Glenfiddich and Iain Banks is where I started with Scotch whisky. I read Iain’s book “Raw Spirit” when I heard about his terminal illness. His review of the Glenfiddich 21 yo Gran Reserva Rum Cask Finish was enough to make me buy a bottle – and at over £80 a bottle it was the most expensive bottle of whisky I’d bought, of any kind, and I fell in love with it. 5 years ago+ I used to drink scotch but with ice, I now know that was all wasted money and time – ice destroys whisky. 5 years ago I switched to bourbon and ice and was enjoying that. Iain’s book made me try good scotch without ice and nothing’s been the same since, I now get it.
Anyway, as this was the whisky that changed me, I decided to do a blind tasting of all the expressions I could get from Master of Malt’s “drinks by the dram” (3cl tasters – I’m not sure this constitutes a dram but there you go). As you’ll see, the whisky that started it all came last behind a bunch of cheaper whiskies I’ve since been enjoying even more – this is the beauty of blind tastings.
Glenfiddich – Age of Discovery 19 year old A+
Body – Well rounded and very well balanced, sweet, light malted edge
Finish – Long, elegant, sweeping and perfectly balanced
Glenfiddich – 12 year old A
Nose – Pears, viognier, oak, very sweet
Body – oaked, slightly rougher, sweet and floral. Delicious.
Finish – long, changing, well balanced
Glenfiddich – Gran Reserva 21 year old A-
Nose – Honey, apples and scrumpy, aged oak and bookcase. Complicated and beautiful.
Body – Malt and oak at the front, sweet and less floral. Bold and structured but a little less balanced.
Finish – Shorter and flatter than expected from the nose, hence the A-
Glenfiddich – 15 year old solera reserve A
Nose – Very strong apple and apple cider. Almost rotten apple nose.
Body – Incredible interplay between oak, malt and sweetness. Expertly balanced, fantastic.
Finish – Salty, tangy finish rolling after the malt and oak. Beautiful.
Glenfiddich – 15 year old distillery edition A⊕
Nose – Apples, marker pens and acetone. Sweet and balanced.
Body – Smooth and firmly malted, well balanced but with real backbone.
Finish – Long and comes with a wave of cough candy and pears, and a fierce alcohol burn.
In summary, the 19 yo is fantastic but with a slightly rotten edge, its very smooth though. The DE 15yo is significantly more structured and complicated than the solera and is my winner from the group, and the whisky I bought. Fantastic. All were very good, I can see why Glenfiddich is so popular.
Despite my rating, I will continue to enjoy the 21yo. Thank you Glenfiddich for introducing me to proper scotch whisky.