Glenfiddich - 18

At the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival they give out Whisky Awards after a blind tasting is first done by a small panel and then the shortlisted whiskies in three different categories are judged blind by the visitors of the festival.

The winning expressions were served in the #Dram16Winners Twitter Tasting on the 15th of June. We all were presented by the following drams; Glen Grant 10Glenfiddich 12Glen Moray 16Glenfiddich 18, Cragganmore 25 and the Glenfiddich 21.

As you can see below I have been editing this note for the last two years a bit going back again and again to this Glenfiddich expression that is married in small batches out of no more then 150 casks. Another chance to have a look at it in this tasting, so another update.

A sweet and fresh nose with notes of tropical fruits, mango, pineapple, apple pie, woody spices, dry coconut, toffee, red crunchy apples, fresh ginger, honey, vanilla, pepper and equaliptus. The palate is much like the nose, balanced, sweet, fruity and fresh. 

Marzipan, cherries, hint of leather, vanilla, raisins, honey, sticky toffee pudding, chocolate mousse, powdered sugar, dried stone fruits and some mint freshness. A good length finish with toffee sweetness and creamy vanilla. Updating the score also, and giving it an 8 to 8,5 out of 10. 

This is just wonderful whisky. Yes, each time, each batch, just a little bit different, but you can feel the same core in it and giving a good whisky to enjoy.


Mid January of this year I published a post called "A Glenfiddich 18 year old and assumptions made..."
It was about the earlier experiences I had with this dram and how it made me rethink it all. I left the original post below with my earlier tasting notes.

Why doing this and looking again at this one? Well, on the 23rd day of The Whisky Advent Calender from the guys at Drink By The Dram there was a sample of the Glenfiddich 18 year old. No clue on further details of this specific batch, but wanted to keep my notes on this dram together, so this is what I found in the sample from the calender...

The nose is filled with warm notes of spices and fruits. Cinnamon, oak, red pepper, apples, dark honey, marzipan, hint of oranges, toffee and soft chocolate. Dark rich spices, ginger, cherries and some leather. These notes combined with some soft stone fruits follow onto the palate. Vanilla, raisin and dark chocolate linger on for a bit on the medium length finish. A lovely creamy warming dram for a cold day like this...  


"A Glenfiddich 18 year old and assumptions made..."

Ok... we have been saying "need to buy a bottle of this one" for a while now. We have tasted it at many occasions like below, what I wrote after a festival.

"At the Whisky by the Sea 2014 festival we had a taste of the 18 year old Glenfiddich. Lovely dram! Sweet, warm, fruity, fudge and so much more. One to put on the to buy list for sure, great!" 

We have been to the distillery a couple of times now and have seen also the making of this wonderful whisky. And have seen what it says at the label "married in small batches"  But I made an assumption. I know, stupid! The assumption was that even when married in small batches, Glenfiddich, the size being it for a producer of whisky, that they would make a product that is very similar like the other batches. Noticed the batch number before, but never stood still, and realised the big differences there are between them. Just made the assumption, maybe little things different, but an 18 year old is an 18 year old, and that you get with every bottle a same like experience. Oh boy, what was I wrong!

At the Whisky Weekend Amsterdam we once more ended at the stand of Maxxium and chatted to Tony, the ambassador for Glenfiddich and Balvenie really here in the Netherlands. He put in front of us two different batches #3047 and #3300. We have never put two batches of this 18 year old side by side and were amazed. The batch #3047 was smooth, sweet and full with fruity, honey and rich dried fruits. Batch #3300 was more rich vanilla, and more spices and chilli pepper. Also fruit and sweet, but a completely different experience. I cant see back on the photo's of earlier festivals what batch we tried before, and have a sample of some here from our last tour being the designated drivers we could sample some but without a batch number.

So I went home, thinking about this for a bit. Thanks Tony for this quick wake up call, and letting me see that I made a quick and not correct assumption about this wonderful whisky. But also damn you a bit, but with a smile, that I now really have to go to the shop and purchase myself a bottle :-)

For today, with the shops closed I will dive into the sample in front of me. But this also made me think again about something else that I have noticed a bit going on. And must say that I also have done it, but now going back a bit on it. When starting to drink whisky you start mostly with the bigger brands, like for instance Glenfiddich. But then you wonder more and more to the other tables at festivals with the more limited and older bottlings, more independent bottlers and so. You all now what I am talking about. Those are really great and loving it, absolutely, not going to deny that! I am always for keeping it as it is, and keeping it clear what it is, and craft and so. Just like I always will say what I find of a whisky if that is positive or negative. It is my taste.

But what I wanted to say really is, just stop sometimes, and try a blend, or maybe something from the bigger brands from their standard range. I hear a lot "oh, no thank you, that's just a....." And you see people pulling their noses up. Well. Why not really look at them, yes ignoring the fact that it can be NAS, non chill filtered and maybe also coloured and not at a strength you might want to see. But it still has craft and passion in it. Making it, and maturing it in the right way. Try to see beyond the brand and just smell and taste, you can be amazed. It is not all bad you know? Whisky is to be enjoyed, there for it is made. And not all is maybe to every ones liking, but is that so bad? There is something for every one. But please don't limit your self in the explorations of the massive assortment of whisk(e)y and other spirits out there. It never hurts to try something sometimes, you never know when you will be surprised...

Thanks Tony, for keeping me with both feet on the ground again... Sometimes you just need a reality check.
And for the notes on 18 year old sample in front of me?

Warm, spices, soft, smooth, creamy, chocolate pudding, toffee, clover honey, raisin, vanilla, red apples, oranges and hint of chilli pepper and mint. Warm wintery spices and some ginger mixed with fruits and fresh citrus notes.

Like the nose, lovely balanced feel between nose and palate. Sweet, fruit and spices mixed giving it a warm feel and want you to snuggle in front of a fireplace and sip this. Different kind of fruits come more to the front the longer I hold the glass in my hand and let it breath. Maybe hinting towards a bit tropical fruit note like mango almost?

Medium length, sweet and chocolate creamy feel left behind. Very pleasant.

I give this one a 7,5 out of 10. As said before, no clue on batch number, but like it very much.

No comments:

Post a Comment