Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Glenfiddich Blind Tasting

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+

Nose – Melon, grape, sweet and balanced
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.

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