Everyone loves cherry blossom season in Japan, when the temporal beauty of nature through the sakura is celebrated during hanami or flower-viewing season.
To get the most of the delicate blossoms, many cherry trees are lit up from sundown. The illuminated flowers give off an ethereal glow and are referred to as “yozakura” or “night sakura”.
Taking it a step further into the cherry blossom indulgence is Glenfiddich Grand Yozakura, a rare fleeting beauty is the newest edition to the Glenfiddich Grand Series. The whisky honours the magical moment of fleeting beauty when Japanese cherry blossoms are admired and celebrated under moonlight. This rare whisky has spent 29 years maturing in American and Oak casks at the Glenfiddich Distillery in Dufftown, Scotland. It is finished maturing in oak casks that previously matured the oldest distilled alcoholic spirit in Japan, awamori, producing a finish unlike any other.
Awamori, native to Okinawa, 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 more than 500 years and only a small proportion of awamori is aged in oak casks making them exceptionally rare. “Awamori is much like whisky, with a diverse range of flavours. The extra finish in 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,” says Brian Kinsman, malt master at Glenfiddich.
The whisky has a rich deep gold colour and if you nose it, it smells of zesty, ripe fruits and caramelised almonds. Lovely rich oak notes with hints of cinnamon and a distinctive herbal zing. Indulgent layers of toasted oak, creamy vanilla toffee and silky tannin form the taste of Grand Yozakura, which also has sporadic bursts of spice and sherbet lemons with crunchy green apple and warming earthy tones.
“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. The whisky brings together two scarce components, whilst paying homage to Glenfiddich’s innovative nature when it comes to creating dynamic whiskies of the highest quality,” says Brett Bayly, Southeast Asia brand ambassador.
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 limited edition release is 45.1% abv single malt that is housed in an elegant whisky box with sakura imagery and a hanko stamp engraved bespoke stopper, a cloth capsule with a traditional poem printed onto each specially designed package.
Grand Yozakura is the latest addition to the series, which includes Glenfiddich Gran Reserva, patiently mellowed for 21 years in European and American Oak casks before a final flourish in Caribbean Rum casks; Glenfiddich Grand Cru, aged for 23 years in American and European oak casks and then finessed in French Cuvée oak 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.