Glenfiddich

   

Glenfiddich distillery is situated in Dufftown, Speyside and was founded in 1886 by William Grant who, along with his seven sons and two daaughters built the distillery by hand.

The first spirit flowed on Christmas Day, 1887

The same Grant family still own this distillery today as it has been passed down through the generations. They now also own Balvenie, Kininvie, Ailsa Bay and the Girvan grain distillery.

Glenfiddich means "The Valley of the Deer"

 
 

The Glenfiddich distillery produces around 10,000,000 litres of pure alcohol per year.

 

General whisky characteristics: Dark fruits, chocolate, citrus

More great distillery info here, thanks to Malt Madness

My thanks to Alan Jamieson for permission to copy and use the distillery  pictures

 

 

 

Expressions

     
   

Glenfiddich, Caoran Reserve, 12y, 40% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Nose: A Scottish jetty with hints of smoked ham.

Palate: Slightly smoked, roast beef flavoured ice cream. That say it all really with suggestions of roast beef, a little smoke and ice cream.

Overall Impression: I always understood this Caoran to be lightly peated, but someone from Glenfiddich suggested it was more heavily peated. My own experience now shows my preconception to be correct, but I was indeed surprised to find how round and creamy this is. Much more so than the standard 12y expression.

 

   
    Glenfiddich, 12y, 40% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Nose: Moss, heather and pears with a touch of Scottish sea.

Palate: Almond and marzipan tingling across the palate before leaving a slightly bitter aftertaste of pears, which doesn’t linger very long.

Overall Impression: Nice flavours but the slightly bitter aftertaste and short finish disappoint slightly.

 

   
    Glenfiddich, 14y, Rich Oak, 40% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Light amber

Nose: Aged oak, blackberries, faintest hint of banana and lavendar. Perhaps with a suggestion of Brasso after 2-3 minutes.

Palate: Creamy and smooth with plenty of vanilla alongside oak, with melon and apple flavoured ice cream.

Finish: Long and lingering.

Overall Impression: I guess it does exactly what it says on the label; oak and vanilla, plenty of them too.

 

   
    Glenfiddich, 15y, 40% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Nose: Pears and air-dried (Parma or Serano) ham.

Palate: An immediate smooth creaminess soon gives way to a tingle of almonds, raisins and pears. The finish is once again slightly bitter, but longer than the 12y.

Overall Impression: Definitely worth trying as it is a quite different Glenfiddich.

 

   
   

Glenfiddich, 15y, distillery only bottling, 51% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Golden yellow

Nose: Freshly cut slightly floral wood, a hint of rubbery leather and just a suggestion of Sunday roast in the background.

Palate: Starting smooth it soon turns gently peppery as it expands across the palate with flavours of mixed nuts, dark fruits and a hint of black pepper.

With 4 drops of water: Creamier and more intense floral notes. It may be 51% but this is fine, I really don't want to add any more water.

Finish: Long, very long with hints of black pepper and creamy custard.

Overall Impression: Very nice. Lots of depth of flavour and thoroughly enjoyable.

 

   
    Glenfiddich, 18y, 40% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Nose: Grass, hay and straw with suggestions of banana and oak.

Palate: Very smooth with almost no follow-up tingle but a lovely flavour of mixed nuts with a hint of banana. The finish is quite luxurious and long.

Overall Impression: This malt is quite rich and very rounded which lingers long on the palate and is highly recommendable.

 

   
    Glenfiddich, Havana Reserve, 21y, 40% ABV

Cuban Rum casks, the original (now obsolete) bottling

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
  Nose: Rum or molasses, oak & raisins.

Palate: Initially sweet, then apricots marinated in a cocktail of rum and brandy. Not a long finish, but very smooth and very pleasant.

Overall Impression and author's note: I like this. It is an easy whisky to drink, being very smooth with a very good rich flavour. Unfortunately, this is no longer available as Glenfiddich's largest export market has a trade embargo, banning any products supporting Cuban business, so no more Cuban rum cask finishes. Such a shame as the replacement "Gran Reserva" is not as good as this one.

 

   
   

Glenfiddich, Caribbean Rum Finish, 21y, 40% ABV

Caribbean Rum casks

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€ (just over €75)

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Glowing amber

Nose: Wood, raisins, heather on a Scottish hillside in fresh air and yes, a hint of rum.

Palate: Delightfully smooth as it grows or expands across the palate with aromatic, floral wood, dark berries and dark Jamaican rum.

Finish: Long, very long with hints of cognac following on from the rum.

Overall Impression: I loved the original Havana Reserve, this has a longer finish and is also very good, but maybe just not quite so good as the HR. But then again, maybe it is. Very smooth, very sophisticated,  very nice!

 

   

 

 

 

Glenfiddich, Millenium Vintage, 2000-2012, 40% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€ to €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Glowing cork

Nose: Herbal fruitiness with quite a suggestion of aniseed. It's very fresh, in fact almost minty in character and this minty freshness remains after time in the glass, whereas the suggestion of aniseed fades.

Palate: Quite different as it has a smooth mouth-feel whilst appearing to be quite creamy and grainy. Very different palate to what the nose was promising as it doesn't exhibit that extreme freshness and mintiness. In fact I prefer the palate to the nose at this point, but let's add a few drops of water ...

With 4 Drops of water: Suddenly the nose is tamed into a very nice creaminess as it loses the minty freshness. Ahh, but the palate now has some of that original freshness from the nose. Well, I did say this was a quite different Glenfiddich.

Finish: Long.

Overall Impression: Yes very different, but very drinkable and enjoyable.

 

   

 

   

Glenfiddich, Special Reserve, 40% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Light 9 carat gold

Nose: Creamy grass, malt, faint fresh nutty notes.

Palate: Initially creamy, then grassy but opening to include hints of rubbery coconut.

Finish: Medium to long, grassy and slightly bitter

Overall Impression: Quite a grassy and slightly bitter Glenfiddich, not my favourite.

 

   

 

 

Summary of a Head to Head for Caoran, 12y, 15y & 18y

I was quite surprised by this comparison, especially by the smoothness of some of the whiskies and certainly by the Caoran which I found to be smoother and much better than my expectations. The standard 12y is still quite fiery or spicy, but as the expressions mature, then they become much smoother and more surprising. I did find the 12y & 15y to be quite short in their finishes, but the 18y is quite a delight and is a jolly good whisky.

The Caoran is quite different, but also enjoyable and personally, I find this considerably more enjoyable than the standard 12y expression, although my overall favourite here is definitely the 18y.

     

 

 

A Masterclass by

Alois Immoos with Glenfiddich

   

Glenfiddich 21y

(Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€)

Nose:
Heather, vanilla and melon-flavour ice cream

Palate: No heather, but the vanilla and slightly bitter melon-flavour ice cream are there.

 
 

Chocolate: This 21y was paired by Alois with a truffle and then with some very pure, bitter chocolate.
With the truffle the combination was quite bitter.
With the pure chocolate the chocolate was too overpowering.
Sorry, but much better without the chocolate.

 
    Glenfiddich 15y Solera Reserve

(Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€)

Nose:
Fresh oak, herbs and kiwi fruit

Palate: New oak and quite a dry impression

With water: The kiwi fruit joins the oak on the palate.

 
 

With Chocolate: The chocolate was a dark, quite bitter example (Marrakaibo 65% cacao), but this combination worked well. One of the best Glenfiddich & chocolate combinations of the day.

 
   

Glenfiddich 18y

(Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€)

Nose:
Slightly smoky, leather and pears

Palate: Watery (thin) and quite short finish. Pears and malt.

 
 

With 68% cacao chocolate: Alone, the chocolate was quite bitter, but together they harmonised into a fruity and pleasant surprise.
With 48% cacao chcocolate: OK, but not as good as above.

 
   

Glenfiddich 30y

(Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€)

Nose:
Dark chocolate, ginger and raisins

Palate: Very smooth and gentle, but quite short. Very nice soft raisins.

 
 

With chocolate: The offered chocolate was again quite bitter and far too strong for the Glenfiddich. However, I went back to a truffle originally offered with the 21y and this combination of Glenfiddich 30y with a truffle was a good combination.

 
 

Overall Impression of Masterclass

This class was led by Alois Immoos of a leading Swiss chocolate company and yes, this was fine chocolate, but most of the combinations just didn't work.
Whisky & chocolate can work very well in combination, but they have to be better matched than these were and perhaps more account be taken of the whisky, rather than just showing us how good the chocolate is.

 

 

 

 

 

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