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Dreaming Big with The Glenfiddich

Rachel Burkons

photos by the author

The opportunity to enjoy a dram of The Glenfiddich with its globe-trotting West Coast Brand Ambassador, Mitch Bechard, is a rare treat, since fitting into the Scotch Superstar's crazy-packed schedule is like trying to find room in Justin Bieber's lyrics for one more "Baby:" It's a tight squeeze, but the spirited Scot will make it work.

The Glenfiddich Brand Ambassador Mitch Bedard at the W Hollywood.

When I first met up with Mitch for his feature in our Jan/Feb issue , I quickly learned that this is one William Grant & Sons Brand Ambassador whose passion for scotch extends to the category as a whole. "I'm very passionate about Scotch whisky," he said; "that's the most important."

Mitch is, after all, The Glenfiddich Ambassador, however, so when he talks about the storied brand, another level of reverence creeps into his voice: "The Glenfiddich is a special brand," he told me. "It's an independent brand, all about pioneering and integrity and passion," he explained as I ask him to pose beneath a glowing Lucite stag head mounted above a crackling fireplace at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills.

"It's perfect," Mitch laughs. "After all, Glenfiddich means Valley of the Deer."

But today's Glenfiddich is mixing it up a bit. Although the brand is celebrating its 125th birthday this year, it continues to find new ways to remain relevant to its consumers, a demographic Mitch notes is changing daily.

"The audience for scotch used to be primarily older gentlemen. Now that's changing in a big way. Forty percent of my audience is female, and the age has dropped in an unbelievable way. The snobbery we used to see with single malts is also getting thrown out the window a bit—which I'm glad to see."

There's certainly no snooty snobbishness in Mitch's affable personality (after all, what would you expect from a man whose kilt-quests lean more toward the punk rock than the traditional tartan), so when he managed to squeeze me into his hectic schedule (after a commute from his home base, and before a night of meetings in Hollywood) to introduce me to The Glenfiddich's newest special bottling, I couldn't refuse.

The Cask of Dreams campaign is one way in which this classic brand continues to reach new consumers. In 2011, Mitch and the rest of the Glenfiddich team hit the streets, literally rolling brand new American oak barrels through 11 cities and asking passersby to mark each cask with their individual hopes and dreams. "This really makes it personal for the consumer," explains Mitch. "It connects them to the scotch in a very special way. It becomes personal—just the way it should be!"

With only 3,500 bottles produced, this is a special offering indeed:  golden raisin with a hint of concentrated candied fruit is rounded out by a soft vanilla, with nice oak and spice. I'll drink scotch neat any day of the week, but when Mitch suggests I add a drop of water to the glass, the liquid opens up beautifully. One can only imagine that some of those inscribed wishes were to taste scotch this good!

Before long, Mitch was off to his next appointment, but the cheeky Scot was kind enough to leave me with a sample to take home. Just as those who etched their own dreams onto the casks have become intrinsically connected to The Glenfiddich, so too have I, with each sip I take.  
My cat lulu (lowercase, if you please!) poses with The Glenfiddich.

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