I have decided to commence with Glenfiddich for two reasons. The first being that when we visited Scotland many years ago now, my parents took me to the Glenfiddich distillery. I still have vivid memories of the tour and seeing the process, something I would like to repeat now that I am older and of course can try the samples. Secondly, Glenfiddich is a staple single malt whisky. It appears in supermarkets, it appears in pubs, it appears in bars and it appears in off licenses. This is perhaps detriment to the whisky itself, as it all too often comes across as an inferior product, a victim of its own success and is perceived as a cheap product. In fact, Glenfiddich is not the cheapest single malt available, but it is competitively priced and falls into that 'everyday' category.
The Glenfiddich Distillery is located in the Speyside region in Dufftown and is owned by William Grant & Sons, who also produce Balvenie whiskies and the blended Grant whisky. The distillery was founded in 1887 and now amasses sales of 700,000 cases per year.
The single malts are available in a core collection of 12, 15, 18, 21 and 30 year old with other rare and reserve whiskies available.
The 12 year old is of course, the most widely available and comes as a 'standard' 12 year old and a Caoran Reserve 12 year old. I am looking here at the 'standard' variety.
When I first tried drinking whisky, the over-riding sensation was that of the whisky burn. However, the more you drink whisky and by that I do not mean to excess, but on a more regular occasion, the less this burn becomes apparent. Obviously each individual whisky has a varying degree of burn. Part of the success of 12 year old Glenfiddich can be put down to, in part by its lack of a significant whisky burn, which makes it accessible to more palates.
The notes of 12 year old are pleasant and not overpowering. There is no overriding smell of oak or peat, which can be off putting to first time or novice drinkers. There is a light smell of oak and a sweet smell of honey and fruit, but not sickly sweet.
As the whisky enters your mouth, you feel a gentle warming sensation. It has the texture of melted butter on the tongue. You can taste the wood, but it doesn’t overpower, it is subtle. It is slightly sweet with the flavour of fruit.
As you swallow, it has a very pleasant finish, you can feel it ever so slightly coat as it goes, providing a flavour that lasts a nice length.
The more adventurous drinkers will progress from Glenfiddich onto stronger whiskies and perhaps stay away from it due to its lack of adventure with the flavours. However, many will in time return for the odd bottle here and there for the memories it gives of that first experience with whisky, or possibly because of its accessibility and value, it becomes an everyday drink, one for that period of time when you want something simple.
In reality, there is nothing to dislike about the 12 year old Glenfiddich, it won’t set your heart racing, but it will always be there, consistent and reliable. It is also a consistent award winner.
More information and purchasing direct from the distillery can be found here - www.glenfiddich.co.uk