand Yozakura is a rush of contrasts. On the nose there are aromas of ripe fruits and caramelised almonds coming from the deep gold coloured spirit. There are notes of rich oak, a herbal quality and just a touch of cinnamon spice. On the palate, complex layers of toasted oak, toffee, vanilla and silky tannins, give way to spice, with citrusy sherbet bursts, layered over crunchy green apple and the aged spirits deep, earthy tones.
Glenfiddich Malt Master Brian Kinsman has already experimented with ageing their Scottish whisky in sherry butts from Jerez de la Frontera in Spain, rum casks from the Caribbean and Bourbon whisky barrels from America – Japan was a natural next stop for finding casks to age it in. Awamori is a rare alcoholic beverage, indigenous to the island Okinawa. It’s made from long grain indica rice and has a sweet flavour like vanilla and caramel.
Unusual, limited editions like this Grand Yozakura hold a rare appeal for collectors but also create a chance to develop a set of memorable one-off experiences.
After Simon Denton opened the ground breaking Izakaya Den back in 2009, a bunch of other whisky loving Japanese izakayas followed suit. Think of Melbourne’s first listening bar Waxflower, and other hip Tokyo vibe restaurants like Kid Kyoto for Melbourne, Shōbōsho in Adelaide, Yoko in Brisbane and Cho Cho San in Sydney. These places all know how to mix a mean cocktail and don’t shy away from putting an Aussie twist on Japanese ingredients like shiso, sake and yuzu kosho.
More recently a bar devoted to music and sake, in Sydney’s Newtown called Ante, was started by the sake importer of Blackmarket Sake Matt Young, with chef Jemma Whiteman (ex-Pinbone, Lankan Filling Station and Billy Kwong) rattling the pans.
With the release of the Grand Yozakura, Ante’s founders were invited to promote the limited edition Glenfiddich Single Malt – which takes at least a touch of its inspiration from the experience of watching the cherry blossoms by night.
Through October, you will be able to enjoy the spirit with a Japanese sticky date pudding at Ante, enjoy Grand Yozakura inspired cocktails at Atrium Bar by Crown Melbourne and experience a three-course dinner paired back to the whisky range at the Society in Melbourne.
Our advice? Nab a bottle, or dine out now to experience some of the magic, while there’s still some left in the country.
- Atrium Bar, Crown Melbourne – from Oct 4th: The sophisticated lounge offers a 30ml Grand Yozakura serve and the $30 ‘BerryBlossom’ cocktail, crafted with Glenfiddich 12 Year Old, Chambord, and a Cherry Rosemary Shrub for a delightful contrast to the whisky’s flavours.
- Ante, Newtown, Sydney – from Oct 5th: Sydney’s renowned bar presents a Japanese-inspired sticky date pudding paired with 29 Year Old Grand Yozakura whisky at $195. Also, try the Grand Yozakura-inspired cocktail for $24.
- Society, Collins St, Melbourne – from Oct 10th, Melbourne’s lavish dining hub hosts an exclusive pairing experience featuring Glenfiddich Grand Series Collection. Led by Glenfiddich’s Ross Blainey, guests can savour a range of culinary delights paired with Glenfiddich expressions, exclusively at Society.
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