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Glenfiddich 15 Year Old Distillery Edition

Where Did It Go?

0 1287

@VictorReview by @Victor

17th Sep 2013


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

This review is of a bottle opened 2 years ago. Scores are for when the bottle was open for 2 months. I will also comment on what the whisky tastes like now

Nose: when first opened, many very strong and vivid flavours, crisp red wine skins, clean grape flavours, vibrant zingy pointed citrusy malt, gently integrated wood. After 2 years of the bottle open, this has sweetened enormously and become less vivid. Still it is very nice

Taste: good flavour translation from the nose; when first opened this was wonderfully intense with flavuor, crisp and delicious. After 2 years, the flavours reflect a rounded out and sweetened version, similar to the nose at 2 years

Finish: when first opened, this is the truly bizarre part: the finish lasts about 2 seconds. After 2 years bottle open, the finish is long, but the flavours are completely changed

Balance: how do you score a whisky with a 2-second finish? Glenfiddich 15 YO Distillery Edition is an outstanding malt on nose and palate. "If and only if" (the mathematician's "IFF"), you can enjoy a malt without a finish, then for you this Glenfiddich 15 YO Distillery Edition scores a 96 out of 100. Even without a finish I like this Distillery Edition much better than I like the standard Glenfiddich 15 YO Solera Malt, which to me has quite weak and thin flavours by comparison. The flavours here are great, and intense, but then they just disappear

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Pudge72 commented

Very interesting review @ Victor. This one seems like the one Glenfiddich to add to my cabinet at some point, as an eventual replacement for my Snow Phoenix bottle. Your two year review is key to my consumption patterns. :)

9 years ago 0

systemdown commented

I would daresay it would not have held up for 2 years at a lesser ABV. I love how cask strengths can keep evolving without going stale over a long period of time.

And yes, nice review, I will keep an eye out for this one. Wasn't planning on trying it, but will not turn it down next time. Pity about the short finish on opening, though.

9 years ago 0

Nozinan commented

I've never met a Glenfiddich that I've liked yet. But it's primarily been the branded 12 and 15. My greatest fear is th one of my friends learns of my interest in Scotch and does me a favour by buying me a 'fiddich 12.

A few months ago a friend who doesn't drink was all excited because a wealthy patient had gifted him an expensive awesome Highland Park and we was going to bring it to me. Exciting...... It was a 12 YO. Not that it's a bad Scotch. It's one of the few branded whiskies I enjoy, but you can see what a little lack of knowledge can bring...

9 years ago 0

Victor commented

@Nozinan, I have often thought that whisky lovers should "register" at a liquor store with a checklist/wishlist of desired whiskies, as do brides and grooms before a wedding. That way, when someone expresses interest in your whisky hobby, or, say, before a birthday or Christmas, you can tell that person where you are registered in case they want to buy you a gift. The trick would be to share the 'registration' information politely in light conversation in such a way that you do not make it sound like you are begging to be given a gift.

9 years ago 0

Simewiz commented

@Nozinan I've had that very problem; people at work "got wind" that I was a lover of single malt and on several occasions when gifts were called for (birthday, Christmas) I received my least favourite malt of all time: Glenmorangie 12-year "Original". I think I've now got them away from this. We'll see what happens this Christmas!

9 years ago 0

wtrstrnghlt commented

@nozinan I share your fear. And then you don't want to react impolite, so you do your best to hide your disappointment.

@victor I keep my wish list up to date on Connosr. I even made a top 10 wish list. So whenever someone is interested in my Whisky hobby, I mention this great website. The reviews, list of the highest rated bottles and of course my cabinet and wish list. Or I point them to a good Whisky shop and tell them to ask for good advise. The trick indeed is not to go begging :)

9 years ago 0

Victor commented

@systemdown, a few words about changes in the Glenfiddich 15 Distillery Edition over time. This bottle was about 80% full at the time of the review. This was not because I didn't like it, but only because I have been sipping from so very many bottles these last 3 years. I gassed this whisky after about 14 months open, but the flavours had already shifted quite a lot by that time. They did seem to shift a little bit more during the 10 months since it was gassed, but they did not sour/bitter to any significant degree. I consider this to be one of the more delicate whiskies for preservation, and if I obtain another bottle of this Distillery Edition, I would decant it early. I liked the flavours best in the first 6 months after it was open. Now it is still quite drinkable, but it lacks the sharpness it once had. I would rate it around 82 at present.

This is a whisky which I would very much enjoy getting again, despite the unsettlingly short finish. I am not quite as attached to a very long and poetic finish as are some, but this one is downright unnerving, even for me. I have NEVER seen a whisky like this one, without a finish. Still, the flavours are really super here, at least they were for this batch which came out about 3 years ago. Hopefully a new batch of the DE will be just as good, maybe even with a finish!

9 years ago 0

systemdown commented

Thanks for those extra "few words" @Victor! I find most whiskies at their best before 6 months so that seems perfectly reasonable. I find it interesting that the whisky changed under gas preservation - I know @SquidgyAsh has experienced a negative decline in some whiskies he had gassed but if the gas is supposed to be inert and form a protective barrier over the whisky, how is oxidation allowed to occur? Not enough gas used, or is there something else going on?

Strictly speaking, I know that the gas doesn't actually form a nice perfect layer over the whisky - it does combine with the air in the bottle to some degree so you don't get a full blanket effect at the best of times. Anecdotally, it seems that decanting is still the most effective way to preserve a whisky.

But I digress.

If you try a newer batch, do let me know if it has a finish! I think I'm with you though - I'm not very attached to a finish. If it lasts a good 30 seconds to a minute or more then that's perfectly adequate in my books, as long as it's pleasant! Bonus points for something new and interesting in the finish that wasn't on the palate. The length of a finish only makes up about 1/3 of the score for that aspect when I'm scoring. The other 2/3 are flavour, complexity and whether or not it begs me to want to take another sip.

9 years ago 0

Victor commented

@systemdown, I realised when I saw you enter the discussion that I needed to give you more information in order to give a fuller and clearer picture of the changes of my bottle of Glenfiddich 15 Distillery Edition.

I do agree with you that decanting is a more reliable and more predictable method of preservation than is the gas, but it is also more difficult and more space-consuming. I have found results with the Private Preserve to be very good in general, but I do think that it is just too much to ask of it to accomplish the task by itself, over a long period of time. What I expect of the gas is that it will greatly retard air effects, but not necessarily stop them cold. I now decant as a frequent measure, and do so very early if I believe that a whisky has above average vulnerability to the air, e.g. low ABV whiskies which have a delicate balance of flavours.

If I get another bottle of Glenfiddich 15 Distillery Edition, and I do one day hope to do so, I will probably decant it within the first month or two that it is open.

9 years ago 0

tjb commented

Each summer when I go away on holiday I choose a bottle to take with me. This year I have a bottle of Laphroaig 15 already purchased and waiting to be packed but thought I would see if there was anything that might tempt me to change my mind and open the L15 upon my return instead.

I have seen this bottle at 25% rrp recently and so I thought I would do a little research. It might ma@victor your review was excellent (as usual) but I thought you might be interested that after reading your comments I checked Jim Murray WB15. His final thoughts were as follows... "had this exceptional whisky been able to maintain the pace through to the finish, this would have been a single malt of the year contender...at least".

Not that I think Jim is the fountain of ALL knowledge but it is interesting to see him mirror your thoughts.

7 years ago 0

Victor commented

@tjb, I'd love to have another bottle of Glenfiddich 15 Distillery Edition. I haven't seen this for sale here for several years now.

Thanks for joining in.

7 years ago 0

Astroke commented

On sale now at the LCBO (albeit $3.75 off). I received a couple of bottles of Crown Royal Rye (meh)from some contractors so I decided to trade them in for something else. This was the first Glenfiddich I had ever purchased and I have had a couple drams. I had to comment because of the "2 second finish" you described. Spot on, however as you stated the flavors are nice. Not a bad sipper. Keep that under your hat or I may be ostracized by my Whisky buddies for purchasing anything Glenfiddich :)

7 years ago 1Who liked this?

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