Whisky Review #45: Glenfiddich Triple Threat (12 vs 15 vs 18)

Continuing on with the Speyside connection, this week’s review focuses on three different expressions from the same distillery going head to head against one another in the battle for supremacy. That distillery is Glenfiddich.

Now before I go any further, I must admit that prior to going with this triple threat, I was already well aware of which of the three was my favourite. But rather than use this opinion (or bias, if you will) cloud my judgement, I have decided to give all three whiskies a fair shout.

I will state for the record though that my preferred whisky from the Glenfiddich core range is the 15 Years Old Solera Reserve.

Even though I have tasted all three whiskies previously during different occasions, there had never been a chance for me to sample all three of them side by side in one sitting. But that all changed in early December during the Glenfiddich Gallery tasting held at The Refinery in Singapore by Mr Matthew Fergusson-Stewart, the brand ambassador for Glenfiddich in South-East Asia.

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Prior to the event actually starting, those who had registered were invited to sample as much of the core range as they pleased from the bar and I gratefully obliged (especially since it had been a particularly taxing day at work).

As it stands, Glenfiddich is the second-best selling single malt whisky brand in the world, having lost the top spot to Glenlivet in the middle of last year after slow sales growth halted their charge ever since they hit the one million cases sold benchmark a few years prior to that.

So, let’s get to the reviews!

gfdob.12yo
Glenfiddich 12 Years Old

Glenfiddich 12 Years Old (40% abv)

Colour: Bright gold

Nose: Initial entry presents some orchard fruits such as green apples and lemons, as well as sweet malt and honey. With time, a citrus note emerges and intermingles well with some cinnamon and floral notes.

There is a certain richness in the malt which works very well with the citrus notes, giving this a fruity and almost jam-like note which is very enticing. (21/25)

Palate: Light and refreshing on initialy entry, with a good amount of citrus and fruitiness. The palate is malty and slightly grassy, with oaky notes and wood spices such as cinnamon in the mix. With time, the sweetness intensifies and there is a hint of apricot at the very end which makes this rather enjoyable. (21/25)

Finish: Medium finish with a nice amount of sweetness, citrus, oak and fruit. Slightly oily but satisfyingly so. (20/25)

Balance: Relatively well balanced dram with a good representation of flavours from across the board. Very easily drinkable and great as an aperitif. (20/25)

Rating: 82/100

gfdob.15yo
Glenfiddich 15 Years Old

Glenfiddich 15 Years Old Solera Reserve (40% abv)

Colour: Amber

Nose: Initial entry presents a pleasant sherried profile along with a generous helping of citrus. With time, the cinnamon and nutmeg makes an appearance along with some oaky undertones. There seems to be a few whisps of smoke but it is rather fleeting. (21/25)

Palate: Rich, sweet and malty in equal measure with the sherry and citrus playing a much larger role on the palate than on the nose. There is a definite orangey note to this dram which makes it rather enticing and enjoyable.

Raisins, cinnamon and fruitcake also make an appearance towards the end, intensifying the sweetness and richness of this dram. The maltiness carries through but chooses to remain in the background. (23/25)

Finish: Long and lingering finish, with the sherry, orange and cinnamon the stars of this dram. There is a slight hint of anise and smoke at the very end and it intermingles rather well with the fruitcake and oak from the nose. Very good dram. (22/25)

Balance: Immensely well balanced dram and slightly drying towards the end. The flavour profile is definitely more towards the fruity and sherried side, but not to the detriment of the other elements in play. (22/25)

Rating: 88/100

gfdob.18yo
Glenfiddich 18 Years Old Small Batch Reserve

Glenfiddich 18 Years Old Small Batch Reserve (40% abv)

Colour: Mahogany

Nose: Initial entry presents a pronounced fruitiness followed by a good amount of woodiness. Hints of orange marmalade, apricots and soft malt make an appearance along with shavings of dark chocolate and cinnamon.

Quite a sophisticated nose and definitely does show its age well, with the elements seemingly rather well rounded and working in concert with one another. (22/25)

Palate: Fresh, fruity and malty on the palate, with orange, sherry and cinnamon intermingling well with apricot toffee and a nice dollop of dark chocolate shavings. With time, ginger, oak and nutmeg appear, giving this dram a spicy edge. (22/25)

Finish: Relatively long finish, with orange zest, toffee and dry sherry intermingling well with the typical Glenfiddich maltiness and some wood spices. (21/25)

Balance: Well balanced and very well made for an 18 year old expression, showcasing what the distillery is capable of. However, it seems to be slightly underpowered and would probably benefit from a slightly higher abv of 43% in order for the nuances to really shine through. (21/25)

Rating: 86/100

While I definitely favour the 15 Years Old Solera Reserve expression, I can definitely say that all three expressions which form the core of the Glenfiddich range are great whiskies in their own right and will be able to hold their own against other illustrious opponents.

All three whiskies are available on both Master of Malt and The Whisky Exchange, so please do get them while you can as something tells me that the age statements might be phased out sooner than we think.

Until the next time, have a great week ahead.

Slainte!

Brendan

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