Glenfiddich, the most awarded single malt whisky in the world, recently unveiled a sophisticated new design. The striking new package design for its 12 and 15 Year Old iconic whiskies pays homage to Glenfiddich’s origin in the Valley of the Deer.
The unveiling happened in Kenya through a virtual event, ahead of other African markets. Mulunda Kombo, the Glenfiddich National Brand Ambassador was at the centre of the unveiling. As the host, he took the invitees through the tasting notes and vision of the iconic whisky.
We sat down with Mulunda Kombo to get a better understanding of the redesign, talk steak and the future of whisky.
You are a self-taught chef with a love for all things food. But how did you get into whisky?
I’ve always had an appreciation for whisky; there’s something about the culture of whisky that is somewhat intoxicating- pun intended. I developed a deeper appreciation for whisky because I am a self-taught chef. We appreciate a whisky’s bouquet and a whisky’s taste by comparing it to certain fruits, flavours and spice. For example, Our Original 12: On the nose; fruity with a hint of pair. Taste: Fruit that transitions in to butterscotch. This makes it very easy for someone like myself to enjoy whisky more, because I can pick up on the subtle and not so subtle notes, pair it well with dishes as well as cook with it.
You are Kenya’s first Glenfiddich National Brand Ambassador. What has your journey been like and how are you finding the experience?
My journey so far has essentially been a deep dive in to the history of Single Malt Scotch Whisky, specifically Glenfiddich. Learning as much as I can about the brand’s history in order to prepare consumers for its future. Educating the consumer is also a big part of my role as a brand ambassador; I do this through tastings, pairings, and other whisky centered experiences. I feel a sense of pride being a part of their 133 year heritage.
Why the new shape of the bottle and what do you think it will evoke in your consumers new and old?
We wanted to modernize our visual language whilst paying homage to our home. This is why you can now see the ‘V’ shaped valley indent on the bottle, with our stag icon nestled prominently within it. In Scottish Gaelic, ‘Glen’ means valley and ‘Fiddich’ means deer; so our name literally translates to Valley of the Deer. We think it will evoke feeling of modernity with our new consumers whilst maintaining single malt credibility with our old consumers.
Tell us a little bit about Glenfiddich 12 (Original Twelve) and 15 year old:
Our Original Twelve and Our Solera Fifteen are both part of Glenfiddich’s core range. Our Original Twelve is a testament to the craftsmanship of our distillery, which has remained unchanged since its inception in 1887; whilst Our Solera Fifteen stands a testament to our innovative spirit. We adapted the solera process from the sherry bodegas of Spain and Portugal to make this very balanced whisky.
How important is packaging nowadays to consumer decision-making?
Our stag icon is one of the most recognizable in the industry, it is one of the reasons that one in two new whisky drinkers will opt for Our Original Twelve. So packaging plays a pivotal role on consumer’s decision makers.
What do you think makes Glenfiddich the perfect whisky for pairing with a good steak or food?
Each of our expressions pairs will with different dishes. For example, I would pair Our Original Twelve with a nice seafood dish, whereas I would pair Our Solera Fifteen with a lamb or beef dish. It is this versatility of our portfolio that makes Glenfiddich perfect for pairing with food.
You are a steak aficionado. What are your thoughts on cooking steak with whisky and what do you think should be a rule of the thumb?
Cooking a steak with whisky is one hundred percent possible, you can use it to marinate, flambé or for steak sauce. My rule of thumb would be to cook with a whisky you enjoy and to remember that a little bit goes a long way.
Do you think having a food background gives you an advantage when it comes to communicating about Glenfiddich to your audience?
Absolutely. There are so many similarities between how we describe food and how we describe a whisky’s colour, nose taste and finish.
Finally, do you think the local whisky market is evolving to appreciate new experiences?
Yes I do, and it is really interesting to watch this evolution happen. Whisky drinkers have become more discerning, they can tell the differences between Irish whiskey, blended whisky, rye whisky etc. So this challenges us to bring our product to the consumer in new and innovative experiences.
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Glenfiddich is currently available at; Carrefour (select stores), Chandarana (select stores), Quickmart and Naivas.