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Glenfiddich reveals Grand Yozakura - a limited edition whisky matured in rare ex-Awamori casks

Glenfiddich has added to their Grand series of whiskies, with a the release of Grand Yozakura.

Published: March 30, 2023
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Glenfiddich has created the first single malt Scotch whisky to be finished in rare Japanese ex-Awamori casks. This whisky is the latest release within the Glenfiddich Grand Series.

The Grand Series are single malts characterised by innovative and experimental cask finishing.

Glenfiddich Grand Yozakura

The new Grand Yozakura is a 29 Year Old whisky matured at the Glenfiddich Distillery in Dufftown and finished in oak casks that previously matured the oldest distilled alcoholic spirit in Japan, Awamori.

Awamori is made using long grain indica rice and traditionally stored in clay pots and matured in oak casks.

It is said that the technique for making the spirit has not been altered in over 500 years.

Only a small proportion of Awamori is aged in oak casks making them exceptionally rare. Grand Yozakura celebrates Hanami - the “cherry blossom festival”, where Japan appreciates the temporal beauty of nature through the sakura.

A time for renewal and optimism, the festival is best experienced illuminated after dark where it is known as the Yozakura or ‘night sakura’.

Reflecting its namesake and the temporal nature of beauty, only a limited number of Grand Yozakura bottles are available globally.

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Glenfiddich Malt Master, Brian Kinsman, said of the new launch: “We are always looking to experiment with new finishes so when the chance arose to acquire rare ex-Awamori casks we saw an opportunity to push the boundaries and experiment with this highly unusual spirit.

"This is the first time that single malt Scotch whisky has been finished in these rare casks.

"We always learn something new when we lead with innovation so taking a risk is worth it, and in the case of Awamori we trialled a very small number of casks at a younger age first.

“Awamori is much like whisky, with a diverse range of flavours. Since embarking on this fusion, it’s been fascinating to focus on the oak and how it has been changed and adapted by contact with another spirit.

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"The six month finish in exceptionally rare ex-Awamori Casks compliments the smooth Glenfiddich taste profile, elevating the finish and lifting the flavour to a new level, accentuating the mouthfeel characters and zingy herbal notes unlike any in the series, or anything I have tasted before.”

Glenfiddich Grand Yozakura
Picture: Grant Anderson

Claudia Falcone, Glenfiddich Global Brand Director, added: “The Grand Series underpins Glenfiddich’s spirit of innovation and Grand Yozakura is no exception.

"It is perhaps the most ground-breaking expression to sit alongside the series so far, whilst also being the first limited edition release.

"Bringing together two scarce components accentuates the anticipation and sense of occasion, paying homage to the brand’s innovative nature when it comes to creating dynamic whiskies of the highest quality.”

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The packaging of Grand Yozakura brings this meeting of cultures to life with a signature illustration, created by Japanese artist June, who creates visions incorporating Japanese culture and landscapes.

The packaging includes a bespoke topper and traditional poem printed onto each specially designed outer.

Glenfiddich Grand Yozakura 29 Year Old will be available for purchase from the end of March 2023 at Harrods and other selective retailers across UK at a recommended retailer price of £1,500 (70cl).

Grand Yozakura is the latest addition to the series, which includes Glenfiddich Grand Cru, aged for 23 years in American and European oak casks and then finessed in French Cuvée oak casks; Glenfiddich Gran Reserva, patiently mellowed for 21 years in European and American Oak casks before a final flourish in Caribbean Rum casks; and Grande Couronne, a 26 year old Scotch whisky matured in American and European oak casks finished for up to two years in meticulously sourced French Cognac casks.

Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne, whisky and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind is the Food and Drink Editor and whisky writer for The Scotsman, as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.

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