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Like many, Glenfiddich was my first single malt scotch. I enjoyed it, mostly because my palate had been very well seasoned (obliterated?) by several bottles of Sleeman's Cream Ale. I subsequently purchased a bottle of Glenfiddich 12 to begin the first leg of my whisky journey. Except that I hated it. When sampled on its own I found it to be harsh and unpalatable. Had I rated it then it would have scored in the 30's, so unsophisticated and unaccustomed was my palate. Considering that I rarely drank anything higher than 18% ABV, Glenfiddich was like paint thinner by comparison. I gave away the lonely and neglected remnants of that bottle.
I recently acquired another bottle and thought I would give it second chance, now that I am a grizzled scotch veteran (not quite...).
Nose: initially pear, green apple, and green grape. Fresh and zippy. There is a definitely maltiness and sugariness on the nose, as well as a hint of vanilla. After oxidization, these aromas mellow to stewed fruit, pear, sugar, and vanilla.
Palate: light in the mouth. Sugars, pear, and green apple in disaggregated form. There is also some diluted vanilla under it all.
Finish: long and drying, with sweet pear and apple, and then some pleasant bitterness.
Overall, this was much better than I remembered. I'm still puzzled over the labeling of this malt as an 'entry' malt. It is certainly appealing, and much less challenging to the palate than, say, Laphroaig, but I think it remains pleasingly sophisticated enough for the grizzled vet. Newcomers should be steered towards Talisker...