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Glenfiddich Pure Malt Special Reserve

Average score from 5 reviews and 13 ratings 76

Glenfiddich Pure Malt Special Reserve

Product details

  • Brand: Glenfiddich
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • ABV: 40.0%

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Glenfiddich Pure Malt Special Reserve

Glenfiddich is still the world’s best selling single malt and in recent years they have done their utmost to expand the range. Successfully, I might add. But thanks to a friend who offered me this sample, I will try an old release from the 1990s without age statement. This Glenfiddich Special Reserve was for the longest time their flagship release.

I can imagine that you’ll get quite some batch variation when your output is several million bottles, but this one is surprisingly sharp and alcoholic on the nose. Some wild flowers and apples, pear drops and a hint of… err… radishes?

It is very soft on the palate, actually almost watery. Apple juice and some oak is more or less then only thing I get from this malt. And again quite alcoholic… it even burns a bit.

The finish is medium long and starts soft and sweet, but towards the end turns somewhat bitter.

A Monday morning malt? Thx, Pat.


This mini came to me with a group of other minis I purchased through Scotch Whisky Auctions. Pam had a full sized bottle of this many years ago, and I didn't like it much. My friend Igor Kossov had a very old mini version of this (with an "Over 8 Years Old" statement on it) which I also didn't think much of. This mini doesn't seem that old, but of course Glenfiddich doesn't make this NAS edition anymore (though, like everyone else, they are releasing more NAS bottlings). Also, I'm pretty sure it's a blend, not a vatted malt.

The colour is a light, pale straw. Also light on the nose with canned pears, heather, fresh cut grass and the faintest hint of peat. Green apple skins. Malty. A drop of water adds some herbal notes (mint, sage). Clearly very young, but fresh and inviting. A good breakfast dram (it's 11:30am right now as I write this!)

On the palate there is more pear (less apple) with lemon curd and crisp cereal notes. Underripe banana. Barley sugar. Water gives it a bit of a kick (as if the ABV increased) and brings out the peat. Light, fresh and summery.

The finish is short with lemon pith, digestif biscuits and grassy notes. This is quite nice, better than the other "Pure Malts" I've had from Glenfiddich that I noted above. I have the last dregs of a 'Fiddich 12, let's see how they compare: the 12 is darker in colour, and oakier on the nose and palate - but I actually prefer the Pure Malt's bright complexity rather than the 12, which is simpler and without that bright, refreshing quality. It's clear that some peated malt was used in the Pure Malt, whereas I don't think any was used in the 12. As so often happens, the older bottlings are superior to the newer.....sigh....


Tried with two fingers and a cube of ice. Medium-bodied with a slight sweetness and very low peat. Bit of floral notes but very hot even with the ice. Good everyday whisky but no where near the quality of their 18 year.


Being a first review from an unaccomplished writer please bear with me. The language and vocabulary will evolve over time. The first time I ever had scotch was many years ago during my Army days and happened to be the 12 year old expression from Glenfiddich. At the time I didn't place any thought into where it came from or its flavor profile. It was free, it was smooth, and I could easily carry the bottle around the party.

Now that I am older and have decided to take this style of whisky seriously and I wanted to write my first review. I decided this 12yr special reserve to be the appropriate starting point, especially since I did not appreciate what I was drinking when I was younger.

Drinking neat, the first things I notice is a light smell of carmelized brown sugar and pears. Not unlike an expensive desert at a nice restaurant. There were no other distinctive notes on the nose for me which was a little disappointing but not unwelcome.

The body was clean and moderatly oily. I could still taste the fruity pears but the brown sugar disappeared. It was warm but uncomplex and easy to drink but no fireworks. Slight smoke and quickly disappearing aftertaste.

I understand why many call this a gateway malt. No surprises and comes at you in a straight forward way. Supremely easy to drink but best left for those who want a few tugs and not reflect on what the are sampling. Certainly great for newbies but I am ready to move to the next level.

I didn't think I would like Glenfiddich, mostly because it was a staple on family bars and usually covered with dust, so I figured it must be pretty awful stuff. I was in NYC last weekend and since I wasn't driving I figured I would try whatever I saw and I was pleasantly surprised @ the 12yo! Like I stated in my 'profile' always willing to try something - and will put this in my glass again! Good review, keep writing more - it's not always easy to find certain whiskys @ bars before buying, but if the review reads as though it is something to be purchased, then I for one will take the plunge!

An accomplished review in my opinion @Glenmax


Glenfiddich is the best selling single malt whisky in the world. So one can expect that he'll be soft and sweet, to be able to be appreciated by such a large audience. This Pure Malt Special Reserve completely confirms this.

The nose is full, very fruite with a hint of pear. Sweet, but not in a bad way - at all. This is going to be one sweet dram!

The golden color and medium body also seem to be screaming: 'sweetness ahead'!

This is confirmed with the very first sip, that is full and sweet indeed! No peat anywhere that I could discover immediately. It's only faint in the background. It's fruit that dominates this Glenfiddich.

Just so you know: 'glen' means valley (which explains why so many drams from the region have the word 'glen' in their name) and fiddich (pronounced fiddick) means deer. Now the label makes perfect sense.

The finish is very nice and soft, but neither long nor short. Let's say 'medium'.

This easy-to-drink soft malt makes you long for more.

I must admit, while I started with the Glenfiddich range and as a result I have a fondness for them, I am often left a faintly disappointed when I do return to the lower-end vintages.

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