When we tasted a flight of Glenfiddich whiskies blind for a meeting this summer, somewhat surprisingly, the 18 came out on top. I am normally a bigger fan of the 15, but because blind tastings are really good at making a fool out of you, the truth always comes out. Laid bare before your friends, but most importantly, yourself, you are forced to update your opinions when faced with the cold indifference a blind tasting affords.
Another interesting dynamic for today’s selection: not that expectations are unimportant for younger whiskies, but when a consumer is given the choice to purchase a 12 or an 18, there is understandably a proposed wager with either choice. If I choose the 12, the price tag will be lower, and perhaps I will be pleased with the results, though certainly I will not be out the money required for the 18. It’s the safer bet. If I choose the 18, I have to pay more, but what is implied is a better value proposition in exchange for the increased price tag. This dynamic is present in all crescendo-ing price tags for a given range, but for Scotch whisky, the stakes go up considerably with an 18 year old offering. There are simply not as many competing offers in this range. If you want to step up the plate and offer a hit, you better swing well when the pitch goes by at this level.
1 in every 3 bottles of malt whisky sold in the world is from Glenfiddich. One may assume that even an 18 year old from this distillery is not what one would call “boutique,” but Glenfiddich can back up their quality claims. Clocking in at 43% ABV, the 18 is made in “Small Batches,” a phrase that as the years go by carries less and less meaning to me. On to it…
Nose- Mossy wood, earthy at first, opens to cacao, raisins & plums, deep sherry sweetness. Cumin, coffee. BBQ. Toffee. Dark Chocolate.
Taste- Light, clean. Caramel. Tobacco, warm fruit mash.
Finish- Medium. Bitter char. Drying. Some leather, some fruit.
Comments – More classic flavors from Glenfiddich. We travel back in time to a mahogany bar, low lights, Frank Sinatra playing overhead. Barkeep delivers this in a vest and says, “for you sir.” I don’t know why I am saying this, but here we are.
SWC Rating – 84/100