Distillery/Brand: Glenfiddich | Region: Speyside | ABV: 40% | Color: Young Sauternes
Nose: 23 | Taste: 23 | Finish: 23 | Balance: 23 | Rating: 92
Now here’s another distillery that is owed a lot by single malt snobs all over the world. Thanks to Glenfiddich, and their enormous marketing budgets, the world has some idea of what single malts are.
This interest keeps the industry alive and allows nerds like me to savor the fruits (or should I say nectar?) of this labour of love.
Now I’m not saying Glenfiddich are only popular on the back of the marketing dollar (unlike other distilleries). No. In fact they are one of the only mass produced whiskies with a truly remarkable level of quality and craftsmanship. Their core range and recent experiments are all extremely competent.
Which brings me to this 21 Year Old Caribbean Rum Cask finish. Had at a tasting recently this is a wonderfully crafted expression. After spending close to 20 years in bourbon barrels it has been finished in rum casks from Sancti Spiritus in Cuba for period of 5 to 9 months.
The result is pure toffee.
Nose: Toffee. Lots of it. A lot of bananas, apricots and blood oranges. All smeared with toffee. Chocolate fudge cake with dates sealed in a box of Quality Street. Hint of salt with a touch of ginger.
Palate: Smooth and creamy delivery of dates and cherry liqueur. The ginger is back and it’s grated on top of the toffee bananas. Finally black pepper on Quality Street with a hint of mint. This is a super robust delivery.
Finish: The woody chocolate peppers are long and true.
A fantastic dram that holds aloft the brightly burning torch that is Glenfiddich.
Colour: Deep Gold
I think we all owe Glenfiddich a huge thanks! Not only for keeping the single malt flag flying so that it’s visible to all those rookies out there but also providing seasoned palates with gem after gem to satiate their need for quality.
This bottling of the Reserve Cask comes from a 13,000 liter Solera vat and is composed of 100% Spanish oak refill and first fill butts. It’s part two of three Solera vattings: Select Cask, Reserve Cask & Vintage cask.
Instead of all the casks being combined for a single, once-off vatting which is subsequently bottled, the Solera is a large vat which is continuously topped up with new malt each time a portion of it is drawn off for bottling. So at any one time, the Solera has a portion of whisky that has recently been added, combined with portions that have been in the vat for considerably longer – arguably a portion from the very first original filling should still be present.
Any questions? Good. Now on with the nose.
Nose: One word: gorgeous. Classic Glenfiddich. Full bodied and creamy and that’s just the nose. Strong sherry influence with lovely butterscotch and toasted almonds dipped in luscious dark chocolate garnished with red apples and sprinkled with a touch of salt.
Palate: Which makes the journey to the palate that much more painful. There is stale sponge cake, chocolate and cinnamon and a whole lot of confusion. It starts of promising but then fails to deliver any complexity choosing, instead, to float about aimlessly on your palate in a single layer of flavors.
Finish: The Houdini finish (and by that I mean makes a surprise disappearance) is a lemony limestone of disappointment.
Oh well, you can’t win ’em all, I suppose.
Colour: Deep Gold
I have a deep rooted respect for Glenfiddich because they are responsible for making single malts popular across the globe. Not only with their strong marketing efforts but with their consistently good tasting malts.
I reviewed the 30 year old a while ago but recently came across this 2008 bottling which is rumored to have spirits from as far back as the 60s.
Nose: The nose reminds me of the 18 but is more refined with a strong elegance. The sherry is unmistakeable and brings out the chocolate nuts and burnt orange which is so characteristic of this distillery. And for the first time in my life I got a whiff of blue denim jeans. Don’t ask my how. It flashed in my head so I’m writing it down.
Palate: The candied orange on the palate is just gorgeous. Dark pepper and chocolate syrup rule in a creamy dance of decadence. This is the perfect mouthfeel intensifying the longer you hold it.
Finish: The long gorgeous finish clings to your mouth urging you to give the malt another go. Quick!
Colour: Pale Straw
This is part one of three of the, now über popular, Age of Discovery series. A 19 year old malt finished in Madeira Wine casks complete with gorgeous box that has, not one, but two doors! So you can understand if I was a little gutted that this one did not blow me away.
The honey sweet nose is both woody and citrusy at the same time. But you really have to coax the aromas out. If you keep at it you’ll be rewarded with a hint of sweet red melon and a touch of something grassy.
The same honey and oak mixed with white pepper are first to greet the palate followed by a spoonful of marmalade, roasted nuts and butterscotch.
The abrupt finish is a little disappointing. I would have liked to nurse the flavors a bit more but there was none of that.
I don’t mind drinking this one again but I would gladly pass this over if offered the 15 or the 18 year old instead.
Colour: Old Sauternes
One has to be careful when reviewing the more premium whiskies (and one as popular as this) because their rarity and price inevitably place a bias on your nose and palate. I, therefore, promised my self to be brutally honest and not care about who I hurt in the process.
However, this 30 year old need not have been afraid.
The nose is a beautiful combination of classic Speyside aromas complemented with a confidence that only spending 30 years in a cask can give you. It’s like standing in a large kitchen watching desserts being assembled. One pastry chef is layering caramel, butterscotch and toffee in a dish. Another is scraping vanilla pods by his side. Then there is the overflowing basket of almonds, marzipan and a bushel of green apples sitting on the floor. Finally you realize someone just dropped a couple of orange slices on a hot hot grill!
The creamy delivery carries first with it a long sliver of smooth oak lightly dusted with black pepper and cinnamon. Then burnt treacle and light traces of cocoa on the back of honeyed oils get in on the fun. Finally a touch of herbaceous mint in the mix keeps things interesting. Quite a complex palate which will need your undivided attention.
The medium oaky finish, intertwined with a pleasant after taste of fennel and aniseed, round off an extremely satisfying premium whisky experience.
Such a nice oaky nose with a bold mix of tobacco and citrus. Creamy honey texture where all the spices interplay with the glorious sweetness of honey, vanilla and figs. But the champion is spectacular charred orange. Long satisfying finish. This one is a keeper!
Rating : 94