An Evening with the Glenfiddich 50 yr at Gigi’s Asian Bistro
Gigi’s Asian Bistro hosted a spectacular event in honor of the launch of their fine and rare whisky bar. What better way to present this beautiful selection than with the complete portfolio of Glenfiddich (years 12 through 50), delicious dinner pairings prepared by guest chef Scott Tycer, Glenfiddich ambassador Freddy May, and an excited crowd of guests anxious to experience the journey.
The evening began as we walked in, welcomed by the sounds of a bagpipe playing the tunes of Scotland. We were offered a glass of Glenfiddich 12 year, Balvenie Doublewood, Hendrick’s gin, or a Blood and Sand cocktail to begin the evening with. Hors d’oeuvres found their way into our hands as we met wonderful new people, discussing the excitement of the evening which had only just begun. Displayed in the middle of the bar was an ice sculpture mirroring the bottle placed before it- the Glenfiddich 50 year. There are only three bottles which made it to the United States, and only one of them may be purchased in shots. This makes Gigi’s very special, not only offering the complete portfolio of Glenfiddich but also being the only bar in the U.S.A. to offer shots of the 50 year. If you ever desire a taste of this rare whisky, now is your opportunity.
Mind you this rarity comes with a price, as do all rare and wonderful things. The bottle alone goes for $15,000 (and has gone for more in auctions), making the $1,200 shot a special opportunity.
Once we were all ready to begin our journey, we were called into a dining room surrounded by cherry blossoms which appeared to be floating from the ceiling and a wedding style dinner setting. We found our name cards, were seated, and became acquainted with our fellow dinner guests. Then the meal began with a pleasant pour of the Glenfiddich 21 year paired with a raw vegetable terrine with arugula and buttermilk. As we took our final bite and last sip, the 30 year Glenfiddich followed with a plate of pan fried Veal sweetbreads with silken rice noodles and fermented black beans. This was probably my favorite course of the evening, as I am very fond of sweetbreads. They were beautifully done and well balanced with the whisky. For me the 30 year always makes me crave a particular cigar, perhaps because it is what I was smoking when I first tasted it almost a year ago. Nevertheless it comes right back to mind, and that is the My Father Le Bijou in a Petit Robusto. For me the two work beautifully together- the spice of the cigar with the smooth subtle sweetness, dark chocolate, and warm delicate spices of the Glenfiddich 30 year. The finish is long and smooth, making the next sip a quick and easy one. It has a velvety mouthfeel that coats the palate beautifully as well.
Next we moved on to a very rare whisky, the Glenfiddich 1978 Reserve Cask. The rarity of this particular whisky is that it is of a single cask, producing only 184 bottles, making this whisky extremely limited in availability. It is also very nice to be able to taste a whisky produced of a single cask. When we discuss a “Single Malt Whisky” what that means is that the whisky of that bottle came from a single distillery, rather than being a blend. But that whisky can come from different casks within that distillery. A single cask whisky is quite a rare treat and something I was very excited to be able to taste, keeping in mind the properties a single barrel can produce. This particular dram was paired with a Liberty duck with licorice, beet, and skin.
As I savored my final sip, I was presented with a taste of the Glenfiddich 40 year and a filet rossini. The 40 year is rich with heavier spices, a fuller body, and a lingering finish that makes you want to wait a moment before the next sip (just to savor and let the complexity keep building in your mouth). I really enjoyed this one! The notes of dried fruits, spices, tobacco, nuts, and overall complexity really meet my palate. Like a cigar- it’s the nose and finish I savor most.
As we all finished our dinner we were called back into the bar and presented with the star of the evening, the Glenfiddich 50 year. Two names were drawn to be selected to taste this fine Scotch, and though my name was not called I was blessed enough to be offered a nose and a sip from the winner (thank you, Sarah!). I was quite surprised, but very welcomed by the softer more delicate notes and styles present in this whisky. Where the 40 is rich and medium to full in body with dense flavors, the 50 year has a very elegant quality with dominant floral and oak notes. There was a soft sweet taste with a touch of vanilla, herbs, and again the floral and oak qualities. It was silky on the palate and absolutely beautiful. I’m grateful for the taste and especially for being invited to be a part of the evening.
All I could think about with every taste, was the history behind each one and the people involved. Each whisky, like a cigar, has a story to tell and brings you into the community of those who created it. It’s all about being a part of the experience, and a dram does just that- it brings you into the experience. I highly recommend getting involved with tastings and allowing your palate the adventure of finding your favorite whisky, and meeting great new people along the way. I want to thank everyone at Gigi’s for hosting such an amazing event, and everyone from Glenfiddich for allowing us the chance to be part of this special tasting. I also want to thank Freddy May for keeping the night lively with song and giving us the knowledge to enjoy and appreciate our whisky even more!