Glenfiddich 30 Year Old

Spirit Name:
Glenfiddich 30 Year Old
3, medal, silver icon

Speyside, Scotland
Heavenly (big oak influence, as to be expected)
Best served:
A big heart of oak pulsates with a rich dark chocolate theme as flutters of fruit and spice add some vibrancy to the gentle glow of sherry that shines; very rarely can a whisky aficionado unpack such a delightful whisky.
Tasting notes:
Glenfiddich is possibly the most well known Scotch whisky distillery in the world, boasting a long market presence and popularity that is unshared by most other distilleries (though, The Macallan, The Glenlivet and Ardbeg are nipping at its heels or have now outpaced Glenfiddich in the popularity stakes).
While Ardbeg seems to be on the tip of every whisky lover’s tongue, the word “Glenfiddich” is rarely uttered by single malt aficionados who are always looking for new levels of complexity and depth in their whisky. This is a real shame, because Glenfiddich is one of the lead players in Scotch whisky and its master blenders know what they are doing. This combination of resources and talent is very likely to produce some of the best whisky around.
The Glenfiddich 30 Year Old is a whisky with super levels of complexity and layers. It has been aged for a staggering 30 years, but is not overcooked by the oak and instead has beautiful fruity complexity intermingling with the luscious oak influence. Glenfiddich does not simply select a 30 year old cask, bottle it and sell it. Choosing the Glenfiddich 30 year old is a process which involves careful nosing and tasting of casks by the Malt Master, who then marries the whiskies together. It is, therefore, handcrafted by the Malt Master and not left to the oak gods to decide its final character.
As my parallel tasting of the Highland Park range revealed, age sometimes does matter because the 25 and 30 year old had an elegant complexity that the younger expressions lacked. Glenfiddich is a little different in that I preferred the 15 year old to the 18 year old, but the 30 year old is out of this world! It is simply breathtaking whisky.
Nose: You will be hard pressed to find a more delightful nose, because 30 years in oak has produced one of the most complex whiskies I have had the pleasure of nosing. The oak influence is noticeable but not overstated because it allows the distillate driven fruit notes to chime with softness. Tropical fruits are first noticeable, with ripe pineapple and sliced mango tossed with mixed herbs and ginger. This is seductively sweet, with light floral notes and rich sherry that is moderated by a dense but energetic oak that is creamy like chocolate milk and a smoky dry coconut husk.
Taste: That herbal character moves to the palate with a big wave of oak driven dark chocolate upon which gentle sherry notes shimmer with honeyed floral notes and subtle nuances of the mulberry family that intensify into dried dates with sparks of cinnamon and sliced lemon wedges alongside aniseed. This is sensationally smooth whisky, but do not expect to be blown away because this is not that type of whisky; it is much too classy and refined. Some may say that it is “boring”, but I think it has subtle nuances of complexity that deserve close attention to unpack.
Finish: The beauty of Speyside lingers on the palate, flowers, honey and a lingering oak with the gentle chime of sherry; not over the top just smooth as silk lusciousness.

Beauty, complexity, restraint and subtlety. This whisky has a beautiful rich elegance and the oak, while a big presence, is not over stated thanks to the careful work of the Malt Master at Glenfiddich who selects the 30 year old. Some people say that the “sweet spot” for whiskies is between the mid teens and early twenties, but I have found that age sometimes does matter and my favourite whiskies are the Highland Park 30 Year Old and now the Glenfiddich 30 Year Old! Sheer beauty and rich, dense elegance. However, this should be compared with my tasting of the Brora 30 Year Old and the Glenrothes 1968 vintage 35 Year Old (Duncan & Taylor), which, seemed overdone by the oak.
This is not so much a “dislike”, but it should be read as a warning for those among you thinking of buying it. Some old whiskies can seem “flat” or “boring” to some. This 30 year old may not ignite with the same lustful passion as a younger whisky, but it is beautifully elegant and rich with a density and presence in the glass that oozes class. In fact, I used a similar warning with the Appleton Estate 21 Year Old which, unlike its younger versions, is soft and mellow without that alcohol aggressiveness or big bite. The Glenfiddich 30 Year Old is an old whisky, so it expresses itself as such: elegant, mellow, calm and collected. Amazing how the maturating of whisky reflects the maturation of people; the bark and bite from my early to mid-20’s has faded and now I much prefer to sit back and sip a whisky!
Other than the big oak influence and woody heart, I would like to see this whisky at a higher alcohol volume; and this may give it some more bite! Come on Glenfiddich, join the cask strength party (sadly, I missed the Snow Phoenix).
$500 (Aus), ₤300 (UK), ~$400 (US)
Visit Glenfiddich:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s