Review: Glenfiddich 12 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky / by Jason Hambrey

12 Years; Oloroso Sherry and Ex-Bourbon Casks
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Glenfiddich (Dufftown, Scotland)

This is the best selling single malt in the world (as of 2011, at least) – and, almost universally, it seems, people say that the way to approach scotch is the Glenfiddich 12 y.o. – and there’s good reason – it’s relatively soft, complex, and, well, very good. However, in my experience so many people (myself included) didn’t really start to love scotch until they had a good smoky one – so I think many people may actually have started with this one when actually they might better have started with a big smoky Laphroaig or Ardbeg. Each to his own...

It is distilled in Dufftown, the whisky capital of the famed Speyside region of Scotland, at Glenfiddich, which means “valley of the deer”. The distillery itself owns its own cooperage and coppersmith – a very small number of distilleries can boast that.

Review (2014)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2013

Nose: As so often seen in ads and descriptions (they’ve been advertising in Ontario a lot of late), pear does come out, alongside green apple (much like those sweet green apple candies), some vanilla, honey, brown sugar, raisins, peach, and a good dose of malt. I find as it sits that more developed apple flavours – like the pleasant, sweet aroma of older apples on the ground, and some cinnamon.

Taste: There’s green apple with a slightly spicy edge, a good whack of vanilla, and some spice on the end. The spicy edge on the end – cinnamon and clove – with a bit of bite – really rounds this one off very well – and I love that touch. There is a decent amount of raisins in the mix, as well as malt quite akin to many oaked beers. There are very slight smoky and earthy undertones, I find, in the mix – but it’s certainly not one you’d call smoky.  And, it is reasonably sweet, which is a nice touch on this one, I think.

Finish: There’s some warm light peat on the finish, some malt and a good kick of the green apple fruitiness, along with apple seeds. The body is quite decent on the finish, and I find a touch of almond.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher). This is the classic starter, and I think it’s better than most folks give it credit for.

Value: Average, based on $55.

Review (2020)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: L322D 4943 1508 11:38

  • Bottling Date: 2019

Green apple candies, a thick maltiness, peaches, baking spice, and some baking bread. Dried peaches, mixed nuts, toffee, and a slight savoury character.

The palate is clean, with toffee, green apple, a malty character, and a good dose of baking spice. The finish has a nice spicy flourish, and has a nice baking of dried fruit underneath the bright apple. Slight tannins on the finish, which has a nice effect.

I posted this largely because most connoisseurs try this at the beginning of their journey and never go back, even when it’s quite a decent whisky.

Recommended (82% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average, at $63.