Thursday, February 2, 2012

Whisky Review: Glenfiddich Distillery Edition

This is an expression which was a limited bottling from Glenfiddich that is becoming harder to find now that it is no longer one being shipped to the U.S. This whisky was in a sense a re-release of the Distillery Edition bottled in the 1990s when it was a fairly radical departure from the norm for scotch whisky. Similar to their normal 15 year bottling, the malts going into it were aged in both ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks made from both American and European oak for 15 years then blended together. The difference comes from using a more standard aging and blended system (the normal Glenfiddich 15 is aged using a solera system) and the fact that it is brought down from cask strength to a still very healthy 102-proof without chill filtration.

Glenfiddich Distillery Edition 102

Nose: orange peel, subdued sherry, a touch of malty chocolate, oak, raisins, subtle mint, and vegetal peat, with the sherry moving forward and the addition of brown sugar after adding a bit of water

Taste: brief jam and honey syrupy sweetness up front, quick transition to chili pepper and light peat leading into orange chocolate, which becomes more intense orange blossom honey sweetness up front, giving way to pepper and malt, with peat beginning near the end and some mocha throughout when water is added

Finish: long and malty, with chili pepper and raisins, peat and mocha, which all diminishes a bit more quickly after adding water

This whisky took me a little while to figure out because the vegetal peat flavors are a bit of a new thing to me. At first it seemed to me like a peculiar addition to an otherwise slightly standard array of lightly sherried Speyside single malt flavors. However once I figured out what I was tasting, I realized that it made a very nice counterpoint to the richer, sweeter flavors imparted by its long time in barrels.

I was lucky enough to find a bottle of this whisky on sale for only $30 (Thanks, WSLCB!). Even at the more standard price of $60 it's still a pretty good deal for a 15-Year whisky, as those can easily run into the $70-80 range. Additionally, the higher proof here means that it will probably last a bit longer as it encourages you to drink just a little more slowly without having too much of a burn. I would definitely recommend this whisky if you want a very solid scotch with enough strength and engaging flavors to keep you occupied. As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, it's not something that will be easy to find in America any time soon, so get some while you still can.

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