You know what I like? Cocktails. And just between you and me, I sometimes enjoy a Vodka Cranberry. Yeah, you heard me right. But do you know what I don’t like? Alchoholic Syncretism. If we are not talking about cocktails, generally speaking, this is expressed when you merge two standalone styles into a new creation. Think of the various booze hybrids out there that seek to capitalize on some cute marketing novelty or even the ever eye roll inducing term of “innovation.” Case in point: beers aged in bourbon barrels. Too expensive and they taste way too weird. Beer is fine by itself and bourbon is fine by itself. Innovation can really only go so far when there is nothing wrong with what you’re trying to innovate in the first place. The first possible charge of fallacy towards me could go this way: why do I enjoy Scotch whisky finished in sherry wine barrels, then? I do. And there goes my argument, crashing down like Trumps’s approval rating. I’m glad you got to watch. Now let’s get on with this review now that I have killed some space.
Glenfiddich’s Bourbon Barrel Reserve bears some connection to my ramblings on “syncretism.” This is an attempt to finish a 14 year old single malt in charred bourbon barrels for an additional 4 months. The intended effect is for a thoroughly Scottish malt to take on flavors reserved for America’s spirit, namely those flavors derived from caramelized oak with some barrel char thrown in. Our good friends at Glenfiddich are banking on us liking this hybrid quite a bit being that Bourbon Barrel Reserve is now a permanent addition in Glenfiddich’s line. I should note that criticism (click to see example) has already been leveled against this merging of styles, and I am inclined to agree. Don’t fix what isn’t broken. That being said, we could still have a lovely whisky on our hands. Let’s see….
Nose- Bourbon toffee, light sweetness. A quiet vanilla with some Werther’s candy. Struggled to find the Scotch in this Scotch.
Taste- Light and flowery. Some nice creaminess with honey. Sweet grain. Hint of tobacco.
Finish- Medium length. Tobacco and charred oak. Furniture polish. Citrus rind. Not bad.
Comments- Fans of either styles will not be overly pleased with the results, but nevertheless we have a very pleasant but yet subdued hybrid. Not a very complex offering bit still enjoyable. I doubt its permanence.
SWC Rating – 84/100
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