Grant, who at the age of 47, built the famous Dufftown distillery from scratch in 1886 has long been regarded as an innovator of his day and the summit’s organisers invited 21st century innovators to deliver a series of inspirational lectures during the three day event; the primary focus on challenging modern day conventions and outlining the blueprint to what drives a pioneer.
As well as offering the 40 glob-al visitors a dining experience designed to re-assess the way we eat, participants were invited to take part in a number of interactive experiments, including a digital art installation, held in one of the distillery’s warehouses. Curated by London-based designer Marek Bereza, the wall of the dunnage warehouse was transformed into a breath taking virtual canvas, influenced by the precise movements and proximity of the viewer.
The highlight of the event however was an insightful presentation into the building blocks of flavour and aroma held by Brian Kinsman, malt master for Glenfiddich, who was joined by Eben Klemm, a renowned molecular biologist and leading New York bartender. Klemm deconstructed several of the distillery’s expressions including the 12 and 18 Year Olds, using some smart re-distillation techniques, which highlighted the true influence of oak ageing on the base spirit, as well as the importance of the perceived texture of whisky. By removing the oak and creating an ‘extract’, Klemm succinctly demonstrated why Bourbon and sherry casks impart such unique flavours to whisky, an experiment which he feels can be of benefit to drawing new consumers to trying whisky for the first time.
“The last 10 years have per-haps been the most innovative time in terms of the development of the cocktail and what I am pro-posing is breaking down base spirits to re-assemble a vocabu-lary of flavour and aroma for drinkers,” explained Klemm.
Glenfiddich hope the summit will become an annual event, with more pioneers imparting their inspirational wisdom.
Katie Rawll, Glenfiddich’s global brand director, commented: “Since our founder William Grant first set out on his own and, along with his family, built The Glenfiddich Distillery with his bare hands, a pioneering spirit and sense of self-belief has been a core part of who we are. This Summit brought that attitude to life in a new and exciting way -hopefully inspiring even more people to pursue their dreams.”