Glenfiddich's Grand Series Elevates Ordinary Moments Into Extraordinary Ones

With its newly-appointed Regional Malts Brand Ambassador Jyri Pylkkänen, Glenfiddich takes luxury and special moments to new heights with their Grand Series of exquisite single malt Scotch whisky.

Celebrations are an integral part of human existence across all cultures. Though everyone celebrates special moments differently, we all aim to create memorable experiences that will last a lifetime. Sharing a drink with loved ones or toasting to a particular accomplishment are just some of the ways in which many Filipinos transform the ordinary into something extraordinary. Finely-crafted drinks can truly elevate celebrations both big and small, something best represented through the Glenfiddich Grand Series. This collection of single malt whiskies offer flavors that one can describe as both intriguing and indulgent, opulent yet welcoming, and of course, beautifully disruptive. 

One can expect no less from the world’s most awarded single malt Scotch whisky brand, whose spirits have won prestigious competitions around the world. The Glenfiddich Grand Series—composed of the Gran Reserva, Grand Cru, and Grande Couronne—is an unexpected marriage of luxury and tradition, promising pleasure with every sip and turning any occasion into an opulent sensory experience. 

Joining Glenfiddich is Jyri Pylkkänen, who shares his knowledge on all things spirits with the world as William Grant & Sons’ newly-appointed Regional Malts Brand Ambassador for Southeast Asia. 

READ ALSO: Glenfiddich Names the Filipino Mavericks Who Have Made It to the Where Next Club

Meet Jyri Pylkkänen

With an indomitable passion for spirits and years of experience running Finland’s award-winning “Son of a Punch” cocktail bars in Helsinki (which he also co-founded), Jyri Pylkkänen’s expertise is taking Glenfiddich to the next level. 

His journey with William Grant & Sons started in Helsinki as their Brand Experience Manager for Glenfiddich and The Balvenie. Since then, his entrepreneurial spirit and skills have been the driving force behind brand presence and engagement while he focuses on people looking for exclusive and innovative whisky expressions, as well as different lifestyle and luxury media partners.

Jyri Pylkkänen, William Grant & Sons’ Regional Malts Brand Ambassador for Southeast Asia
Jyri Pylkkänen, William Grant & Sons’ Regional Malts Brand Ambassador for Southeast Asia

Yet Jyri’s love for all things spirits can be traced back to when he was 18. He still remembers his first dram, what he described as “a heavily peated whisky that was a bit too robust for my palate at the time.” Though upon further reflection, he acknowledges that it can be attributed to the Finnish inclination towards more potent and intense whiskies. 

“Smoke holds a prominent presence in our culture, from the aroma of smoked saunas to the flavor of smoked fish, meat, and vegetables, as well as the cozy evenings spent around campfires,” he shared in an exclusive interview with Lifestyle Asia. “It’s no surprise that our first encounters with whisky often lean towards the peaty side.”

Even before he began running bars of his own, Jyri spent years behind bar counters, experimenting and learning more about the world of spirits. All the while, he was developing his palate, expanding his lexicon on the vast spectrum of whisky styles. 

“I found myself fascinated by Speyside whiskies, which boast a delightful sweetness and fruity notes. Nowadays, I embrace the idea that there’s a perfect whisky for every occasion, depending on your mood, ambiance, and company,” he expounded. “It’s all about finding the right dram to complement the moment.”

Two Places, One Passion

Jyri’s talents have earned him both widespread respect and acclaim across the Finnish bar scene, where he ignited a love for whisky in countless patrons through handcrafted, innovative drinks. Though he was born and raised in Finland, he possesses a profound connection to Scotland—particularly the Speyside region, as its climate and natural surroundings bear a close resemblance to those of his homeland. Beyond the captivating landscapes that envelop the distilleries in Speyside, he also keeps the two countries’ shared authenticity and strong cultural connection to nature close to his heart. 

“As Glenfiddich and The Balvenie are brands that are family owned, it allows us to innovate and pioneer new whiskies in the category. We’ve produced our whiskies for generations and are always looking to the future,” Jyri explained.

 Jyri Pylkkänen with Glenfiddich
Jyri Pylkkänen with Glenfiddich

With his nose for adventure and a discerning palate, Jyri will be building the whisky community in Southeast Asia. William Grant & Sons couldn’t have picked a more suitable individual for the position, as one can clearly see his boundless passion for whisky in the way his eyes light up when describing the warm spice notes of a Glenfiddich Our Solera Fifteen, or the rich fruitiness of The Balvenie 21 Year Old Portwood.

“Whisky is complex and it needs at least three years of maturation in oak casks. It’s fascinating to see how the liquid transforms, gets flavor and evolves overtime,” Jyri explained when discussing what makes the particular spirit so special. “Plus, different casks used for maturation makes every drip of the whisky different. Everything in the process of making whisky is so precise and demands high skills in different areas, from barley to bottle.”

Building Community 

Jyri is focused on promoting and educating partners, media, and whisky connoisseurs about the products, history, and production processes behind Glenfiddich and The Balvenie. More specifically, he aims to share his love for these spirits through informative dinners, training sessions, and experiential events, encouraging everyone to enjoy the fine spirits responsibly. After all, while it’s important to savor moments of indulgence, he also believes in moderation and mindfulness. 

From reintroducing both brands to whisky enthusiasts and influential connoisseurs across Southeast Asia, to building greater accessibility for curious newcomers, he looks to create spaces where William Grant & Sons’ world of malts comes alive. 

Jyri Pylkkänen takes Glenfiddich to new heights with his years of experience and knowledge

“These iconic brands are distinctive in their own manner and embody a rich heritage of excellence in the world of premium whiskies,” he shared. “From Glenfiddich’s Maverick attitude to The Balvenie’s heart of craftsmanship, I’m excited to bring these brand stories to life through my experiences and create new ones with the Southeast Asia community of bartenders and consumers.” 

For Jyri, those who prize personalization and experimentation will delight in the versatility of Glenfiddich’s latest expressions. “Whether enjoying neat or on the rocks, the Grand Series whiskies provide new generations with opportunities for discovery and enjoyment,” he explained.

A Cultural Immersion

Jyri’s efforts as Regional Malts Brand Ambassador also include immersing himself in each country’s distinctive culture. Whether he’s sampling whisky in Bangkok, hosting an event in Manila, or visiting key accounts in Singapore, Jyri is actively connecting with locals to learn about their traditions and customs. He meets them where they are, spreading the gospel of good whisky in the most authentic way possible. It’s something he picked up from working in bars, which to him, are microcosms of different societies.

Part of Jyri's role as ambassador is immersing himself in the various cultures of Southeast Asia to better spread the gospel of good whisky
Part of Jyri’s role as ambassador is immersing himself in the various cultures of Southeast Asia to better spread the gospel of good whisky

“A cocktail bar can be a melting pot of cultures, with customers from different backgrounds sharing stories, traditions, and preferences,” he stated. “Understanding and respecting cultural differences is essential for an ambassador, who must navigate diplomatic relations with various countries and communities in Southeast Asia.” Though it’s his first time visiting the Philippines, he’s already gleaned a lot from observing the customs and habits of Filipinos. 

“In the Philippines, Single Malt whisky is growing. The older generation appreciates Single Malt whiskies neat or with ice, but the younger generation more in the form of cocktails,” he explained. “The country has a vibrant cocktail culture, with a burgeoning craft cocktail scene in major cities like Manila. Single malt whiskies, prized for their depth of flavor and versatility in cocktails, have become popular choices among bartenders and consumers alike, especially among younger demographics seeking unique and premium drinking experiences.”

Behind the Scenes

Even when he’s not conducting official duties, he dedicates himself to the region’s spirits through his favorite pastimes which include discovering new bars and reading whisky-related literature. He’s also fond of seeking out the finest street food joints, enjoying the rainy spectacle of tropical weather, and engaging in various sports like tennis, mountain hiking, and football. 

For Jyri, being the Regional Malts Brand Ambassador has been an enlightening experience that’s  rife with possibilities. “It’s been amazing to meet all the new people and see how Glenfiddich and The Balvenie is performing here in Southeast Asia,” he shared.  Being in an emerging region, I’m super excited to share our stories and train, educate and host tastings and events and be part of this amazing community.”

Get to Know The Grand Series

There’s a Grand Series whisky for every special celebration, each one crafted to provide unforgettable and elevated experiences for the senses. What Jyri hopes it can offer to Filipino consumers is a diverse range of expressions that are suitable for all manner of celebrations. 

“The Glenfiddich Grand Series whiskies are excellent choices for parties given their quality, versatility, appreciation for craftsmanship, prestige, and ability to create memorable experiences for guests,” he expounded. “Whether hosting an intimate gathering or a larger celebration, serving Glenfiddich whiskies can elevate the party and leave a lasting impression on attendees.”

What sets the new series of whiskies apart from the rest is a production process involving some of the world’s finest and rarest casks, which offer finishes that are quite unlike anything out in the market today. 

Gran Reserva

The Gran Reserva transforms the uncommon into the unequaled with the very best of Scotland and the Caribbean. It’s golden hour in a bottle, mellowed for 21 years in meticulously selected American and European oak casks, then finished for six months in Caribbean Rum casks. The result is a flavor that builds to a crescendo of sweet toffee and spicy exotic warmth that one can enjoy in a wide variety of milestone celebrations with their companions. 

It’s an ideal choice for new whisky connoisseurs who want to start delving into a more premium tasting experience, and is best paired with the creamy flavors of dishes like Butter Chicken, Crème Brulé, and Panna Cotta. Accompanying the whisky is a tasteful deep amber packaging that’s reminiscent of the warm hues of beach sunsets, complete with Caribbean-inspired illustrations that capture Gran Reserva’s blend of tradition and rebellion.  

Grand Cru

Excellence comes with pushing the boundaries of what a thing can be, and Glennfiddich’s Grand Cru is a paragon of this. It’s a far cry from most whiskies: at once daring and unexpected, the distillery has matured it for 23 years in hand-selected oak casks before finishing the exceptional liquid in rare French cuvée casks for six months. This makes it the first and only Glenfiddich expression to undergo such a process. 

The Grand Cru redefines moments of celebration with true luxury and elegance, bringing a sophisticated richness to the palate through notes of white grape, sweet brioche, and pear sorbet. Its velvety and mellow texture goes perfectly with the more delicate,  subtle flavors of seafood dishes like lobster ravioli, sashimi, and as a reference to one of its notes, pear sorbet. 

To cap it all off, the distillery places each whisky into a corked bottle of black glass with gold foil embellishments, its lavish exterior offering hints of the indulgence that awaits and making it the go-to accessory for any social event of the season. 

Grande Couronne

Glenfiddich’s Grande Couronne is the crowning glory to any occasion and piece de resistance of the Glenfiddich Grand Series, with a name (which translates to “crown”) that befits a spirit of its caliber. It’s the pinnacle of an evening’s revelry, setting the stage for memorable celebrations with its exquisite layers of sweet toasted oak and velvety aromas. 

To create this regal whisky, Glenfiddich ages it for 26 years before receiving an extended finish of up to two years in rare French cognac casks. The distillery painstakingly sources these particular casks that come in limited quantities, which further adds to the inimitable grandeur of the Grande Couronne. 

This process bears a whisky with the robust, smooth, and indulgently sweet notes of  freshly-baked pastries and vanilla. Pair it with succulent and decadent food like venison, duck, wagyu, and even dark chocolate to bring out these deep, nuanced flavors. 

The whisky is encased in a 26-sided gold closure with matching gold filigree, each bottle nestled in packaging that features stunning fresco artwork, every element  made to impress at the most important and majestic occasions. 

A Grand Event to Remember

Staying true to its latest series’ name, Glenfiddich hosted an extravagant evening of gustatory pleasures and entertainment that engaged all five senses. Live harp and violin performances of contemporary songs filled Solaire’s Whisky Bar with soaring melodies as guests lounged within the room’s elegant atmosphere. 

Glenfiddich’s Grand Gala at the Whisky Bar in Solaire
Exquisite vessels that suited their respective expressions from the Grand Series

Making the event extra special was the presence of Jyri Pylkkänen himself, who flew in for the Grand Gala to share his extensive expertise on whisky with the event attendees. Even those not accustomed to drinking the spirit received helpful advice from the Regional Malts Brand Ambassador, who guided guests through the tasting process from smell to sips. 

As exceptional drinks are best paired with equally exceptional food, Glenfiddich brought the grandeur of its three distinct expressions to life through a three-course degustation dinner that perfectly complemented each Grand Series whisky. 

The entire evening cemented Glenfiddich’s legacy of fine spirits, showcasing the kind of magic that can happen in the presence of good company, performances, food, and world-class drinks that are grand in every sense of the word. The expressions naturally elicit a round of heartfelt cheers from those who have the pleasure of trying them—or as they say in Scotland, “Slàinte Mhaith!”

The Glenfiddich Gran Reserva, Grand Cru and Grande Couronne will be available for purchase on selected e-commerce websites (Boozy & Boozeshop) and Solaire Whisky Bar. For more details, visit Glenfiddich Grand Series webpage, follow @GlenfiddichWhisky and Jyri at @FinnishJyrDram

Photos courtesy of Glenfiddich.

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