Glenfiddich has launched Vino Formosa Cask Finish Single Malt Scotch Whisky No. 2 with two limited-edition labels for Taiwan.
Black Queen is limited to 280 bottles and Ice Breaker to 290 bottles, each with an RRP of $38,000/£994.48 (New Taiwan Dollar), which is a second collaboration between Glenfiddich and Taichung Shu-Sheng Leisure Domaine, in partnership with Malt Master Brian Kinsman, winemaker Professor Chen Chien-Hao, and Taiwan ambassador James Chan.
The collaboration follows the Vino Formosa Cask Finish Single Malt Scotch Whisky No. 1 taking home two medals at the ISC International Spirits Challenge and IWSC (International Wine & Spirit Competition) in 2018, as well as auctioned at a record price of TWD $70,500 at the Ravenel Auctions in May this year.
The collection is Glenfiddich’s most renowned and accolade single-malt whisky brand, made with oak barrels that have produced Taiwan’s fortified wines to mature the whisky. This is a great honor for Taiwan, as the collaboration recognises the superior quality of the Vino Formosa Rosso produced on the Taiwan Terroir, and puts Taiwan on the map of world whisky.
The Vino Formosa Rosso is made with the Black Queen grape variety, which is sweet and slightly acidic, full-bodied, and full of rich candied fruit, dried plum, and tropical flavors.
Professor Chen Chien-Hao has worked closely with Mr Hong Ji-Bei and his son, owner of Shu-Sheng Leisure Domaine, to perfect the wine-making technology, using the thermal maturation method and taking wine that has been fortified brandy into a 225-liter French oak barrel to mature more than five years.
Through natural evaporation, each barrel is only left 120 litres of wine, making the product extremely rare. The Vino Formosa Rosso has won gold metal honors at the 25th annual Vinalies Internationales in Paris and Mundus Vini, and highly applauded by a panel of international judges.
Traditional wine-making process involves steps including juicing, maceration, fermentation, and filtration. In the modern days, a new method has been introduced to add complexity and fullness to the flavor profile of wine, which is adding the Dry Iced Soaked step after juicing.
Due to the freezing step, the cell walls of the fruits break and the grape skin and flesh release a darker color and more polyphenols. Both the trraditional and modern wine-making technologies are practiced by Professor Chen Chien-Hao at the Shu-Sheng Leisure Domaine.
Glenfiddich Taiwan region brand ambassador James Chan and Malt Master Brian Kinsman initiated the Vino Formosa Cask Finish project after extensive research, taking two Vino Formosa Rosso barrels in January 2018 and shipping them to Scotland for a cask finish test.
The barrels are placed with a 25-year-old American oak barrel whisky, and after 14 months of long wait, the traditional barrel has produced the Black Queen, and the modern barrel has produced the second whisky Ice Breaker. The Black Queen is named after the Taiwanese grape variety Black Queen, whilst the Ice Breaker is named for Glenfiddich’s experimental and pioneering spirit in challenging itself and breaking through.
Glenfiddich malt master Brian Kinsman visited Taiwan’s Shu-Sheng Leisure Domaine in Taichung for the first time in March, and said: ‘I feel totally belonged here, especially when standing among these barrels, they make me feel like home since I can scoop out the wine straight out of the barrel to taste, and trying many varieties of Vino Formosa Rosso made with the Golden Muscat grapes and Black Queen grapes.
‘The gorgeous amber colour, incredible fragrance, and silky texture are testaments of Professor Chen Chien-Hao’s tireless dedication to his dreams. Professor Chen Chien-Hao’s spirit echoes that of our staff at the Glenfiddich distillery, because we share similar passion and values, and this sense of mission is what makes us extremely proud of what we produce at the Glenfiddich distillery.’
Glenfiddich Taiwan brand ambassador James Chan added: ‘This is another showcase of the Taiwan spirit. When we tasted a sample after five months of maturation, it actually did not taste well, but thankfully the first Vino Formosa Cask Finish experience has taught us that all good things take time. Finally, we were awarded with the sweetness produced by Black Queen’s tannin level.
‘The second label is an upgraded whisky with heavier fragrance from the barrel. We took the original Glenfiddich whisky as the core, and chose a more mature year to interact with the barrel, and the mingle produced flavors that are unique and incredibly sweet.’
Professor Chen Chien-Hao concluded: ‘Winemaking is all about learning everyday with experts and fellow industry partners to understand how we can improve and make it better.
‘I am so glad that we had a second chance to collaborate again. From our early discussions to realizing our plans, the Vino Formosa Cask Finish #2 Black Queen and Ice Breaker has again injected Scottish whisky with Taiwan’s local terroir flavor.’