Desert Island Drams – Brian Kinsman

Brian Kinsman has been Glenfiddich’s Malt Master since December 2009. He is responsible for fulfilling William Grant’s adventurous ambition of creating ‘the best dram in the valley’.


He is the sixth Malt Master since Glenfiddich first flowed from the distillery stills on Christmas Day 1887. A chemist to trade, Brian learned his craft when he was apprenticed to David Stewart, Scotland’s longest serving Malt Master.

I’ve had the privilege to nose and taste some incredible whiskies in my life. As you can imagine, I’ve been asked a few times to choose my favourite (but never which one I’d take to a desert island!)

But wherever you are drinking it, the challenge remains the same: what do you choose and why do you choose it? It feels like I’m being asked to pick a favourite member of my family.

In the spirit of the question, my choice of whisky for a desert island dram would be Glenfiddich 18 Year Old.


So why this particular malt over all the other fantastic malts?  For me, it sums up everything that a Speyside malt should be, with its full flavour and luxurious finish.

It’s also one that I’m incredibly proud to make each and every batch of. We make it in small batches of no more than 150 casks, and number each one. We mature the new distillate for 18 years in Spanish Oloroso wood and American Oak and the final vatting is a marriage of both oaks. The vibrancy that comes through in the final whisky is quite extraordinary.

Glenfiddich 18 Year Old suits my palate and is perfect for relaxing with at the end of a busy day. I’d drink it with a splash of water to release the aromas of orchard fruits, baked apple and cinnamon.

Of course, if I was on a desert island, the chances are I’d be on my own. So it’s a whisky that I can enjoy in solitude and silence.

But my choice of companion would be my dad. We’d sit together and reflect on the day that’s nearing an end. Perfect.

You can follow Brian Kinsman on Twitter here, and you can check out my previous review and notes on Glenfiddich 18 here.

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