Glenfiddich 12 year old


Recommended use: Serve neat

Malt Mileage Rating: stars 4.5

Type: Single malt Scotch whisky

Origin: Speyside, Scotland

ABV: 40%

Price: AU$60 / US$40 / £30 

1. The whisky

Glenfiddich 12 year old is matured in American oak and European oak sherry casks for at least 12 years. In an effort to get some consistency in the flavour of its malt, Glenfiddich place the matured whisky in tall oak barrels known as “marrying tuns” because whisky from different casks will tend to mature differently and develop distinct flavours.

2. Blind tasting notes

The nose presents with crushed pear, cooked apple, vanilla custard, coconut macaron and petals. On the palate the whisky is clean and approachable, and yet has enough fire to jolt the taste buds. Find lots of apple, dry cider and cinnamon sitting over a very creamy foundation as the sherry wood faintly hums drying yet sugary tunes in the distance and the American oak offers toffee and vanilla. On the finish the oak plays a bigger part, with gentle warming wood spices adding some flair to mixed dried fruit and the apple rich core (pun intended) of this malt. Overall, Glenfiddich 12 year old provided a lovely progression of flavours over a very creamy foundation; a sweet apple rich entry soon dried, then soft oak notes emerged to add subtle shades of spice alongside dried fruit.

3. Conclusions

Often what motivates me to do blind tastings is the fact that, as humans, we tend to perceive expensive products as being superior to less expensive products; in fact, studies have shown that when people are given identical products they tend to enjoy the product which has the higher price tag. At its price, Glenfiddich 12 year old can easily be dismissed by our brains as inferior to more expensive whiskies; a real shame, because it is a superb single malt whisky.

During my blind tasting of the Glenfiddich 12 year old I was impressed by its balance, smoothness and, in particular, its projection of clean crisp apple character amidst the soft oak flavours. We know that an abundant ester in the “hearts” of a distillation run is ethyl hexanoate which has a character that is similar apple, and this indicates to me that the Glenfiddich 12 year old is finely distilled malt. It is one of the better examples of great distilling, as the character of the distillate shines in this malt and that character is that lovely fruity apple character you tend to get from excellent fermenting and distilling.

Glenfiddich 12 year old – smooth, approachable, fruity apple, creamy and softly oaked with subtle spice, mild sugars and faint sherry.   

To learn more about how whisky is made, fermenting, distilling and maturing in oak see my post:How is whisky made and where does its flavour come from? Distilling and Maturing whisky‘.

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