Glenfiddich 19 Years Age of Discovery / Red Wine Cask

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Distillery/Brand: Glenfiddich | Region: Speyside | ABV: 40% | Colour: Pale Gold
Nose: 21 | Taste: 20 | Finish: 20 | Balance: 20 | Rating: 81

Review
The other day I sat down with this Glenfiddich trilogy known as the Age of Discovery series. Glenfiddich decided to pay homage to the 1831 voyage of the HMS Beagle. The Beagle travelled around the globe and landed on the east coast of South America, allowing Charles Darwin to collect fossils that would lead to the development of his famous theory of evolution.

They have three 19 year old expressions in this range. One that is completely matured in Bourbon casks (quite lovely), one that’s been finished off in Madeira Wine Casks (so blah) and this particular one that I’m staring at, the Red Wine Cask finish.

Personally I’m on the fence when it comes to wine finishes (or maturations). The Californian Cab Sauv maturation of the Teeling Single Grain is a joy to behold (and drink). Just stunning if you ask me. Glenmorangie did quite well with the Sauternes finish as part of it’s core range. I quite like that whisky even if it’s a bit too sweet.

But then there’s the disaster that is the Glenmorangie Companta which uses a mix of Burgundy wine and Rasteau. Oh Bill, you messed that one up didn’t you? Springbank used Gaja Barolo wine casks for an experiment that failed to raise any eyebrows.

The general consensus out there is that wine finishes are a tough nut to crack but that doesn’t stop distilleries from trying.

The whisky has been finished off in oak casks which previously held South American Malbec, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. My sample is from a brand new bottle and served at 40%

Nose: A little sour in the beginning. Tamarind. Licorice. A little musty. Black salt. Under-ripe plums. Touch of oak. Dark currant jam. Settles down after a while. More crisp. Quite drying. Oak tannins. Black grapes. This is a funny nose. I feel that the different wines have made the nose a bit heavy, if you know what I mean. 21/25

Palate: Oak. Quite a bit of it. Very drying. Black pepper. Toffee. Licorice. Aniseed. Wild berries. Black currant. That black salt is back. So is the plum. Again, quite a weird experience. The oak tannins overpower and muddle up the delivery. 20/25

Finish: Long. Dry. Touch of oak. 20/25

Overall Comments: I’m not a fan. The red wine influence over powers and doesn’t work for me. I feel even when you finish a whisky off you have to be extremely careful of not letting your base spirit drown out. And I feel that’s what’s happened here. Oh, well.

Rating: 81

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Glenfiddich 19 Years Age of Discovery / Bourbon Cask

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Distillery/Brand: Glenfiddich | Region: Speyside | ABV: 40% | Colour: Pale Straw
Nose: 23 | Taste: 22 | Finish: 22 | Balance: 22 | Rating: 89

Review
I say this in all my Glenfiddich reviews: It is the most consistently above average single malt today that is produced at such staggering volumes.

I’m pretty sure this is what happens when a business is family owned and every step taken is for the greater good of the craft and the product instead of appeasing the fat cats and their accountant minions.

How else can you explain the near perfect consistency of producing ten million litres of whisky every year. Oh I’m sorry, did I say ten million? I meant TEN FREAKING MILLION! It’s quite insane if you ask me.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m pretty sure they turn a tiny profit producing ten million litres a year. But along the way they produce some great whiskies too.

Which brings me to this 19 year old matured in ex-Bourbon casks and named after the intrepid Portuguese voyagers who went on to change our understanding of the new world. This one is called Age of Discovery and is part of a trilogy. The other two being a Red Wine and a Madeira Cask finish.

My sample is from a brand new bottle and served at 40%

Nose: Oak. Shavings. Bourbon. Vanilla. Fruits. Lots of them. Mainly sweet melon. Melon rind. Citrus. Orange marmalade. Something toasted. Mellows after a while and becomes more delicate. Late emergence of toffee. Hint of grass. Very nice nose. 23/25

Palate: Vanilla. Lots of it. That oak again. Touch of spice. Very fruity. Sweet melon. Citrus. Very smooth. Light honey. Touch of nuttiness. Some toffee. Nutmeg. This is quite pleasant without being complex. 22/25

Finish: Medium long. Comes back up. Vanilla. Oak. Fruits. 22/25

Overall Comments: I quite like this whisky. I would have liked it to be a little more complex on the palate but that’s fine. Glenfiddichs aren’t supposed to be that. They’re supposed to be easy to drink and not for being pondered over by pompous whisky bloggers like my self.

Rating: 89