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Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Get Time Team on the phone!!...



Here at Caskstrength, we're all in favour of 'sinking the odd dram' now and again, but recently, we came across a fascinating story which literally redefines the phrase. Glenfiddich, whose splendid 1977 Vintage Reserve was reviewed a few posts ago have taken the maturation process to a different level and -in conjunction with a Canadian based artist, are attempting to create the worlds oldest single malt whisky. Sounds straight forward. But when you consider the methods involved, it gets stranger by the second.

The project, entitled A Drink To Us (When We’re Both Dead)' by Glenfiddich Artist in Residence, Dave Dyment, sees a 500L cask of newly distilled spirit entombed under the floor of warehouse number eight at the distillery. The cask will not be uncovered and emptied until 2108.
Many people out there will view this as either a crazy marketing-based stunt, or genuine artistry - we're probably somewhere in between, but the idea of burying a cask, to be untouched for a century is certainly a really intriguing and beguiling idea. 2 questions immediately spring to mind:

1. What will happen to the cask, when consigned to its chilly grave?

Well, one suspects that the angels will have a devil of a job getting their share, unless they bring pick axes and shovels. It is hoped the unusual method of maturation with its cold, damp conditions will overcome the difficulties in aging the cask for such a long time.

2. Who's going to be around to sample it, once it's exhumed, bottled and become the stuff of legend?

Well, we'll certainly offer to feature the first 'official tasting notes' at Caskstrength.net but clearly by then, our livers will have no doubt, become a highly sought after single malt- infused Foie Gras-style pate. (that's their intended designation anyway ;-{p )
The artist behind the burial, Dave Dyment, says his angle here is not just the relationship between himself and the eventual buyer of the cask, but also the buyer’s relationship with the person it is passed on to. "The maturation period ensures that the buyer will never drink the spirit, but must pass it on as a gift. The recipients will also likely also have to part with the work. In all likelihood, it will pass through three generations of hands before it is enjoyed".

One thing does remain clear- until it's cracked open, no one has any idea of what the cask will actually taste like.

Cryogenics anyone??

For more info on this, and the Glenfiddich artist in residence programme, visit
http://uk.glenfiddich.com/distillery/artists-in-residence/index.html.