Like so many other maltheads, I began my whisky journey with the Glenfiddich. It was 1976 or 1977, I was in second or third grade, and my father came back from a business trip with the Glenfiddich single malt. It must have been the Special Reserve, as I remember the bottle and tube very clearly.
I was in love. But for many years my curiosity didn’t take me full blown into the wonderful world of malt, although it was always “my drink”. Just five years ago, it would have still been “my drink” (well, I did move up to the 15 by then), but I had not yet ventured beyond Glenfiddich, Glenlivet and the Macallan, that only happened in my 40s.
Funny, because until tasting it again yesterday to take notes for this post, the last time I had a Glenfiddich 12 must have been about 3 years ago…How palates evolve. Nevertheless, there’s something about this single malt, watered down and one dimensional as it is, that feels like coming home. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who feels this way. I wonder what it’s like at cask strength, non chill filtered and uncolored (I did have a 15 year old at cask strength, but that’s for another post).
In any event, this is the classic beginner’s single malt, and given that every sixth bottle of single malt sold in the world is a Glenfiddich, more often than not, this is the first, or one of the first malts a new initiate will meet.
Glenfiddich 12 (40% ABV)
Appearance: Gold, legs are quick and thick.
Nose: Green apples, creamy malt, honey and cinnamon. Not complex, but very clear.
Palate: Citrus, honey, heather and light indistinct spices. Smooth and easy to drink.
Linger: Medium with honey on the tongue and spice on the top of the palate.
While not a whisky that would satisfy an experienced palate, it’s pretty much what you’d expect of a gateway malt. Fruity and light, it has nothing with which to assault any of your senses, which is obviously why it remains a gateway malt.
I already said this once about Glenfiddich, but it bears repeating: Whisky bloggers and their readers are not the target market for this whisky, and as such, our preferences (higher ABV, no filtration) has always fallen, and will continue to fall, on deaf ears. And you know what? When it comes to Glenfiddich, they’re right. It’s The Balvenie where William Grant and Sons drop the ball. But that was the subject of yesterday’s post.