The Grande Composition
When Two Worlds Collide
Glenfiddich’s affinity with art and design can be traced back to the 1960s, after commissioning pioneering Modernist artist Hans Schleger to craft a defining new triangular bottle shape for the brand.
This irrepressible spirit of innovation has manifested in various forms over the company’s wonderful history, from the launch of the Artists in Residence program to their Experimental Series of whiskies. The latest shape this has taken is in The Grande Composition, an initiative which offers international artists a stage for the reinterpretation of their prestigious Grand Series.
Celebrating the craft and workmanship that is woven into the very fibre of Glenfiddich’s culture, the whisky pioneers have selected artists whose innovation, ingenuity and values mirror their own.
The unique collaborations bring together limited-edition art and limited-edition single malt whisky. The realms of contemporary art and whisky may not be obvious companions, but when these two creative spheres come together it opens up an entirely new world to explore.
The Grande Composition presents art lovers with the perfect opportunity to step into the world of fine spirits, and vice versa.
The Grande Composition allows us to go further and tap into a global network of artistic mavericks.
Claudia Falcone, Global Brand Director, Glenfiddich
Glenfiddich Grande Couronne
Scottish Heritage With French Opulence
The Grand Series is a testament to Glenfiddich’s heritage-rich history and maverick spirit, combining their finest aged whiskies with progressive cask finishes.
A gesture to their spirit of innovation, Glenfiddich has bolstered its Grand Series range with the launch of a 26 Year Old Speyside malt finished in French Cognac casks, Grande Couronne. This joins the 21 Year Old Gran Reserva and 23 Year Old Grand-Cru.
Grape versus grain. Distilled in pot stills, aged in wooden barrels, limited in nature and unable to be replicated anywhere else in the world, Cognac shares many of Scotch whisky’s principal features. Both have been described as some of the most complex drinks in the world, and can be equally sought-after with some of the finest expressions of each regularly selling for thousands of pounds at auction.
Now these two ancient practices unite in the creation of Grande Couronne – the crowning glory of Glenfiddich’s Grand Series.
It is the only Glenfiddich single malt that has matured in American and European oak casks and finished in rare French Cognac casks. The length of the finish, two years, is highly unusual and adds extra layers of sweet toasted oak and velvety aromas of café crème, brown sugar and soft spice.
Brian Kinsman, Master Distiller, Glenfiddich
The Art of Glass
As part of the worldwide launch of the Grande Couronne, The Grande Composition sees Glenfiddich collaborate with renowned contemporary Swiss artist, Simon Berger, to review the concept of the expression with a new and current perspective.
Represented by Artstübli Gallery in Switzerland, Simon Berger explores depth, perception and reflections with the unique and monochromatic canvas of glass. Simon creates striking portraits with nothing but a pane of glass, a hammer and immense skill.
Human faces have always fascinated Simon, and it is these emotions that he captures in glass. Simon has to be extremely meticulous when working. To create the depth and shadow seen in his art, Berger will vary the intensity of his hits. Through trial and error, he has developed his techniques – but one miscalculated strike and he may need to start from scratch.
When evaluating Simon’s artworks, it is hard not to find a connection with Japan’s ancient art of embracing imperfection, Kintsugi. Kintsugi, or kintsukori, is an art form that values an object’s beauty – respecting its perceived imperfections as beauty. Like Kintsugi, Simon Berger’s artwork teaches us an important lesson: Sometimes in the process of repairing things that have broken, we actually create something more unique, beautiful and resilient.
If I can create beauty through destruction, that makes me really proud.
Grand Couronne x Simon Berger
Reimagined Art Pieces
Simon has expertly crafted five singular glass boxes that encase the Grande Couronne whisky, creating five unique works of art to unite whisky and art connoisseurs.
Quickly finding parallels in the values of Glenfiddich and his own – a strive for independence and finding one’s own way -, he reflected these in his pieces of art, creating faces that convey the emotions that he sees in the brand.
This exclusive collaboration provides the ultimate crowning art piece for the Glenfiddich connoisseur and art lover’s collection. It is neither the artist nor the whisky that is the star of the show. Through a mutual respect and appreciation for an art form from two masters in their respective fields, it is the combination of mastery in whisky creation and on a unique canvas that creates the magic in this unique collector’s item.
Each glass portrait is one of a kind, offering an additional dimension of rarity to this bottle of whisky which we are confident will be of great interest to collectors. It also offers a fantastic opportunity for art lovers to make their first steps into the world of fine spirits.
Joe Wilson, Head of Auction Content, Whisky Auctioneer
Glenfiddich was an early advocate of the single malt Scotch category, and their faith is rewarded today by being the number one top-selling single malt whisky in the world, picking up a plethora of awards along the way. Glenfiddich was an important trailblazer in the whisky industry, who’s contribution cannot be forgotten. The scale of their operation today is a testament to this.
Glenfiddich draw its water source from the famous Robbie Dhu spring. This exceptionally soft water flows from the Conval hills through quartz and granite. The distillery features hand-built Douglas Fir wash backs, copper stills which are sculpted identically to those from 1887 and an onsite cooperage tending to around 126 casks a day. They are also one of only three distilleries in Scotland that remain directly firing some of their stills today, the others are Glenfarclas and Springbank.
As a family owned-distillery, this has afforded Glenfiddich the privilege to pass through generations some of the most profound wisdom, retaining their traditions to ensure the consistent and exceptional quality of their whiskies. In 2009 David Stewart retired after celebrating over 45 years as the Glenfiddich Malt Master and having become the longest serving Master Blender in the industry. In his place Brian Kinsman was appointed as the Malt Master to continue Glenfiddich‘s pioneering whisky making.
A Pioneering Partnership: Glenfiddich and Whisky Auctioneer
Whisky Auctioneer has been honoured to work closely with William Grant & Sons over the last two years to build an industry partnership that provides our global community of whisky lovers with unique opportunities and original content.
At the end of 2019, we partnered with Glenfiddich to help provide unique insight into the collection of rare expressions that featured in The Perfect Collection by Mr. Richard Gooding. As part of this, Global Brand Ambassador, Struan Grant Ralph, joined us at the Gleneagles Hotel for an exclusive preview of The Perfect Collection and tasting of the “Snow Phoenix” for selected media and journalists.
In June 2020, we joined forces to host an exclusive charity auction of their 2020 Spirit of Speyside release. Due to the coronavirus pandemic the festival was sadly cancelled, so Glenfiddich released 450 bottles of a rare single cask to raise funds to support those most affected by the pandemic in the Speyside community. Whisky Auctioneer were proud to assist in their fundraising efforts which raised over £240,000 for local Speyside causes.
Following on from this fantastic partnership, we were very excited to collaborate again on bringing our second exclusive Glenfiddich auction to life with a curated selection from a variety of collectors. Highlights included the oldest whisky ever produced at the distillery, the 1937 64 Year Old, and a superb selection of Vintage Reserve, Private Vintage and experimental bottlings. As part of this partnership we produced a four-part video series with Struan Grant Ralph and Andy Fairgrieve (Arts & Heritage Coordinator) at the distillery. The dynamic duo also led an exclusive virtual tasting celebrating Glenfiddich’s pioneering heritage.
It is a privilege to come together once again with the industry pioneers to provide our audience of passionate and discerning whisky enthusiasts with a truly unique offering for their collections in this collaboration with Simon Berger.