Show rating data charts
Distribution of ratings for this:
The first distillery I toured when I got to Scotland was Glenfiddich - the home of whisky tourism. In 1969 it was the first distillery to open its doors to the public, due to its status as the first real single malt success, and is now the biggest single malt distillery in the world. If you visit the distillery, you will be impressed by its size and scale, yet also by its old stone architecture and sense of intimacy.
In 1886 William Grant ended a 16-year career at Mortlach to build, with his bare hands (and the help of his sons), Glenfiddich. The first spirit flowed on Christmas Day 1887. William Grant & Sons also own Balvenie (built on the neighbouring grounds - I visited them right after my Glenfiddich tour) and of course produce the blended Scotch Grant's.
Our tour of Glenfiddich ended in the warehouse, where we were presented with three casks - a 1st fill sherry, a 2nd fill sherry and an ex-bourbon. We sniffed each one and were asked which we wanted - I chose the 2nd fill sherry (not traditionally being a big fan of sherried whiskies, I wanted to expand my palate without overwhelming it). We were then each poured a small bottle of our choice and took it home!
And I'm finally opening it now. This is bottle #204, 19 years old (distilled in 1993) from cask #29665. Obviously cask strength (since I watched it scooped straight from the cask), no colouring nor filtering. The colour is deep red amber with golden highlights. And the nose is loads of sherry (more than you would think from a 2nd fill cask, but then again, it is 19 years old), stewed fruits like dates and raisins, Christmas pudding, suet, cigar box, dark chocolate, damp earth, deep oak, honey, caramel. Massively complex and extremely rich. Water brings out malt and fresh cut grass. Wonderful.
On the palate you are hit with sharp alcohol. Very tannic, with lots of puckering of the sides of the mouth. More dark fruits and a syrupy mouthfeel. Very very rich. Really takes me back to that warehouse, with lots of sherry and oak, of course. Very hot alcohol. Lots of spice: cayenne, paprika, cinnamon. Water tames the heat nicely. Very chewy.
The finish is long but not overwhelming. Raspberry jam, port, and cloves linger in the mouth and chest. Balance is strong - this is a bold, rich sherry bomb that hits you on every level and it all works together very nicely. This a beautiful, rich, luxurious whisky - and I'm sorry to tell you, you will never be able to buy it anywhere. But if you know me personally, you might be able to come over and try it......