After an (alas imaginary) short break on the beaches of Barbados, back to Scotland again. From the oldest Rum brand in the world we now focus our gaze at the Whisky that started it all for Single Malts, Glenfiddich. Up ’till now lots of Glenfiddich have found their way onto these pages. The Whisky at hand is the first of three “Age of Discovery” bottlings. All three are accompanied by little stories about traveling and discovering new territories by usage of tall sailing ships. This particular Madeira cask finished Glenfiddich is about discovering the isle of Madeira (and Madeira Wine). The other ones are about sailing up the rivers of America for Bourbon casks (not a Bourbon finish, but wholly matured in Bourbon casks) and finally a Red Wine finish with the story of Darwin visiting the wine making regions of Argentina. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves and have a look at this Madeira finished one first.
Color: Full gold.
Nose: Funky and acidic. Where is this going? Some wood, rotting wood. Barley and grainy in fact. Waxy. I’m getting a lot of wax lately, so maybe that’s just me. Luckily with time the aroma’s start to gel a bit. Started out very unbalanced, but the balance returns. Still the whole doesn’t seem to be very complex and obviously is very light. Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to reduce it to 40% ABV. Mint & toffee come next. Unbelievable how malty this is after 19 years.
Taste: Sugar water with mocha, toffee and more sugar-water. So yes, quite sweet and appealing. Did the Madeira do that? Lots of vanillin from the American oak. Creamy. Pudding. Custard. Caramel, Toffee. After that it falls flat on its face. Short finish and hardly any aftertaste save for some creamy sweetness. Sure it’s nice and very, very easily drinkable, but hey, where is the development, where is the complexity? It’s a shame this got reduced so much because it tastes like nothing special now. It’s nice, but it is in no way better than a good Malt that costs much less than this one does.
I don’t know if this was meant for travel Retail? A lot of those big box Whiskies that are meant for travel Retail are 40% ABV. Why? Is the industry afraid the traveller at hand will open and drink the bottle on the spot? On the ferry or on the plane? Well, if that’s so, a traveller will get pretty plastered drinking a bottle at 40% ABV as well. So no need to put so much water into the Whisky bottle I would say. I guess you pay for the packaging this time. It’s nice, but could have been so much more. Expect to finish this bottle very quickly, because it drinks like lemonade, but alas also has the complexity and length of a lemonade.