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There is some whisk(e)y that are very good but not flashy in anyway. When you are drinking one of them, you may say to yourself that it is better than you were expecting even if you have known it for years.
Glenfiddich 15 yo DE, is one of these whiskies. Mayba because the 12 is such a reference to the entry level we are snobbing the older brother, I don't know. What I do know is that at 51% ABV, this DE is worthy of my attention and is not an entry level whisky.
I have an evolving nose here. At the beginning, I have oak, honey, kumquat orange and honeysuckle. After a few minutes it is going toward the sherry in that I have cayenne, ginger, allspice, mint and eucalyptus. The mint and eucalyptus are quite similar to the same notes in an high rye content bourbon. Finally, the nose end on some cedar and dried leaves.
The sherry is more forward now but is mixing itself very well with the oak and the honey. I find caramel in the sweetness of it and some bitter wood but well balanced. The palate is not as round as the nose mainly at the end when the sweetness loose ground to an aggressive mix of cayenne and ginger. The orange, kumquat, mint and eucalyptus are not as strong on the palate as on the nose making the palate less complex than the nose. After a while, I've got some lemon and terragon with my sips and the allspice is mixed with a hint of cinnamon. If I am swallowing my sip without making it swirl there is a nice candied orange
At the beginning it is a bit bitter. I don't mind but some will. On the long run, the honey and the leaves are playing their role and remind you that it is a Glenfiddich. When I breathe, I get the kumquat and orange back.
This bottle has been opened for many years and never beeen gased. Surprinsingly, it is still very close to what it was. The balance is fantastic on the nose, there is short time where the bitterness will bother a few on the palate and the finish pass from being ok to great with time.
I have neglacted this bottle for way too long. It is an all around player with great balance. I often find that the very well balance and complex dram received reactions like blend. They are neglected because they are not flashy. This one though as big enough flavors not to be bland and should receive proper attention.