Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Malt Mission 2010 #382

Glenfiddich 15 Distillery Edition
Glenfiddich 102
Distillery Edition 15 Year Old

Speyside Single Malt Whisky

51% abv

$59.99 (USD)

Naturally, the world's favourite single malt isn't used to playing second fiddle. But in the USA, the world's #1 Single Malt Scotch Whisky lives in it's very own Scottish, family-owned, triangular-shaped shadow of the Pernod Ricard-owned Glenlivet.

"Yeah, I've tried all the Glens," says the junior trader in a blue suit, breaking eye contact for just a moment to lock his gaze on the cleavage of the bartender as she reaches deep into the beer fridge. "I'm a Mac 18 man, man." And this trifecta of whisky excellence will likely remain the podium players til all the seas gang dry, but Glenfiddich is making a long overdue step in the direction of the 20th century, if not the 21st.

While Glenlivet was maintaining the interest of both the masses and that of whisky geekdom with their beautifully vanilla-ed, American oak soaked 16yo cask strength release, The Glenlivet Nadurra, and Macallan worked towards doubling their sales with the introduction of the Fine Oak range, Glenfiddich kept their direct-fired stills set on traditional age variants, with the appropriated Solera vat technique of the awesome 15yo, and a few local market treats like the Caoran Reserve, and the striking, if Irn Bru-esque Toasted Oak.

And now they are (re?) introducing is the Distillery Edition, a whisky some of you may remember from the 1990s that was also 15 years old and also bottled at 51% abv. Even as little as 15 years ago, Glenfiddich was exercising the pioneering spirit it has been known for by releasing a high strength spirit to a global market that, it appeared, was not yet ready for it. This time the market is thirsty for something non-chillfiltered and high strength from the worlds most awarded single malt distillery.

I have said it before but I must say it again: it is no secret that I work for William Grant & Sons, makers of Glenfiddich, and although I trust myself to be honest in my whisky evaluations, in the interest of guaranteeing that honesty as much as possible, I tasted 6 different whiskies, in fact ALL of this "week's" whiskies, blind (Malt Mission #381-385), took down notes and overall impressions for each, before my "assistant" revealed which was which. These notes are printed with no editing.


Sherry, candied almonds, beer nuts, and hazelnuts jump out of the glass. Sour crabapples against immensely sweet raisin notes. Cranberry, pear, and M&Ms.

Rich, sweet, and powerful. Almonds, licorice, green apples and immense and lasting oak. Lengthy finish of wood-driven flavours accented by fresh apple, chocolate, and vanilla.


Surprisingly, the nose gives little hint as to the abv of this sweetie and the palate explodes in rich fresh fruit and european oak ex-sherry characteristics.

Being a huge fan of the 15yo Solera I have to admit I was nervous about this new expression, but MAN does it hit the target with power, confidence, quintessential Speyside flavours, and a rich lasting finish
. And it is killer on the rocks.

Malt Mission #381
Malt Mission #383
Malt Mission #384


Anonymous said...

Hi Dr W,

Since it is your shop, do you know if the SAQ or the LCBO will carry that new 15 ?

Many thanks,

PS I appreciate your honesty and the blind tasting. Dr W is still the best blog around !

Joshua (Yossi) said...

Man, you make this sound good. Really good.

Dr. Whisky said...

As of now, there are no plans for this bottling to be at LCBO or SAQ

It is.