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Exclusive interview with Brian Kinsman - Glenfiddich Malt Master

06/18/2021

For 20 years William Grant nurtured a dream to make the "best dram in the valley". With the help of his family, he finally achieved that vision. The Glenfiddich Distillery was built in 1886 and the first distillate was distilled on Christmas Day 1887. His founder named it Glenfiddich which means in Gaelic "the Valley of the Deer".

William Grant’s passion, determination and pioneering spirit continues to guide us today. Glenfiddich is one of the few Single Malt distilleries to remain entirely family owned and is now the World's Most Awarded Single Malt Scotch Whisky, a true reflection of our founder’s innovative nature, passed down through the generations.

Brian Kinsman is the sixth Malt Master since Glenfiddich first flowed from the distillery stills. Proud of his heritage he tells us more about Glenfiddich innovation spirit and values.

Can you introduce yourself and your job within the distillery?

I am the Glenfiddich Malt Master and I am responsible for the quality of all the whisky we produce at the distillery through to bottling.

Glenfiddich casks

Tell us about the process of making Glenfiddich whiskies.

Glenfiddich is one of the very few distilleries to use a single source of water.  Our  founder William Grant purposely built the distillery in a place with a source of pure spring water and the Robbie Dhu spring is still used today at every step of the whisky making process, including the water added prior to bottling. 

We have maintained the traditional processes put in place back in 1887 to ensure the quality of the whisky has never changed over the years. That includes using wooden fermenters, the same shaped small copper stills and the same cut point (an unusually high cut where we take only a small portion from the heart of the distillation). We also mature the whisky on-site at the distillery.  

Glenfiddich stills

What makes you different from other Scottish distilleries?

Our independence  and family ownership is one of the biggest differences. As a result of the influence of the family ownership we have also maintained all of the traditional practices at the distillery including our own coppersmith and an on-site cooperage to maintain our casks.

Tell us about your new bottling Glenfiddich 26yo Grande Couronne.

Glenfiddich 26yo Grande Couronne is part of our Grand Series range of expressions. It is a marriage of Glenfiddich matured in American and European oak for 24 years that is then finished for an extended period of 2 years in ex Cognac casks. The result is a beautifully rich and complex Single Malt with great depth of flavour.

Glenfiddich Grande Couronne

Which bottling are you most proud of?

I am immensely proud of every expression we produce at the distillery as they are all a result of years of dedication by a brilliant team of craftsmen.

What are the future projects for the distillery?

We have quite a few new products in the pipeline and a range of very exciting experiments in the warehouse but unfortunately I can’t tell you anything more at the moment!

Glenfiddich range >

Article written by Manon C.

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