Sunday, October 18, 2009
Scotch Whisky Review: Glenfiddich 12
Tonight we tasked a depressingly small sample bottle of Glenfiddich 12. The color of this one is a very pretty light gold; it's got a little less cling on the glass than some, and forms legs quickly. I had never tasted a Glenfiddich before and it was a treat.
On the nose, the first thing I notice is a big hit of toffee. It never ceases to amaze me that these are just made with malted barley, sometimes peat to smoke and dry it, and water, and the various types of casks, and that's about it. And suddenly you've got butter pecan ice cream. This has the most pronounced buttery aroma and flavor of any whisky I've tasted. Think baking homemade chocolate chip cookies, and pecan pie. There are some delicate floral notes hiding in there -- maybe a bit of rose; Grace suggested lavender. Think baclava flavored with rose water and made with a light, grassy and fruity olive oil.
On the tongue this whisky has a pleasant burn, with a little burnt toast and black pepper, a little drying but not unpleasantly hot. If I had some more I'd try it wet, but alas, I did not; I'd expect a little water to bring out a slight saltiness and emphasize some of the fruit and nut flavors. There's not a lot of oak to speak of.
The balance is excellent. It would be an excellent first scotch for beginners, while still providing a suite of very pleasant and rich flavors for more experienced tasters. Despite the sweetness, I don't think it need be reserved entirely as dessert drink; it would also make a nice aperitif.
Some of the other reviews I read of this whisky mentioned vanilla, apple, pear, coconut, and honey. I'll go along with the coconut, especially if it is toasted, but the fruit flavors are softened and sweetened -- not like the crisp and tart apples in the Bunnahabhain 12, but more like applesauce with a touch of cinnamon, or apple pie with a butter crust.
Grace gives this one an 8.5, while I give it an 8. Looking at prices, it appears that this one is quite inexpensive as these things go, which makes it a terrific bargain. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that since it is inexpensive, popular, and produced in large quantities, that it isn't also very good -- this one really is a very appealing and "moreish" whisky, if a little simple. I'm looking forward to comparing it to the Glenfiddich 15 and 18.