We all have dreams, though some might be more easily attainable than others. Is your dream to travel to a foreign country? Easy. Is your dream to be CEO of a company? Tough, but not impossible. Is your dream is to taste a Scotch aged in casks inscribed with the hopes of thousands of American dreamers? That's oddly specific, but you're in luck.
To kick off its 125th anniversary of crafting single malt Scotch, Glenfiddich recently launched the U.S.-exclusive bottling of Cask of Dreams, a whiskey aged in wooden barrels onto which people had written their dreams and aspirations.
"The way it came about initially was one of our ambassadors who rolled a cask through New York for people to sign it," says Mitch Bechard, a Scotch whisky expert and Glenfiddich's ambassador to the Western United States. "Within four months, we had designed this whole plan around it."
The plan: a national tour designed to inspire people nationwide to pursue their pioneering passions and to help bring them to life. Together with his fellow ambassadors, Bechard traveled the country, rolling casks through the streets and landmarks of 11 major cities and encouraging whisky lovers to write on them. And we do mean rolling.
"I was actually physically pushing them through the streets," Bechard says. "When I went through San Francisco, we rolled a cask across the Golden Gate Bridge and down Lombard Street -- that really pissed off some motorists. The guys at the cooperage actually got a little upset with us because rolling the casks around on pavement isn't good for them at all, and they had the task of sealing them back up and making them airtight before the trip back to Scotland," he says.
What kinds of dreams did people put down? It varied, Bechard says. "Some of it was very heartwarming -- one person said he wanted to send his daughter to medical school. And then you had one guy who wrote that he wanted to get a girlfriend who was better than his current one."
After the casks were covered in yet-unfulfilled hopes, they were flown to the Glenfiddich Distillery and filled with a variety of whiskies ranging from 14 to 16 years old. The fresh American wood would impart a more intense flavor to the whiskey, so Malt Master Brian Kinsman meticulously monitored the barrels to ensure the right balance, which he found after three months. The resulting whiskey -- which was a then placed into 3,500 bottles for sale in stores across the U.S. -- is a 48.8 percent ABV treat displaying the fruity brightness of Glenfiddich's 15-year-old paired with a blast of oaky vanilla and just a hint of dreams.
"When you talk about the flavor character of a single malt Speyside whiskey, a majority of that flavor comes from the cask, and that's something these people have touched and affected," Bechard says. "They can say they had an impact on this whiskey."