Tag Archives: Cask of Dreams

Getting the Balance Right – Whisky and Running

It is no secret that I like my booze – maybe a little too much some times.  Where else would I come up with fodder for the drivel that makes up all of these posts here?  But as hard as it is to believe I do like to maintain some modicum of balance in my life when it comes to my health.  Drinking whisky and being healthy are not mutually exclusive pursuits.  Mixed in between the low key after work dram nights and complete destruction what was I thinking nights is a healthy dose running for me.  There always seems to be something that nags at me to get out and hit the road running to balance things out – possibly a form of penance or maybe a  not-so-subliminal message I picked up from an oft forgotten B side track from Depeche Mode.

In any event, my running ambitions crossed paths with my whisky interests (I like euphemisms) a little over a year ago with Glendfiddich’s Cask of Dreams.  As a refresher, Glenfiddich traveled around the US with casks to have people write their dreams and ambitions on to.  Later these casks were used to partially age the whisky that would later be bottled and released as the Cask of Dreams.  I happened by Mitch Bechard rolling one of these casks down by the Ferry Building in San Francisco by pure chance.  Without much thought I hastily scribbled one of my “dreams” onto the cask:  “One day I will run a 50K.”  It probably isn’t all that ambitious of a dream but at the time it might have been the same as me writing that I’ll walk on the moon.

This Saturday, a little over a year after memorializing my dream on the cask, I will be running the NorthFace Endurance Challenge 50K through the Marin Headlands in Golden Gate National Recreation Area.  I don’t know how long it will take me but I just want to survive and finish.  What I do know though is that there is going to have to be a whole lot of whisky consumed after I recover to get the balance right.   – Chris

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Glenfiddich’s Cask of of Dreams

Well it is finally here…the culmination of last year’s Cask of Dreams campaign has been bottled and is available for purchase.  If you are not familiar with the Cask of Dreams, it was a nationwide campaign where 11 individual casks were brought to different cities where individuals memorialized their dreams and aspirations by writing them onto the casks.  We attended the San Francisco event last year so it was great to see this project come full circle and sample some of the whisky from the Cask of Dreams.  I had the fortune of sitting down with Glendfiddich’s West Coast Ambassador Mitch Bechard to talk about and taste this expression.  If you ever get the opportunity to attend a Glenfiddich event make sure that you do – Mitch’s knowledge and more importantly his passion for whisky make for a great experience.

The Cask of Dreams is a limited release of 3500 bottles and is only available in the United States.  The whisky that composes this expression consists of American oak casks ranging from 14 to 16 years old.  These casks were vatted and then transferred to the 11 virgin American oak Cask(s) of Dreams that made the trip from the US.  Because these casks never held whisky before it was important to carefully monitor them – Brian Kinsman sampled them every few weeks – so that they do not over cook the whisky inside.  After 3 months, it was decided that the perfect balance had been achieved.

Before getting intoxicated (pun only partially intended) by the fumes of the marketing and advertising machine, we have to keep grounded and remember it is about the juice inside the bottle.  A grandiose story doesn’t make up for shit whisky.  So putting by best efforts to forget the story behind it, I gave the whisky a taste…

Glenfiddich Cask of Dreams NAS $99
14 – 16 year American Oak
Finished 3 months in virgin American Oak
Bottled at 48.8% ABV

The color was surprisingly dark and of an almost chestnut hue.  I wasn’t expecting that from the age of the component whiskies and from all American oak.  The nose was reminiscent of dried red fruit and spices.  The vanilla was hanging around in the background as well.  The palate initially hit with a firm spiciness then with a layer of vanilla and sweetness but underneath was the familiar yet subtle apple and malty notes that I tend to get from Glenfiddich 12.  There was also a chewy full mouth feel to it.  At the suggestion of Mitch, I added some water.  This took some of the spicy new oak edge off of it and made for a more composed whisky.  I got a little dustiness after letting it breath for awhile.

It is not a heart stopping powerful whisky but it does make for a well composed “round” whisky with an added touch of excitement.  The spice from the new oak along with the higher ABV make for a very user friendly whisky in that you can control the flavor settings with water.  All in all this is a tasty whisky that I did enjoy.

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Dream On…Glenfiddich’s Cask of Dreams

This has been an unintentionally heavy Glenfiddich week.  As mentioned in my post on Tuesday Glenfiddich has launched its Cask of Dreams campaign.  To help promote the Cask of Dreams, Glenfiddich invited folks to the Clift Hotel on Wednesday to sample some whiskies and learn more about the campaign.  Upon entering the Spanish Suite on the 15th floor we were greeted with an option of two different cocktails using the Glenfiddich 12.  I am not much of a cocktail person but the one I chose was pretty tasty.  After some mingling Mitch Bechard, Ambassador for Glenfiddich, introduced us to the story and goals of the Cask of Dreams.

It is an inspirational campaign that encourages us to do some soul searching for our lofty goals and aspire to achieving them.  On the whisky side of things, brand new American oak casks are being brought to 12 US cities to do some site seeing.  While stopping off at some well known landmarks people will be encouraged to write their dreams on the casks themselves.  The casks in turn will make it back to Dufftown, home of Glenfiddich.  Once there the casks will be filled with a special vatting created by the master blender Brian Kinsman to be aged for a couple months.  The pit stop in the Casks of Dreams will just be to add a finishing touch to the already matured whisky.  The new American oak should add a little bite.  The vatting will consist of whiskies that are between 12 and 16 years old and were aged in bourbon or sherry casks.

We sampled some of the 21 year and 15 year during Mitch’s presentation.  And later we were provided with a taste of a vatting that will be similar to the one that will be used to fill the Cask of Dreams.  This expression was a lot sharper – in a good way – than the regular Glenfiddich range.  There was also a strong dark spice presence.  After the sampling we were invited to write our dreams on the cask. – Chris

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Coinsidences and Glenfiddich 30

I am not a particularly superstitious – the stars have aligned – kinda person but I prepared most of this post last night with the hopes of finishing it up today and publishing it.  Fast forward to about 12:30 today – I was on my lunch break run that I sometimes try to squeeze in and I spot a cask sitting across the street from the San Francisco Ferry Building.  Then I remembered that Glenfiddich is promoting their Cask of Dreams this Tuesday.  And sure enough I spot Glenfiddich’s West Coast Ambassador Mitch Bechard a couple of paces away from the sadly empty cask – probably better since I was actually attempting to be healthy.  The Cask of Dreams campaign has casks being brought to different landmarks in Houston, Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco and Washington DC and along the way people will write their aspirations and dreams on the casks.  I chatted for a bit then scratched my aspiration on the cask with a sharpie and headed off to complete the task at hand – a run.  I am not going to mention what I wrote as my aspiration so as not to jinx it . . . maybe I am a little superstitious? 

Now back to the Glenfiddich 30.  In an earlier post about Glenfiddich I commented on the presence of this distillery’s whisky in almost every bar and restaurant.  For the most part though, the whiskies available are from the standard lineup of 12, 15, 18 and if you are really lucky the 21 year old rum cask.  Today I am trying one of their more limited expressions: the 30 year old.  There are even more rare and older expressions from Glenfiddich, the 40 and 50 year, unfortunately I would need to move the decimal point on my salary significantly to the right in order to afford those.  The 30 year definitely costs a pretty penny, but relatively speaking for a 30 year old distillery bottling it is reasonably priced.  I have to admit, the packaging is really nice, a lot better than a standard cardboard tube or tin. – Chris

Glenfiddich 30 ~$250 40%ABV

Color:  Orange/yellow, light copper

Nose:  Vibrant pears, vanilla, deep oak presence, nicely knit bourbon and sherry notes, complex, spices: cloves and cinnamon, chocolate/fudge

Palate:  Chocolate, smooth but complex, a deep wood influence, a nice sweetness, surprisingly lively, some spiciness, drying, fudge towards the end

Finish:  Long lingering spice

Comments:  Nice and smooth as expected, but it is still interesting and complex.  I can see how some would really enjoy this whisky.  For those that are into cask strength and big bold flavors, this is probably not for you.  But if you want a refined deep flavored whisky then this might be right up your alley.


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