The second dram for Monday night is Glenfiddich 18 year old. The first whisky I ever tried was their 12 year old in May 2015. Going in I expected whisky to be a harsh and revolting drink. Taking that first sip and bracing for a harsh kick I was surprised (relieved) none arrived. From that first interaction a glorious, if expensive, obsession was born.
This 18 year old release is not as common as the 12 year old that you will find in any bar or supermarket anywhere in the UK.
Glenfiddich was founded in 1886 by William Grant which still own it today along with Balvenie and a rather large portfolio of brands. They werethe biggest selling single malt brand in the world having lost that crown to Glenlivet in 2015. It is located in Dufftown on the river Fiddich very close to the Balvenie distillery.
The site in Dufftown includes 24 stills, a team of craftsmen to maintain them, a cooperage to maintain the casks and a large number of warehouses. The stills are exact copies of the second hand original ones from Cardhu distillery which were installed in 1886. This gives Glenfiddich its personality since these are smaller than more traditional pot stills seen in many other distilleries.
The success of Glenfiddich can be traced to a number of key long term insightful decisions.
- In 1920’s as prohibition was closing distilleries Glenfiddich increased production. When the ban was lifted in 1933 they were well positioned with healthy mature stocks to meet demand.
- In 1956 brand recognition was prioritised and the triangular bottles still in use today were introduced
- Glenfiddich was one of the first brands to utilise and develop limited editions, imaginative packaging and the duty-free travel market as a new revenue stream
The glenfiddich 18 is presented at 40% ABV sadly I have no information on colouring or chill filtering. This expression contains both ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks. Making this quite a traditional speyside dram.
It is available widely but I have found it for £62.95 here.
Colour – burnt orange
Nose – subdued apples and mashed cooked pears
Palate – cinnamon winter time spices and soaked raisins
Finish – rich long finish that ends slightly bitter
This 18 year old has a lot of the 12 year old character. As the age statement suggests it is a more refined and mature affair. There is more of the sherry whisky character but certainly not what you would describe as a sherry monster.