Whisky Live, Sydney – 2015

As outlined in previous posts (e.g. here) the emerald city of Sydney is blessed  to have three major whisky expo shows pass through each year.  June 26/27 was time for Whisky Live to take centre stage and yours truly went along as a paying customer to the opening Friday night session.

Whisky Live has been running in Sydney since 2009 and it’s the same, original organisers still at the helm.  For reasons none other than inconvenient timing or simply being out of town when the show rolled around, it had been a number of years (four?) since I last attended Whisky Live, so I was keen to see how the current incarnation played out.

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Glenfiddich “The Original”

One of the ironies of having the world’s biggest selling single malt in your portfolio is that your flagship product is everywhere, and people sometimes don’t see the innovative things you do on the side.  Such is the burden of William Grant & Sons and their favourite child, Glenfiddich.  Whilst the ubiquitous 12yo sits proudly in nearly every bottle shop around the world, you sometimes overlook the numerous variations and other expressions of Glenfiddich that have been flying out of the warehouse at increasingly close intervals over the last few years.  For, if there is one word that you can associate with WG&S, the word is “pioneering”.  And, in a delicious twist of irony, they’ve turned that on its head with the release of a new Glenfiddich expression that is, in fact, very much a look back to the past.


Glenfiddich did not invent single malt bottlings.  No, there were bottles of single malt being bought, sold, and traded on this planet long before 1963.  However, it was in 1963 that WG&S decided to do something radically different and market their single malt as a single malt.  They were the first distillery to stand up and say, “We think our whisky is pretty good and doesn’t need to be blended with other whiskies.  We think you’ll like it straight up, as is.”  Okay, I’m projecting and paraphrasing there, but the message is the same, because that’s more-or-less what happened in 1963 when WG&S launched their Glenfiddich Straight Malt.  The term straight was used because, in the context of a time when virtually all commercially-available whisky was blended, straight was an appropriate and understood term.  Later bottlings of Glenfiddich would use the term Pure Malt, pretty much right up until the term fell foul of the Scotch Whisky Association.

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