Continuing with my mini series of reviews of classic single malts here is perhaps the most famous, certainly the most ubiquitous of them all: the Glenfiddich 12. This sample is from a bottle released in 2002 though, and so is probably very like the first ever Glenfiddich 12 I ever had, which as for so many people (whether we like to admit it or not), is probably the first single malt whisky I ever had. I haven’t really had it very many times since then and so am intrigued to go back (in a sense) and see what I make of it now.
Glenfiddich 12, Special Reserve (40%; from a sample received in a swap)
Nose: Grassy and sweet (confectioner’s sugar) with some lemon peel and a bit of melon. A little bit of toasted malt below all that. The fruit gets quite musky as it sits. A few drops of water and the malt seems to expand (or maybe it’s my imagination) but I’m not really seeing any other change of note.
Palate: Very much as on the nose. Very well balanced and much thicker texture than you’d expect at 40%. A little more bitterness on the second sip and more sweetness on the third and a touch of pepper but then it pretty much stays as it is. Let’s see if a bit of water does anything. Well, it doesn’t do it any favours. The fruit all but washes out and is replaced instead by a metallic sweetness that turns bitter quick.
Finish: Medium. The citrus separates from the pack and becomes the lead note. With more time it gets more bitter, but really, who doesn’t? The metallic note continues on the finish with water.
Comments: Much better than I was expecting. I have no memory of it from when I first tried it but on the few occasions since when I’ve encountered it in bars or at parties it was the grassiness that made the lasting impression. I really like the citrus here. No idea if the current edition is anything like this but if so I might get a bottle.
Rating: 80 points.
Thanks to Michael K. for the sample!