Speyside region – Four expressions from Glenfiddich.
As I write this post, I am holed up in a hotel room room with my two little girls asleep in a king-sized bed in the next room while my wife and I are cuddled up on our hide-away couch/bed.
You see, we’ve been sort-of victimized by hurricane Irene.
Thank G-d (B”H) we and our family not hurt and our house is damage-free. I consider us lucky compared to some people I know who’ve had their houses completely flooded; trees down on their houses, etc… We’re lucky. We’re only victims of an extended power outage. Power should be restored sometime next week and once we have power, we’ll have water. Not to get to graphic but, toilets are only good when they work. It’s a shitty situation.
I hope and pray that all those affected by the storm can return to normal life ASAP.
So, what to do when you’re finally in a place where you have electricity? Well, I don’t know about you but, I like to write whisky reviews so that’s what I’m’a doin’ right now.
Special thanks goes out to Heather Greene for the samples of the four Glenfiddichs below. I had a lot of fun with them and fell in love with two of them!
Enjoy (I did)!
Glenfiddich 15yo Solera – 40%ABV – $35 | £32
On the nose — Very woody – more so than I expected from a 15yo whisky such as this. It’s not a bad thing, just a strong note. Let’s hope there’s some spice or fruit to balance it out.
Honey and apricots and almond slivers. Laminated cardboard and a warm… scratch that, hot sauna.
On the mouth — Here comes the fruit I was looking for – casaba melon, red pear and red plum. Honey and spice and a wisp or thread of peat smoke. Increasingly spicy or, spiced. Soft and mouth coating yet tannic.
Finish — Very dry finish reminiscent of a light yet dry wine.
In sum — I had this whisky a few years back. Actually, if was my first Glenfiddich and I liked it quite a bit. Upon a return to it, I didn’t appreciate it as much as I did the first time around. I think there’s just too much wood it’s a bit too drying for me. I’d not say no to this if it were offered to me and I may choose it over other whiskies (old 12yo Bunnahabhain 40%ABV, I’m looking at you). Then again, if I had a choice between a whisky at 40%ABV and a higher or cask strength version, I think I’d pass on this one – give me the Cask Strength version please! The higher ABV let’s you play with the whisky a little more (adding water & how much?) Speaking of which… let’s move on, shall we?
Glenfiddich 15yo “102” – 51%ABV – $55 | £40
On the nose — Thick, fat, meaty mafia don sherried type nose. Perhaps some root veggies in there (sugared as it were). Ginger and nuts. New sneakers, fresh in the box. Big and rich raisins still in the cardboard box.
Just an overall pleasing, sherried nose.
On the mouth — Pow! The taste of this stuff is picking up where the nose left off. Fried walnuts, dirty socks, sour apples and toasted apple skins. Warm almonds and loads of popsicle sticks (wet and sugary). Caramel, fudge and hazelnuts – Toffifay!
Finish — Long with hints of plastic bags, walnuts and graham crackers (graham crackers?? Where’d you come from?)
In sum — It’s nice to taste a Glenifiddich in it’s natural cask strength. Sort of a rare-ish opportunity to show you what the whisky is like in it’s natural state. This is one for a late night and a good book or as part of a sherried whisky tasting event. This’ll hold it’s own for sure!
Glenfiddich 21yo Gran Reserva Caribbean Rum Finish – 40%ABV – $120 | £77
On the nose — Snooty college girls puffing on clove cigarettes. NYC library.
Gobs and gobs of vanilla and a tad (just a tad) of honey mustard. Black raisins, currant.
On the mouth — Massive oak attack.
Tiramasu soaking, even dripping, with rum. Back to the NYC library (like a warm oaken room). Burnt sugar.
The mouthfeel is thin but then again, many of the rum cask finished whiskies I’ve had have had a thin mouth feel.
Finish — Long and sweet with wine soaked grapes. Buttery and oaky
In sum — A lovely grouping of flavors and a nice little ride but, similar to the 15yo bottled at 40%, I really think this stuff would benefit from a higher ABV and no chill filtration. Very nice smell and flavor-wise (great balance) but slightly…tired and I did not care for the mouth feel.
Glenfiddich Snow Phoenix – 47.6%ABV – $89 | £93
On the nose — Big bright and rambunctious nose. This is like the Pippy Longstockings of whisky.
Very fruity, slightly tropical but more like super fresh and sugared pears with a cinnamon dusting. Light hay, honey, buttermilk biscuits. What most notable about this whisky is just how lively and inviting it is.
Just a joy.
On the mouth — Great malty attack with bursts of that initial sweetness/fruitiness I got on the nose. Spicy, lemony (though not sour in anyway, very, very sweet). Raisins in Reisling. Incredibly fizzy and lively – this stuff just dances on your tongue.
There’s a slight off-note in here, like the rind or pith of a fruit. Forget what I said about no sour note, it’s there (though integrated quite well).
A mere hint or thread of smoke in here (perhaps a wood effect?)
Finish — Interestingly woody, long and spicy.
In sum — I’ve had many a ‘fiddich but few, if any, I found to be as lively and engaging as this one. This will cure the summertime blues (forget what those guys say, there is a cure!). I hope this experiment is one that the folks a Glenfiddich can use to help gauge what an additional direction for Glenfiddich could be. I’ll be singing the glories of this whisky for some time to come…