Glenfiddich 21 year old Reserva Rum Cask Finish, 40%
Single Malt Scotch | $210
Rich, sweet, and fruity with baked apples drizzled in honey, crisp white pear, honeysuckle, dried banana, vanilla fudge, and pecan pie. This works so well with the nascent Glenfiddich spirit; lime zest, vanilla, foamy meringue, honey blossom sweetness, and pepper transitioning to lime shred marmalade, soft oak, and a dry spicy finish. Vibrant, stimulating, sophisticated, and so well balanced that it never risks becoming overly sweet.
An impressive single cask bottling of Glenfiddich. It really shows the natural potential of this distillery. Nothing fancy here, just the pure elegance of Glenfiddich. Notes of shortbread, demerara sugar, and white chocolate, spiced with toasted nuts, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Very clean and polished.
A 23 year old expression that was maturated in American oak and a small number of sherry casks before a finish for up to 6 months in French cuvée wine casks. Canned apricots in syrup, toasted marshmallows, apple blossom, and honey on the nose. Pears, vanilla, freshly sawn timber, warm white bread, caramel, cloves, and milk chocolate on the relatively full palate. Toffee and instant coffee in the lingering finish.
A classic mature ‘Fiddich nose, that mix of chocolate, sweet fruits, and funkiness. Dried apples, a little currant, but also a pure thread of sweetness. In time, a little fresh mushroom. Complex. Soft on the tongue, so you need to concentrate on what’s happening. Later becomes minty, with supple tannins and a little artichoke on the finish. Water needs to be handled carefully to bring out green herbal notes. I’d probably keep water on the side. Excellent. (Travel Retail only) £250
We’re drinking liquid history here. Antique gold color. Aromas of dried citrus, lemongrass, and ginger with background honeyed vanilla, dried herb, bouquet of roses, and a wisp of smoke. Very long and evolving on the palate, going from sweet to dry: vanilla custard, crème brulee, white chocolate, candied citrus, juicy oak, polished leather, dried tobacco, and then resinous oak, with teasing dry roasted nuts and hint of peat bog throughout. Long dry, resinous finish. Remarkably well-maintained for its age. I can tell that it’s an old whisky, but it shows good complexity. It’s not tired and excessively oaked.
When compared to the 30 year old and 40 year old expressions, it’s actually more vibrant and youthful than the 40 sample I have. Yet it doesn’t have the deft balance and roundness which I consider a hallmark of the 30. Bottom line here: Anyone who can afford this whisky and actually drinks it will not be disappointed. It’s really nice. But for us regular folk, try to pick up a 30 year old Glenfiddich if you can find one and you won’t go wrong with the whisky — or the price (relatively speaking, that is).
Glenfiddich’s Experimental Series continues with this expression, finished for up to 6 months in ice wine casks sourced from Peller Estates winery in Ontario, Canada. Concentrated aromas of canned peaches in syrup, vanilla, and clotted cream. Silky on the palate, with a carryover of peaches from the nose and succulent blood oranges. The finish is medium in length, slowly drying, but fruity to the end. (7,800 bottles in U.S.)
Very elegant and refined. Obviously this whisky was aged in a pristine sherry cask. The flavors are quite clean and well-defined. Gently sweet and fruity, with golden raisin, candy apple, and red raspberry jam. There’s delicate pineapple, dried cherry, coconut, and vanilla too, with a polished oak finish. A very classy Glenfiddich. Not as bold and spicy as last year’s 1976 vintage (which I had a hand in selecting but, ironically, don’t like as much). This new vintage approaches the caliber of the 1973 Vintage release from two years ago which I still think is the best one in recent years.
A vatting of different ages of Glenfiddich (the youngest being 14 years old) aged in American oak, then married in virgin American oak casks on which folk from the States had written their hopes and dreams…Awww! Deliciously fruity and clean, it’s all pear juice, crème brûlée, fudge, cool mint, and dessert apple. With water, there’s dusty cinnamon, kiwi, and milk chocolate. The oak acts as a smoothing base for this fruitiness. A lovely idea and a lovely whisky.
Glenfiddich 21 year old Gran Reserva Caribbean Rum Finish, 40%
Single Malt Scotch | $120
Soothing and seamless on the nose and palate with chewy toffee, molasses, nougat, almond butter, vanilla fudge, cinnamon spice, and nutmeg, along with gentle tobacco notes emerging later on the palate. A pleasing dry finish offsets the sweeter notes. A delicious whisky from beginning to end.
This was aged in a mixture of bourbon and oloroso sherry casks, followed by a final spell of marrying in wooden tuns. Dried fruits, dark chocolate, figs, and cinnamon on the nose. The palate yields rich caramel and toffee-apple notes, plus ginger, cloves, and medium sherry. More dried fruits, cookies, and a sprinkling of allspice in the slightly smoky, medium to long finish.
Surprisingly pale (you see the issue, Macallan?), but long aging in refill casks helps eliminate the bluntness of oak and can produce aromas that have been reduced and then taken into an exotic realm; here manifested as quince paste and kumquat followed by crystallized and candied fruits. The palate is subtle and soft with light heat, toasted chocolate, white currant, and then overwhelming cherry blossom. Exotic is the word. Bottled for China, but may be given a wider release. £3,000
One of two initial releases in Glenfiddich’s Experimental Series, this is a non-chill filtered expression. A vatting of twenty casks, including first-fill bourbon, sherry butts, and port pipes. The nose is fragrant and faintly oriental, with vanilla, Jaffa oranges, and apricots. The palate is full and sweet, with oranges and lemons, fudge, plump sultanas, milk chocolate, and tangy spices. Drying steadily to fruity oakiness in the relatively lengthy finish. £50
The fourth release in Glenfiddich’s Experimental Series, this expression comprises peated and unpeated single malt, matured in bourbon barrels and then finished for 3 months in Latin American rum casks. A nose of spiced rum, vanilla, ripe pears, and pipe tobacco. Baked apple, sweet oak, and cinder toffee on the palate, with ashy smoke. Peppery sweet peat, rum, and brittle toffee in the relatively short finish. Best Value
One of a trio of new whiskies that have spent time in Glenfiddich’s new solera vats, this will surprise many because of its overt smokiness that’s like a bonfire in a pear orchard. Some ferny greenness adds to the freshness. The reverse happens on the palate, with the smoke being held in check by the soft mouthfeel (which could be solera-enhanced), ripe fruits, and gentle creaminess. (Travel Retail; Asia only, currently.)£70
Glenfiddich 14 year old Bourbon Barrel Reserve, 43%
Single Malt Scotch | $54
After 14 years in bourbon wood, this was finished in heavily-charred new American oak barrels, sourced from Kelvin Cooperage in Louisville, Kentucky. Malt, vanilla, and fudge on the nose, with ripe apples and lively oak. Toffee, caramel, vanilla, and cinnamon on the palate, while the finish is nutty, with notes of char. The closest Glenfiddich gets to producing a bourbon! Value pick
Pale straw in color, and while it is clean and fresh, it’s also very delicate, with elderflower blossom, dusty florals, and a freshly-starched linen note. All rather discreet, shy even, but effort reveals a subtly lovely dram. Water adds a perfumed, green note. As the nose suggests, it’s not an immediate thruster of a malt, with some light jasmine tea and a little fleshy fruit on the end. Tread cautiously, lest you scare it.
Here, a new solera vat is home to a Glenfiddich that has been exclusively aged in sherry casks, and shows its origins with deep, black fruitiness, orange peel, and sultana. The signature pears of ’Fiddich
here are dried and sit next to moist fruitcake. Ripe and long, with toffee, a pleasant wisp of sulfur, and blackberry. An easy-going sherried style that’s ideal for the beginner. (Travel Retail exclusive.) £49/1 liter
Another from Glenfiddich’s three new solera vats, here we can see the distillery’s light character turned up to the max thanks to a mix of American oak, red wine casks, and a smidgen of sherry. Think of hyacinth, ultra-fresh William pear, light barley, and grass. Zesty, clean and light, and ridiculously drinkable with a silky feel in the middle of the tongue. Quite a bargain. (Travel Retail exclusive.) £39/1 liter
The world’s best-selling single malt. Isn’t that sufficient to give this dram some respect? It might be me, but it strikes me that ’Fiddich has more heft to it these days, with a sherried element giving the pear, apple, and light cereal of the distillery character a sweet, plump, sultana underpinning. This then adds chewiness to the palate, balancing the dry nuttiness and receding on the finish where those green fruits come through to add fresh acidity. Great balance.
I used to find this a little lacking in structure. Either I’ve changed my palate (or was always wrong), or the solera’s slow changes have added depth and complexity. The nose is all cooked plums, with some blueberry, stewing rhubarb. All is delicately scented, with some currant leaf, then sultana and sweet dried fruits. The palate is equally fruity—more hedgerow fruits now—but there’s grip and a little fresh acidity to balance. Hugely appealing and approachable.
Named in honor of the early Portuguese explorers, this newest Glenfiddich expression has spent a lengthy period of secondary maturation in Madeira drums. This has given a rich sweet fruitiness — think blueberry muffins mixed with moss alongside date, fig, and black grape. The palate is sweet and smooth with a pickup of gingery spices toward the finish. Well balanced and quite a departure. (Travel Retail exclusive, not available in the U.S.) £75
One of the duo of releases in Glenfiddich’s Experimental Series, ‘IPA’ was finished for 3 months in casks that previously held the Speyside Craft Brewery’s India pale ale. The nose offers hops and honey, malt, toffee, cooking apples, and lemon. Smooth on the palate, with more honey and toffee, soft spices and, ultimately, slightly bitter, hoppy ale notes. The finish is medium in length, with dry spices and plain chocolate.
Second of this pair of limited editions from Glenfiddich. This was named after a number of the distillery’s warehouse roofs collapsed under the weight of snow in 2010. This was a bottling of a selection of casks — ex-sherry, ex-bourbon, refill — from one of those damaged warehouses. It is gentle and sweet — cooked pear, fruit crumble topped with rolled oats, golden syrup, and on the palate hints of raisin. A lemon finish adds a freshness to a dangerously drinkable dram.
Bottled for this auspicious occasion, this is a Glenfiddich that confounds people’s expectations by being smoky, not from casks (à la Caoran) but the distillate. Fresh, with a nose that brings to mind eating apples and hazelnuts around a late summer bonfire; the smoke seems in charge. On the palate, the reverse happens, with the fruits being thrust forward and the smoke only emerging on the finish. It’s vibrant and needs water, and is a lot of fun. Happy Birthday! (Travel Retail and distillery shop exclusive)£70