Pioneering Spirit

William Grant, founder of Glenfiddich distillery, has earned his place among the pantheon of whisky innovators and pioneers.



Although his Grant’s blend is consistently one of the top selling blended whiskies in the world, it’s really the Glenfiddich brand that made the biggest impact on the whisky world by marketing the concept of single malt as a luxury commodity.

The reason for this seemingly unorthodox move can be traced back to 1963 when a dispute between Grant’s and their grain supplier meant they were unable to produce enough of their blended whisky. The answer was to bottle and market Glenfiddich as a single malt. While they weren’t actually the first Scottish distillery to release a single malt (contrary to claims made by their marketing department), they were the first to seriously market one to a global audience. However, the real master stroke was getting Glenfiddich single malt into duty free shops in airports around the world, targeting the wealthy jet-set and cementing their reputation as a premium drink for those of discerning taste.

Although the company sorted their grain whisky supply issues by simply building their own grain distillery in the Ayrshire town of Girvan, the single malt revolution had begun with Glenfiddich at the forefront. Today, the brand enjoys the distinction of being the top selling single malt whisky in the world, and we’re thrilled to boast two expressions from their wonderful “Rare Collection”.

Lot 19 is the 2004 release of their 40 Year Old, a rich sherried whisky which (unusually for Glenfiddich) exhibits subtle peaty notes in a nod to their traditional production methods.

Yet, perhaps even more exclusive is lot 22, a one-off bottling drawn from a single cask to mark the retirement of former staff member, Iain Anderson. Although whisky from this cask has been bottled previously at around 37 years of age, the lower ABV on this bottle suggests that a portion of the contents had been left to mature further and saved for special occasions.

These two momentous whiskies are not to be missed when they go under hammer on Wednesday the 5th of July.



McTear’s is the longest-established auctioneer of whisky in the world. Entries are invited for this international auction. For a complimentary, no-obligation valuation, visit our Glasgow Galleries or contact our specialist on 0141 810 2880 or

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