Last Friday I visited again a Whisky tasting. This time it was hosted by Tony van Rooijen the Dutch Brand manager of Glenfiddich and The Balvenie. This time we virtually visited the distillery while enjoying several drams from the Glenfiddich Range. The virtual tour was fun to see. But let us see what whisky we did taste and my strange conclusion.
For most of the people who getting into the Single Malt scene this one isn’t a surprise. To me it has a nice softness about it with lots of fruitiness of hard fruits (apple/pear) and hints of flower. But it also delicate and quite vanilla sweet with no layering in the taste or nose. It is an easy going malt to enjoy when whisky isn’t the prime subject of the evening. The finish is watery and lacking power as is the entire dram. Doesn’t do it for me.
Glenfiddich 14 year old Rich Oak 40% ABV
This one is matured for 14 years in used oak and then finished in new oak wooden casks in a mix of American and European Oak Casks. This combination makes this dram a bit more complex than the standard 12 year old. There is a substantially heftier oak influence with moor hints of spice and dried fruits. Still very fruity. The taste is more sweeter with more fruits as apricot and again the pear/apple. Also some milk chocolate appears next to the vanilla. Somewhat longer finish but still a bit too watery for me with the dried fruits and some tannins bitterness. Going in the right direction, but I am still not impressed.
Glenfiddich 15 year Solera Reserve 40%
As a lover of the more sherried whiskies this one is directly much better on the nose. It is matured in 3 types of casks (American Bourbon, Sherry and some Virgin Oak). The nose show the sherry influence, the dark fruity tones of several dried fruits, combined with the sour freshness of some citrus is pleasant. The taste is somewhat honeyed sweet with some tangy spices derived from the Virgin Oak and light hints of balsamic vineager. The finish is balanced and in depth and definitely more of my liking, but still I would wish they get it on a slightly higher ABV. With this one Tony let us try tasting it with a mouthful of (melted, chewed on) dark chocolate and this is a experience you have to try for yourself (I don’t know how to describe what is happening in your mouth, but it explodes)
Glenfiddich 18 year 40%
Again a dram which has a certain part of Oloroso sherry influence in it. Very warming with apple and dried grapes. Also hints of the balsamic vinegar and… at the first nosing a bad sulphur, which luckily is directly gone. More robust, but still delicate sweetness and oaky with some sweetened breakfast cereals (the one with dried grapes and apple in it). The taste is balanced but not displaying much layering. Not too complex, but again that somewhat watery/blend finish with some bitterness and drying out. Very enjoyable though.
Glenfiddich 21 year 40%
This one is finished in Rum casks and that is showing of. Demerara sweetness, banana, dark chocolate but also some citrus freshness and lots of caramel. The taste is rich and coating your mouth, a little spicy too! Longer finish with some coffee, toffee next to the rum like sweetness. Finally we are getting in the more complex range, this one is playful and the first which didn’t made me wonder how it would be at say 46%. Damn pretty good dram!
Glenfiddich Age of Discovery 19 year old Madeira Finished
The latest edition to the GF Range after a period of only available at the Duty Free shops. The Madeira finish giving it a nice complexity and layering. More dark winey influence, but still lots of fruits and nuttiness, also some toasted bread. The taste is delicate but pleasant with a lot of grape and wood. Also a faint hint of burned wood. Also quite soft probably due to the lack of a higher ABV. It again gives me a toned down feeling. The nose was promising and in the N&T tasting quite difficult to get all the smells, but the finish is lacking.
Wow, this is different. Very beautiful nose and finally a higher ABV which shows off directly. More richness in the nose with very pleasant sherry influence combined with a soft but fruity spiced oily cacao mid. The taste is extremely enjoyable and it took me a long time to finish this one, again as with more of these settings wishing I could give it more time. It is still very fruity and youngish despite it 30 years of age. Made my evening! Excellent dram although be it pricy. Wish I could taste this one again in my own relaxed environment and give it the time it deserves.
Glenfiddich New Spirit approx 63% ABV
I think I was the only one present that drank the entire sample of this new spirit. I don’t know why but it was very appealing. There were the fruity base hints present, but it was showing a power and potential complexity which I was missing in the most of the GF’s we tasted. In a way it was a very pleasant surprise and if I had to rate this within the line-up albeit no whisky it would end high up, although it misses a lot of refinement and balance it was for a New Spirit very very enjoyable.
Well, the tasting didn’t turn me around in a great Glenfiddich fan. The most appealing to me where the elder ones with the more sherry influence in it. But unfortunately the prices in de range are going up rapidly. With the prices in your mind the 15 year Oloroso might be the best in the price/quality range, the twelve being a good starter, but the winner to me is the 30 year old followed by the 21 year old en the New Spirit (!!!). I wish Glenfiddich would bring out more whisky at a higher ABV, say around 46% which I feel will benefit the drams. Tony and Johan/Helma (DH17slijterij) thank you for a pleasant evening and till next time!