Whisky Review #51: Glenfiddich 21 Years Old Gran Reserva

Glenfiddich is a distillery that is probably one of the most well known among whisky drinkers these days, primarily due to its availability in many markets and regions around the world. This Speyside-based distillery has won many fans as well as awards and is seen as both easy drinking and complex.

The distillery is owned by the famous Grant family of Dufftown and represents one of five active distilleries which have been built and owned by the family throughout the years (the others are of course: Balvenie, Girvan, Kininvie and Ailsa Bay).

The family also owns the brand and stocks from the now-dismantled Ladyburn distillery which was located within the Girvan distillery complex and have periodically released bottlings under the brand.

Having reviewed the 12, 15 & 18 Years Old expressions which make up the core range of Glenfiddich, the focus for today’s review is the 21 Years Old expression and the purpose would be to complete the core range of reviews with this.

This particular expression has been aged for 21 long years before being finished for 4 months in casks which were once used to mature Caribbean rum. The intention of this would be to provide a different profile to the base spirit and thus make it unique.

The expression was recently relaunched with an updated packaging along with the rest of the core range and really does look rather elegant, which I believe is the point as it is a whisky that William Grant & Sons are looking to position at the higher end of the spirits market.

So, let’s get down to the review, shall we?

Glenfiddich 21 Years Old Gran Reserva
Glenfiddich 21 Years Old Gran Reserva

Glenfiddich 21 Years Old Gran Reserva (40% abv)

Colour: Golden syrup

Nose: Initial entry presents a pronounced tropical rum note, which is a nod to the Caribbean rum casks used in the finishing process. This is quickly followed up with banana, honey, marmalade, demerara sugar and cinnamon dusted toast.

With time, barley sugar, chewy malt and dark chocolate shavings make an appearance, making this a very enticing and delicious nosing experience overall. (23/25)

Palate: Sweet and rich, with the honey, marmalade and demerara sugar at the fore and quickly followed by lashings of rum. Clotted cream, banana, kiwi and mangoes make an appearance along with dark chocolate shavings and a touch of nutmeg.

There is an oakiness which lingers in the background and it becomes increasingly pronounced on the palate with time, but it never overpowers any of the other elements. Just a tiny bit of alcohol burn (even though this has been bottled at 40% abv) but a very sophisticated dram nonetheless. (23/25)

Finish: Long and lingering finish, with the rum, tropical frui£ts, oak and cinnamon particularly dominant. Marmalade and honey make an appearance at the very end and round things off rather well. (21/25)

Balance: A very well balanced dram which showcases the age as well as the complexity of the spirit. The rum finish has certainly provided this dram with a lively nosing and tasting experience and the mouthfeel is satisfyingly oily. (22/25)

Rating: 89/100

An immensely enjoyable expression of Glenfiddich and one which definitely deserves its place within the core range. It can be rather pricey, but rest assured that it is definitely worth the outlay.

For those who have yet to try this particular expression, I can only say that you are in for a treat! The Glenfiddich 21 Years Old Gran Reserva can be found at most retail stores and online at Master of Malt or The Whisky Exchange for approximately £115 per bottle (ex. VAT), so definitely get one and give it a try.

Until the next post, have a great week ahead.

Slainte!

Brendan

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