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Glenfiddich 14 Year Old Bourbon Barrel Reserve

Average score from 4 reviews and 5 ratings 86

Glenfiddich 14 Year Old Bourbon Barrel Reserve

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@Victor
Glenfiddich 14 Year Old Bourbon Barrel Reserve

Whoa! This one is a trip! This 14 yo Bourbon Barrel Reserve is a USA only release featuring 14 years in bourbon barrels followed by 'finishing' in new heavily-charred oak barrels. This is not the usual 'keep the wood muted' Scottish malt. Apparently Glenfiddich feels that the US whisky drinkers will be more receptive to big-time new oak flavours in their malts. The reviewed bottle has been open for 12 days and I've gone through 40% of the bottle checking out its vicissitudes

Nose: lots of complexity; pear and apple flavours dance in a mist of floral elements, with even a hint of plum, apricot, and orange. Fresh oak, vanilla, natural caramel, and char confirm the charred new oak finish and compete with the malt flavours for attention and dominance. This nose changes quickly, which is very entertaining, and gives an ongoing kaleidoscopic show. This alternates between discreetly elegant and almost overpowering in its intensity. Water added diffuses and merges the nose flavours. Avoid water for best nosing. Score: 24/25

Taste: the gorgeous nose translates well, except that the strong influence of new oak and heavy char become even more obvious in the mouth. Still very good, but I would tone down the oak and char a couple of notches if I could. Water added bundles the flavours and somewhat mutes the wood. This is non-descript with water--avoid water. Score: 22.5/25

Finish: long; continues strong and steers toward bittersweet charred caramel and wood tannins. Sweet, sour, and bitter in the end. I'd like a lot less wood tannin. Water added produces a bundled non-descript finish. Score: 21/25

Balance: excellent balance in the nose, good on the delivery, fair on the finish. Score: 20.5/25

Total Sequential Score: 88 points

Strength: strong in the nose, very strong thereafter. Score: 23.5/25

Quality: nice malt flavours; good wood flavours. Score: 21.5/25

Variety: excellent in the nose; good thereafter, where the wood somewhat diminishes the ability to taste the malty flavours. Score: 21.5/25

Harmony: excellent in the nose, good on the palate, only fair on the finish. Score: 21.5/25

Total Non-Sequential Score: 88 points

Comment: Glenfiddich apparently believes that Americans want a lot of oak in their whiskies. You have to be very careful using charred new oak with barley grain, even as a finish, such as Glenfiddich 14 Bourbon Barrel Reserve

While I am a huge fan of this nose without water, I just don't think this whisky works very well in the mouth. There is too much wood tannin and taste of char. The overall experience remains good and definitely interesting, though

I have to ask Glenfiddich: were the casks for Bourbon Barrel Reserve blended together by the nose alone? If so, I can understand why you chose them-- they are lovely. But the whisky doesn't taste just like its nose. I firmly believe that a distiller/blender needs to TASTE the whisky before deciding that the vatting is complete

Comparing this to other Glenfiddichs, Bourbon Barrel Reserve has a lot more "oomph" than either the standard 12 yo or the standard 15 yo. The harmony of flavours in the mouth could be much better, however

This whisky is worthy of Victor's score of 88.

For those who miss the Balvenie 15 yr Single Barrel will find that this particular Glenfiddich is a suitable replacement.

Just got a bottle of this from my wife for Valentine's Day. Haven't opened it yet, but it sounds in the same ballpark as the 14 year old Rich Oak version (though that was 40% ABV). I really enjoyed the extreme oakiness of that bottling; nosing it was like sticking your head in a barrel. Can't wait to try this one.

@WhiskyBee

I’ve been away from all things whisky-related for some time. Long story, or stories as the case may be.

I visited the local store a few days ago to buy something new and different to celebrate my return. Sheesh, the prices these days! I had a case of sticker shock. Even though I’m now making good money in a new job, I don’t know if I can afford this hobby as I used to.

Enough of that. This is my first review in more than a year. I hope I remember how to do this.

Glenfiddich 14 yo Bourbon Barrel Reserve is a new-ish and permanent addition to the ’fiddich lineup, made for the U.S. market. It was matured in ex-bourbon casks for 14 years before a four-month finishing in heavily charred new oak casks. Review based on my third dram from a bottle opened a few nights ago. I sampled my first dram with nearly a teaspoon of water, which was a mistake. This stuff doesn’t hold up to more than a couple of wee drops.

Nose: Very bourbon-ish with plenty of vanilla and oak, which is not surprising. Warm, fresh-baked fruit pies (apple, cherry, and blueberry). There’s also a brine-y, seashore sting that seems out of place, although it’s not unpleasant. After it settles for several minutes, I get some buttermilk in the distant background. Note that I’ve neither smelled nor tasted buttermilk in my life. I’m just going by what I imagine buttermilk smells like.

Palate: Warm vanilla and quality oak on arrival; it explodes with flavor after about ten seconds. Flavors are light and delicate but abundant. Some of the toffee-caramel I associate with Glenfiddich. It’s very much Scotch, but the bourbon casks are loud and clear. Bananas and bland melon here and there. There’s a trace of bitter oranges—more like orange juice that’s gone bad, to be specific—but not enough to intrude or distract.

Finish: Pleasant and silky-smooth, if a little short. The expected vanilla, oak, and fruit basket. Overall, the progression from nose to finish is very logical. No rude surprises here. It smells as it should taste, and it tastes as it should finish.

If I don’t regard this whisky as especially wow-inducing, it’s a welcome addition to the Glenfiddich lineup nonetheless. It’s a quality $50 single malt, and there are too few of those these days.

@Onibubba

Because I mean, wow. I know that I have not paid much attention to you lately. I mean, you're not exactly full of surprises, and yet, color me surprised. The amount of fresh zippiness, and oo-de-lolly, that I get on the nose is like nothing else I have sampled this year. Amazing honey. So freaking rich. The vanilla and caramel and spice come in well mingled with the honey, but come out more in the finish. Are there any Glenfiddich apples in there? No. Apple blossoms maybe,spent, emptied apple blossoms, super wild honey-suckle, and a wet walled, dripping sensation of flowing honeyed-resin soaked wood, trying to wrap itself around this USA only reminder of just how good 55 dollars can be. Snatch this up now.

Don't get too wrapped around the "scotch-for-bourbon-drinkers" press that this one gets - There is no mistaking this as scotch. I love it for its prominent wood presence, like a wetter resin/honey soaked version of the Compass Box Oak Cross.

Truth be told - I wasn't impressed with this Glenfiddich.

For $50 - I could've gotten 2 bottles of Buffalo Trace bourbon which I'd much rather have.

@galg

This one is a fairly new release from GF. In essence it was aged for 14 years in used oak casks, then finished in new wood casks (which had see no bourbon before) ,in a mix of new are American and European oak casks. This should make the spirit more complex, and add some flavours from both types of casks (spice,vanilla,fruit). This is not the first time I am tasting this, but it’s the first time i am keeping notes.

Nose: The Oak infulence here is noticed, with dried fruits, quite a bit of vanilla, and some apples in the background, and some spice.

Palate: Sweeter than the nose, with a kind of “Bourbony” sweetness to it, the dried fruits are also here as well as milk chocolate, and vanilla.nice and smooth.

Finish : Medium, with the dried fruit,and tasted oak.

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