Category Archives: Glenfiddich

Glenfiddich ‘IPA’

Bought: Tesco, 2nd August 2017

86/100 – Whisky Bible 2018
81.3/100 – Whiskybase (average from 197 member votes)

As it says on the back of the tube “a Glenfiddich whisky finished in IPA craft beer casks, something never done in the industry before”. I don’t see many other distilleries falling over themselves to do it again. But credit to Glenfiddich for trying something different, especially as experimentation is not something generally associated with the distillery. One common remark about the new ‘IPA’ is that the actual ale element is hard to detect on the pallet. This is not surprising given the whisky is only ‘finished’ in it rather than matured from birth to bottle. Unlike using sherry or wine maturation, ale has a similar creation process to the early stages of whisky, so it’s going to be difficult for it to stand out.

I’ve been interested in pairing beer with whisky (separate glasses rather than mixing) for several years and this is where the Glenfiddich IPA scores extra points from me. I’ve seen this combination referred to as a ‘half and half’ online but I remember it as a ‘pint and a nip’ when I was a lad. Old chaps in workingman’s pubs would choose a blend rather than a single malt to go with a beer but these days the chaser can be whatever our wallets can afford. Ralfy (of discusses pairing beer with whisky here on YouTube. The blog ‘In Search Of the Perfect Chaser’ also gives some combination examples.

Scoring over 81/100 on Whiskybase is a very good mark especially when you consider that the standard 12yo only scores 76/100 from 874 votes. The IPA scores exactly the same as the standard Glenfiddich 15yo, which gets 81.3/100 from 463 votes. Not bad for an experimental non-age statement. Comments online for the IPA include “lovely IPA odour with generous hints of toffee”, “fresh, fruity and full of citrus with a nice small touch of hops right at the end” and “probably won’t buy again due to the price but it was certainly worth trying once”. I agree with the last remark because it was on my wishlist for a very long time before I parted with £45 to get it.

Tasting notes from Master of Malt:

Nose: An elegant harmony of fresh green apple, William’s pear and spring blossom. Complimented with Aromatic hops and fresh herbs.
Palate: Vibrant with a zesty citrus note followed by creamy vanilla and a hint of fresh hops.
Finish: Enduring sweetness with an echo of green hops.

Here’s Vin PF of ‘No Nonsense Whisky’ with his thoughts about the IPA on YouTube (August 2017):

Glenfiddich ‘Reserve Cask’

Bought: World Duty Free (Aberdeen airport), 17th September 2016

83/100 – Whisky Bible 2016
80.18/100 – Whiskybase (average from 46 member votes)

Introduced in 2013, the ‘Reserve Cask’ is priced in the middle of the three ‘Cask Collection’ by Glenfiddich between the cheaper ‘Select Cask’ and more expensive ‘Vintage Cask’. And from the reviews online it seems the ‘Reserve Cask’ is middle for quality too. Glenfiddich know their whisky so they were never going to get this wrong. 83/100 in the Whisky Bible classifies the ‘Reserve Cask’ as “good whisky worth trying” and the author says, “soft, chewy, occasionally sparkling but the overdose of toffee and disappointing degree of late furriness means its speech is distinctly limited in its topic.”

Just over 80/100 on Whiskybase suggests a good but fairly average whisky, which is what you’d expect from the price point. Comments include “it is a rich, deliciously smooth, sweet and silky single malt with a complex flavour profile. An extremely savoury, creamy and intriguing dram.” and “not my favorite Glenfiddich, but very affordable”

Tasting notes from Master of Malt:

Nose: Waxy peels, marmalade and Christmas-y clove warmth. Vanilla, raisin and a touch of dark chocolate.

Palate: Christmas spice up front, joined by fresh lemon, chewy barley, almonds and a little old oak.

Finish: Long, with a good balance of sweet citrus and oak spices.

Expert whisky taster Mark Dermul scores the ‘Reserve Cask’ a typical 80/100. Here are his thoughts on You Tube (January 2016):


Glenfiddich ‘Select Cask’

Bought: World Duty Free (Aberdeen airport), 17th September 2016

78.5/100 – Whisky Bible 2016
79.31/100 – Whiskybase (average from 64 member votes)

I find it hard to believe it’s three years since the Glenfiddich ‘Cask Collection’ first appeared as a Travel Retail exclusive in 2013. It doesn’t feel that long. Perhaps it took me a while to notice because I’m not a huge fan of Glenfiddich. I feel they are more Ford than Ferrari, with a focus on mass production rather than high quality. The standard 12yo is OK but that’s about it, it’s just OK. If their Cask Collection had set the whisky world alight in 2013 I might have pounced on a bottle sooner but it didn’t. Ratings for the entry level ‘Select Cask’ are what you’d expect for a non-age statement 1 litre bottle for £40.

In fairness to the Select Cask its life in bourbon, European oak and red wine casks are an interesting heritage but does this tri-union of wood really work? Jim Murray, author of the Whisky Bible doesn’t think so. He says, “bourbon and wine casks may be married together…but they are on a course for a messy divorce. The honeymoon on delivery is pretty rich and exotic. But it is all too short-lived as things soon turn pretty bitter.” His score of 78.5/100 is low for him and classifies this single malt as “average, and usually pleasant but sometimes flawed.”

79.31/100 on Whiskybase suggests the Select Cask is good but nothing special. Comments online are a bit more generous than in the Whisky Bible including “very sweet but still spicy, at the end rather short but still all right.” And “it’s light and very drinkable”.

Several reviews say the Select Cask is a good ‘session’ whisky, where the gathering is more sociable than focusing on the quality of the drink. Mark Dermul in his You Tube video below concurs with this by saying the Select Cask would go well during a night of playing cards with friends. Here’s his thoughts (February 2016):


Glenfiddich 15-year-old Distillery Edition

Bought – ASDA, 15th October 2014

93.5/100 – Whisky Bible 2014
83.7/100 – Whiskybase (average from 186 member votes)
84/100 – RalfyGlenfiddich 15yo Distillery Edition – YouTube (July 2014)

The rating from the Whisky Bible 2014 dates back to the 2010 edition. The author, Jim Murray, says of the nose “quite astonishing and, even with its spice nip, one of the great whisky noses of 2010.” He then says about the taste “my word!! Just so lively…enormous complexity from the very first mouthful.” It’s only the finish where Mr Murray feels this malt falls down slightly because it ends too quickly. Nevertheless, with a mark of 93.5/100, the classification for this single malt is “brilliant!”

If you listen to Ralfy’s YouTube review, one thing he and Jim Murray agree on is the presence of bananas. Ralfy even suggests “roasted bananas?!” Add this to sultanas, heavy fruits, barley, vanilla, spices and coconut and you’re in for quite a tropical surprise of loveliness. If you’re interested in a whisky with Speyside sweetness expanding in numerous directions, with a 51% kick and non-chillfiltered, then this dram has your name written all over it. Definitely one to add to your letter to Santa!

I’m being a bit picky here but I’ve been pondering, why “Distillery Edition”? With Glenmorangie giving names like “Quinta Rubin” and “Lasanta” to 12yo bottlings, and Glenlivet naming a 16yo “Nadurra”, I’m wondering if the Glenfiddich marketing department were at the pub on the day scheduled for thinking up an interesting title. After several drinks, the names they were coming up with were certainly interesting but not the sort of thing considered fit for public consumption. I would think “Distillery Edition” is stating the blatantly obvious – it’s an edition of whisky that’s come from the distillery. Wow! I’m only bitter because they didn’t accept my suggestion of “The Dog’s Bollocks” when I wrote to them regarding new whisky names.

Glenfiddich 15yo Distillery Edition 70cl

Glenfiddich 14-year-old ‘Rich Oak’

Bought – Sainsbury, 15th August 2014

90.5/100 – Whisky Bible 2014
82.8/100 – Whiskybase (average from 144 member votes)
80/100 – Malt Maniacs (average from 5 reviews)

On behalf of all people who buy whisky miniatures, I’m going to have a grumble. Glenfiddich used to, until recently, sell a triple pack of 5cl bottles, one each of their 12yo, 15yo and 18yo. Several supermarkets sold them for £10-£12. They’ve now repackaged it, replacing the 18yo with the 14yo, which is a cheaper whisky but the price remains at £10-£12. The Whisky Bible ranks the 18yo as 95/100, and it’s generally considered a better quality malt than the 14yo. But, will anyone really notice? Will anyone care? Am I just ranting for the sake of it? Yes, it’s the latter.

The Whisky Bible gives quite a lengthy review of this 14yo, saying of the taste “soft oils”, “sensation of passing barley”, “oak-laden notes”, “spices” and “creamy mocha”. You’d be forgiven for thinking you were reading the options in a coffee shop, such is the variety of flavours in the Rich Oak. But it’s the finish that the author, Jim Murray, praises the most, saying “possibly the best phase of the experience. The vivid, surging oak has cooled and some barley oils mingle in a relaxed fashion with the sweetening, very mildly sugared mocha”. In summary Mr Murray says “Delicious, thoughtful whisky and one to tick off on your journey of malt whisky discovery”. But if only it were 46% instead of 40%, he says.

If it’s any consolation (to me), the bible allocates more words to this 14yo than it does to the 18yo, and the 18yo is also 40%, so there! Perhaps I need to find a cask strength Glenfiddich and do a bit of blending to bring the strength up for this 14yo. It’s only a matter of time in my whisky journey before I start mixing my own.

Glenfiddich promotional video for the 14yo Rich Oak:

Glenfiddich Rich Oak 14yo 70cl


Glenfiddich 18-year-old

Bought – ASDA, 2nd September 2013

95/100 – Whisky Bible 2013

Glenfiddich 18yo 20cl

Glenfiddich 15-year-old

Bought – ASDA, 2nd September 2013

94.5/100 – Whisky Bible 2013
88/100 – Ralfy, of
Review: – Ralfy – Glenfiddich 15yo – YouTube

Glenfiddich 15yo 20cl

Glenfiddich 12-year-old

Bought – ASDA, 31st July 2013 (35cl) and 2nd September (20cl)

85.5/100 – Whisky Bible 2013
86/100 – Ralfy, of
Review: – Ralfy – Glenfiddich 12yo – YouTube

Glenfiddich 12yo 20cl 35cl