Sunday, July 12, 2009

Glenfiddich 12 vs. 15 vs. 18

Glenfiddich. Every bar has it as well as every liquor store. Why am I reviewing something so "pedestrian"? The lovely triangle shaped, colored bottles? The stag? While far from my favorite SMS, it was my first. This is probably the first time I poured myself 3 simultaneous drams... and the results were interesting. Let's draw some quick comparisons between these three recent bottlings:



12yr: $27.99 (retail); 40% ABV
15yr: $39.99 (retail); 40% ABV
18yr: $52.99 (retail); 43% ABV

Appearance:
Glenfiddich is not shy with their use of caramel coloring (just look at the ultra-caramely 15yr). What's interesting is that when poured, each is slightly darker than the previous. Same amount of caramel in each bottle or is Glenfiddich afraid of their customers pouring themselves multiple drams like I just did?

Oiliness looks about the same in each glass.

Nose:
True to Glenfiddich tradition, each smells quite sweet. Fruity. Lots of apples.

12yr: Light. Airy. Fruit juice. Tea. After a few drops of water, fruit juice is more pronounced.
15yr: Most fragrant of the lot. Immediately lots of cask (sherry?). Toffee as well. With water, the sherry seems more rounded out. Toffee seems to calm down.
18yr: Slight cask (not quite sherried like the 15yr). Tea as well. With water, starts smelling like toffee.

Taste:
12yr: Light. Fruity. Malty. Tiny bit of peat. With water, tea really comes forward.
15yr: Casky/wine-y. Honey. Richer than the 12yr and 18yr. Tea. With water, gets even winier. More tea. Can detect a hint of peat.
18yr: Richer than the 12yr. Wine-y (not quite sherry). Tea. Spice. Peat. Finish is kind of wonky/off (definitely coming from the cask). With water, it doesn't really seem to change at first. This one needs time to open up as it does get better. Finishes slightly salty and spicy.

It's interesting how dramatically different these three whiskies are. It's VERY obvious each whisky was handled differently (whether it be different types of casks or vattings or finishing methods)... much more than just soaking up an extra 3 years worth of cask. I'll most likely keep around a bottle of the 12yr or 15yr for my less adventurous guests, but hilariously enough, I don't think the 18yr is worth the money!

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