Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Glenfiddich 12yo, Caoran Reserve
Speyside Single Malt Whisky
I have been reading Robin Laing's new book The Whisky River and although I am not finished, I recommend it highly. Like Andrew Jefford's excellent "Peat Smoke and Spirit" (which I have quoted and praised before) that tells the stories of Islay whisky heritage as the author takes us on a journey around the island, "The Whisky River" tells of author, musician, and whisky-lover Robin Laing's adventures in Speyside, Scotland's undisputed heart of malt whisky production. Robin's journey through the distilleries (and more) that decorate the Bens and Glens of the Scottish highlands around the river Spey is told with such care for language and subject that reading it's inspired pages can be, well, inspiring. Interspersed with poetry and song, the book is the work of a man who can accurately and affectionately be called The Whisky Bard. I think there is as much to enjoy about it for the whisky nerd as the whisky newbie. Put this on your Christmas whisky (related) wish-list.
So we are starting two islay-themed weeks with two islay-themed whiskies yesterday and today. This stuff is from Glenfiddich in Dufftown, the 'capital' of Speyside, but finished in casks that once held Islay whiskies. Robin writes that this expression brings "a peatiness that might once have been more evident in the character of Glenfiddich [...] in the days when peat was the fuel throughout Speyside, or during the Second World War when coal was difficult to get."
Welcoming over 80,000 visitors per year, Glenfiddich was the first distillery to open a visitor centre and one of the last to still offer a standard tour free of charge. All Glenfiddichs had on the mission can be read HERE.
Tasted over breakfast with JM and his mother, Michelle.
Tree fruits, vanilla, oak and malt. Very Glenfiddich at the heart... but around the edges bung cloth, damp towels or wine cellars can be detected. There are hints at more as it is initially quite closed and pretty challenging. Water brings out new aromas of sweet smoke and rounds out the initial vanilla and pear smells.
Starts quite sweet in the mouth, dates and oats. There are also waves of musty smoke that intermingle with almonds and compost. Strange that is it simultaneously juicy and dry. Earthy finish that is just long enough to let you digest the experience and short enough to get you reaching for another sip.
Very enjoyable flavour ride. Although there is nothing wrong with the standard 12yo, it is safe to say that it is just simple, good, clean Speyside whisky. This stuff goes one step beyond adding a dimension that turns an any-time-of-day dram into evening romantic. Nice stuff.
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