Sunday, March 16, 2008

Glenfiddich 12, 15, and 21 - Review

What does aging do to scotch? I had the opportunity to sample through a nine year spread of Glenfiddich, starting with the Glenfiddich 12, moving on to the Glenfiddich 15, and finally the Glenfiddich 21 year old. A word of advice, if you enjoy scotch, it’s good to find some friends that share your passion. I was able to bring the 15, while my friends supplied the 12 and 21. Sharing your scotch is a wonderful thing. My friends have a shared passion for scotch, grilled sirloin, and Texas Hold’em. Thoughts of a Saturday night with all three had kept me going through a difficult work week.

According to the Glenfiddich web site, we could have also sampled an 18 year old. We didn’t. Neither did we venture into the 30, 40, or 50 year old, or any of the rare Glenfiddichs at this time.

The twelve year old Glenfiddich is a widely available single malt. I often see it along-side the GlenLivet at the local watering hole, hotel bar, and airport bar. It is a scotch made within the Highland tradition, smooth and slightly sweet with very little smoke. As I sampled the 12 year old, I noticed a hint of citrus, almost orange taste. Scotch with a twist. Very good.

The 15 and the 21 are less widely available. As I moved into the 15, I noticed that the citrus was nearly gone. I commented to my friends that it remindied me of comfort food, like macaroni and cheese or toast with butter. They looked at me rather vacantly, but reluctantly agreed. It was a little less sweet, and a little smoother. Other than that, I couldn’t tell exactly why I liked it better that the 12, but it did hit my nervous system with a certain feeling of comfort.

Finally, it was time to sample the 21. The changes I noticed right away was a little hint of smoke that wasn’t present in the other two, presumably because of its longer stay in the smoked barrel. Most remarkable, though, was the mouth feel – an extremely smooth liqueur-like quality in a scotch made it incredible. That, combined with hints of vanilla made it the best of the bunch and worth the extra cash we had to dish out to sample it.

I tried a splash of water in them all. The 12 and the 15 stood up nicely to the water with little difference. But sadly, the water ruined the 21 year old, taking away the intriguing mouth feel and smoothness, rendering it a little more normal than it is.

Even though I didn’t play as well as I could have in poker, I left the meeting of the gentleman’s scotch and sirloin club with the 15 year old in hand and a good understanding of what Glenfiddich has to offer in the $100 or less price range. I am impressed with what Glenfiddich has created and look forward to sampling some of their legacy and rarer scotches.

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