Friday, July 06, 2007

Malt Mission 2007 #115

Whisky Scotch Reviews GlenfiddichGlenfiddich 12 yo
Toasted Oak Reserve

Single Malt Whisky
40% abv
£28 *

The fifth Glenfiddich to be tasted in this malt mission, the 12yo Toasted Malt was premiered at Whisky Live Glasgow in September 2006 and released as a 'limited edition' for Christmas 2006 (France and UK), although it wasn't really available in most shops until 2007. The recipe is quite simple, really. The Malt Master David Stewart selected whisky that was maturing in first fill ex-bourbon 195 litre casks, vatted the selections, refilled to cask to marry for some months, and this release was born. Bourbon barrels are charred or 'toasted' and yield a lot of vanillin, which is what Stewart was trying to capture in this release; an oakier, spicier, more vanilla-ed version of the Glenfiddich 12 year old.

Today, it is easy to take the existence of hundreds of single malt whiskies on the shelves of our favourite shops as a given, as something that has always existed. I think it's important to remember that until Glenfiddich released their own whisky as a Single Malt (1963), such things could only be found through independent bottlers (Gordon & Macphail, Cadenheads, etc.) as most whisky produced went into blended whiskies. During the economic boom after WWII, Wm Grant & Sons began to face stiff competition and decided to undertake this endeavor and push the single malt format outside of Scotland. Up until as late as 1974, when 120,000 cases of the stuff was being sold annually, and Glenfiddich as a brand became a real market presence, many companies still saw the move to single malts as foolish. Michael Jackson writes, "The vision and persistence of the company was in more than one sense single-minded. It was an example and precedent, without which few of its rivals would have been emboldened to offer themselves as bottled single malts. Devotees of the genre owe a debt of gratitude to Gelfiddich." (MJ's Malt Whisky Companion, 1989)

To quote myself from Malt Mission 28, "
Yes, they are seen as the McDonalds (not the clan, the clown) of the malt whisky world. Although it is true that you can find a bottle in almost every drinking establishment in every country(worldwide Glenfiddich roughly doubles sales of its nearest competitor) the notion that it is just mass produced pish is quite unfair to the quality of their bottlings. And besides, they were the first whisky to be marketed to the world as a 'single malt'... it's not like McDonalds invented the hamburger."

Let's drink. Happy Friday...

Thanks to The Whisky Exchange for the sample.

* worth noting that Royal Mile Whiskies currently has this stuff on offer (July, £23.50)


I usually dont mention colour, but I know a lot of people are convinced this stuff is Irn-Bru orange. It isnt. The packaging makes it look that way, and that is all.

Very soft. Lychee. Peaches and cream. Golden syrup instant oatmeal. Oak, but very juicy, not dry.

Vanilla, oak. Soft and straightforward. Pleasing, but extremely short opening up of flavour upon swallowing. Dustings of white vanilla on milk foam. The oak becomes bitter and finishes quite dry.


If oak and vanilla were the goals, then tick those boxes. Loved the seductive sweetness of the nose. Pleasant, but not much presence. Pretty, but pretty simple.

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Malt Mission #114

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