Glenfiddich’s core range reviewed (12yo, 15yo & 18yo)
A while back someone mentioned to me that I should review more core ranges, including whiskies from my own stock and not just PR samples that are sent to me for review. Well here’s one such review… Glenfiddich. Very well known, and easily available via supermarkets at good prices. A whisky that many malt whisky drinkers will have tried from time to time, or maybe even started their malt journey with.
Let’s take a look at the main three expressions from their standard range…
12yo – 40% abv
Colour: Bright gold.
Nose: Pretty much the standard in Speyside drammage. It’s light and malty with green apples and caramel red apples on nose. Balanced and easy to approach. Very slightly perfumed.
Palate: Sweet and light in your mouth, those red apples are gently mushed down with a little vanilla custard on top of them.
Finish: The finish is gently spiced, sweet and moreish, although not overly long. There’s some milk chocolate notes along with some nuts and a slight tannin sour edge at the end.
Water: None needed. But if you are new to whisky then a very small drop may help make this even smoother for you by lowering the spices even more.
Thoughts: Between malt geeks this dram can very occasionally looked down upon – maybe for being too simplistic, I’m not sure – however in my opinion it’s undeservedly so. It would be a better whisky if it was not chill filtered, but as it is it’s an easy and approachable dram which will always start your evening well. It’s sometimes considered a good starters dram when new to whisky and really that is a complement to being recommended like that.
Available: The Whisky Exchange – £26.95
15yo – 40% abv
Colour: Late summer gold.
Nose: The brighter notes from the 12yo have been toned down a touch here, it’s an older smelling dram, a little more oak, leather, autumn berries, dried hazelnuts and some toffee.
Palate: Similar to the nose this dram presents more smoothly than the 12yo on the palate; there’s vanilla clotted cream fudge with stewed autumn fruits and hessian sacks.
Finish: A balanced sweetness, it’s tasty with a nice age to it to make it relaxing. The finish is medium length, it could be longer. Quality stuff however.
Water: None tried or needed.
Thoughts: Quite a step up from the 12yo, a very tasty and enjoyable dram. It would benefit from non chill filtration which would help make the mouthfeel bigger giving a longer finish and giving more warmth on the chest which this is kind of crying got for… And that’s just what you can get! – Look out for the 15yo Distillery Edition which is fairly available (I’ve seen it in supermarkets) and it’s non chill filtered, bottled at 51% abv and only about £6 more if you’re a savvy shopper, that’s got to be worth it!
Available: Master of Malt – £35.53 (& Distillery Edition – £41.53)
18yo – 40% abv
Colour: Autumn gold.
Nose: A fairly woody autumnal nose to this, like you’re walking through a wood kicking up the leaves from the ground. If you’re more of a whisky geek then there’s quite a dunnage smell to this. A little nutty (walnuts) – pretty rich with older leathery notes, and some melted milk chocolate sweetness.
Palate: The palate here is slightly easier than the nose might suggest, better. It’s old, woody and rich. There’s plenty of winter stewed fruits here with lots of custard.
Finish: There’s a longer lasting finish here which warms your chest. It’s rather beautiful and morish, with just a slight dry vanillery ending to it.
Water: None needed.
Thoughts: The nose is good, the palate is even better. It’s a great aged dram which has a lovely medium to old age to it. Again this would be better with a thicker mouthfeel from no chill filtration, but it pretty much doesn’t matter at this point since the dram is nicely packed with flavour and really enjoyable. It’s quite a step up in price, but compares well to most others in this age range (although most others offer more ABV)… On balance the extra price is worth it for the increased depth of flavours in my opinion.
Available: The Whisky Exchange – £54.95
Overall Thoughts: Three drams all with their own merits – it’s hard to pick a winner. The 12yo is gentle and summery, the 15yo a late summers evening dram and the 18yo a deeper, more wintery dram. The 18yo is slightly more rounded at the end, so it’s the one I’d personally drink more of, the extra age on it makes it a very enjoyable dram.
Extras: In terms of a distillery tour Glenfiddich is free, it’s an hour long and you get 3 free drams at the end of it, you don’t really get better than that! There’s also an excellent cafe, a large shop with a self fill and lots of parking.
These were all from my own stock… You’ll find them easily enough in supermarkets at various different bottle sizes and therefore prices. There’s a great mini pack of 3 x 5cl bottles to cover the range on most supermarket shelves and I’d definitely recommend you give them a go as it’s an affordable way to taste the range for yourself.