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Scotch Whisky Legends: Glenfiddich 1956 29 Year Old For Intertrade

The Glenfiddich 1956 29 Year Old for Intertrade. Credit: Whisky Auctioneer

Glenfiddich single malt whisky can be bought in almost every supermarket in the UK and is equally successful abroad. This is no happy accident. Glenfiddich, a trailblazing force in the whisky industry, was the first distillery in Scotland to market its single malt outside of the UK in 1963. The distillery was also the first to open a visitor center in the heart of Speyside. 

This early advocacy for single malts and focus on brand outreach worked wonders for Glenfiddich, and it is now one of the best-selling single malt scotch brands in the world. It is also one of the largest distilleries in Scotland in terms of capacity, producing over 13 million liters per annum. 

Glenfiddich Distillery has, famously, done things under its own steam for generations. It is still family-owned and run by the Grants. As such, independent bottlings of Glenfiddich are extremely rare. 

Bottles such as this Glenfiddich 1956 29 Year Old for Intertrade, therefore, are highly prized. And no wonder. 

This week on Scotch Whisky Legends, I take a look at the history and tasting notes (from Serge Valentin at WhiskyFun) of this iconic and historic Glenfiddich scotch whisky. 

The Glenfiddich 1956 29 Year Old for Intertrade 

Glenfiddich was the first distillery in Scotland to market single malt outside the UK.

This 1956 vintage was distilled even before the single malt scotch was marketed outside of the United Kingdom. Fast-forward 29 years to 1985, and this whisky was bottled by Gordon & Macphail for export to Italy. 

This fact in itself is extremely impressive because, as many of you will know, the 1980s was a dark decade for the scotch whisky industry. A huge surplus in supply had been produced by the existing distilleries, and newly built distilleries, during the 1960s blending boom. However, by the 1980s, consumers had begun to favor white spirits such as white rum and vodka. This massive oversupply with decreasing demand resulted in multiple distillery closures and a general decline in the sale of scotch whisky. The period was known as The Whisky Loch

Therefore, the fact that the appetite for Glenfiddich whisky was such that Intertrade was commissioning bottles for an international market is notable. In the 1980s, distilleries such as Port Ellen and Brora were closing. Glenfiddich was, seemingly, sitting pretty. 

So, what was it about this whisky that made the team at Intertrade select it for bottling? 

Serge Valentin, a respected whisky reviewer and founder of WhiskyFun.com sampled this rare bottling in January of 2009. Let’s see what he had to say. 

Serge Valentin’s Tasting Notes on The Glenfiddich 1956 29 Year Old for Intertrade 

Independent Glenfiddichs are very rare, and we have to rely on old stashes to be able to try some. 

Colour: gold. 

Nose: superb, almost magnificent in its extreme yet fantastically subtle oakiness! I think I almost never smelled a whisky that was so woody and so complex at the same time. ‘Anti-plankish’ (what?), instantly hinting at an old Jaguar (saloon) or maybe a Rolls-Royce (but how would we know?) and then distributing aromas as a machine gun would distribute bullets, that is to say one after the other at a heavy pace. Apricot pie, incense, cigar box, camphor, ginger, wood varnish, beeswax, banana skin, very old rum, leather polish, fresh almonds… And then the sherry comes out, almost brutally, with huge notes of coffee that just ran out of the expresso machine. Superb, very superb. 

Mouth: ho-ho-ho! Thick, deep, rich, fruity, phenolic and resinous, with once again a lot of oak and once again a beautiful one. An avalanche of dried fruits (figs, bananas, pears, apricots, dates, prunes… Actually, you have them all) as well as all spices (and even a little salt), all that doing ‘the peacock’s tail’ in the most beautiful manner. How rich! 

Finish: as long as a Neil Young guitar solo, maybe just a tad bitter now (the tannins are big) but with also some very, very ‘funny’ notes of raspberry eau-de-vie that make for an unexpected, yet most pleasant signature. 

Comments: Intertrade! These people knew their job – and they still do. Stellar old Glenfiddich, now my #1 on the GF list! SGP:663 – 94 points.” – Serge Valentin, WhiskyFun.com, January 2009 

The Price of The Glenfiddich 1956 29 Year Old for Intertrade At Auction 

Given that Serge himself commented on the rarity of bottles like this, it should come as no surprise that these whiskies are exceedingly rare at auction. 

According to my records, the bottle has only sold 12 times both in the UK and Europe. The bottle most recently sold in February 2023 for £3,500

Buy Glenfiddich Whisky 

We have a great selection of Glenfiddich scotch whisky on The Whiskey Wash Shop, including this Glenfiddich 20 Year Old Mr Porter bottled in 2021. The bottling was created in collaboration with the luxury menswear retailer, Mr Porter. 

About Intertrade

Intertrade is a revered name among whisky enthusiasts, particularly noted for its significant role in the independent bottling landscape. Founded in the early 1980s by Nadi Fiori in Italy, Intertrade quickly earned a reputation for selecting and bottling exceptional and often rare Scotch whiskies. 

Fiori, an architect by training, applied his artistic sensibility to the presentation and selection of each cask, making Intertrade bottles highly sought after among collectors. The company distinguished itself with its unique labels and bottles, often featuring artwork that reflected the character of the whisky inside. Although Intertrade’s operation was relatively small and its bottlings infrequent, its impact on the whisky market was profound, influencing other independent bottlers to explore single cask, single malt whiskies.

Beth Squires

Beth joined Mark Littler Ltd full-time in October 2020 following the completion of her university degree. Since then she has gained wide-ranging knowledge of all things whisk(e)y, and has written extensively for both company and external publications. Beth is passionate about industry innovation, marketing, and sustainability. With a particular affinity for independently bottled rare scotch, Beth is also a whisky bottle investment specialist.

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