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I had a fantastic Father's Day weekend over the last two days - I took my daughter Maggie to Niagara Falls where we ate tons of food, went to all sorts of cheesy attractions and spent six hours at a waterpark! Of course, we never bothered to get a close look at the Falls, she didn't want to bother...sheesh. Anyway, I thought I would cap off the weekend with a gift from Maggie and her mom which, though not a Father's Day gift, was given to me for Christmas. So hey, close enough.
Glenfiddich's recent "Cask Collection" is a series of three bottlings, each one crafted from a new solera vat. You may know that the standard 15 Year Old is matured in its own solera vat; for the Cask Collection they built three more vats, one for each bottling. The other two are Select Cask (the cheapest) and Vintage Cask (the most expensive).
Reserve Cask sits in the middle. It is 100% matured in ex-sherry casks, each one hand selected by Malt Master Brian Kinsman (yeah ok sure). They are all married together in the solera vat, ensuring consistency as well as keeping a certain amount of whisky from every single cask that has ever passed through the vat. Like the other Cask Collection bottlings, this is NAS and available only through travel retail.
The colour is a medium reddish-bronze. On the nose there are light notes of vanilla, golden sultana raisins, wine gums, orange peel, malt and, with subtlety, cloves. Dusty bookcase and damp wine cellar. A drop of water adds a bit more maltiness but, at 40%, you really don't need it. Clearly sherried but subtler than you might think.
On the palate, cinnamon, toasted oak, raspberry, crisp apples and pears. The merest hint of sulphur. Barley sugar, more cloves and allspice. Water ups the tannins and adds a layer of spice - so ignore my earlier comment and go ahead and add a bit! Richer than the nose but smooth and easy-drinking.
The finish is red liquorice, more dusty bookshelves and a hint of fruitcake. This is a very easy-to-drink sherried malt, yet has some complexity and subtlety. Very nice but there is no "wow" factor. Still, it makes a fine end-of-the-evening dram (which is what it is for me right now.) Happy Father's Day!