Glenfiddich. Often scoffed at, but never really disappoints. I’ve tried quite a few and all are decent daily drinkers. Older expressions (expensive!) can be really stellar. Sure, Glenfiddich is often reduced to the max, 40% ABV, but sometimes, some more alcohol is possible too, like the Distillery Edition that was bottled at 51% ABV. The higher alcohol, transports the flavours well, so I’m a firm believer in upping te ABV with Glenfiddich to show people with a prejudice against Glenfiddich, that it actually is not that bad. Sure, often not a super-duper malt as well, but surely nothing to scoff at. Today we’ll be looking at an 18yo that is no longer with us, but should still be available if you look closely enough. The 18yo “Ancient Reserve” is blended from Whiskies from Sherry and Bourbon casks, but in this case also from virgin oak casks. The tree are married in a large Solera Vat, using the Solera system.
Color: Full Gold.
Nose: Waxy and extremely creamy, with definitely quite some Oloroso Sherry influence. Smells quite good. Traits of all casks are clearly noticeable. Vanilla and creamy Bourbon wood and some thick Sherry. Candied apples. I can’t say if the Sherry is from European oak or not. Not a lot of tannins happening on the nose. Sweet peach yoghurt. All aromas are nice and creamy and integrate very well. Waxy fruit. Candied fruit mixed with a hint of yoghurt like acidity and some fresh air. A mere hint of toasted cask in the background and even a tiny hint of waxy apple skins. With air it becomes more dusty and dry. Creamy vanilla holding it’s ground. Not the most complex of noses, but very pleasing nevertheless.
Taste: Very smooth and waxy again, but that dissipates quickly. Well even before I can write down what else I taste, it’s already gone, as is the finish as is the aftertaste. Wow, quickest Malt I have ever tasted, and no it’s not a bad sample. Will this be another story about reduction? Well let’s take another sip, and another, better keep focussed now before it’s all gone. Waxy, nutty and woody. The wood is slightly acidic. Sherry influence, and … Wait a minute, it’s gone again, will have to take another sip. Bare with me. Creamy Sherry and an instant of sugar. Sweetish, Sherried and fruity. The wax carries a woody bitterness towards the end. Smells better than it tastes, although the taste isn’t bad, mind you. Vanilla powder, candied fruit, dried apricots. Nice development. But very weak going into its finish. Funny enough, in the aftertaste some bitterness appears. New wood?
40% ABV is to low for this profile. For the US market this was bottled at 43% ABV. Still quite nice, and better than the current 18yo. Alas this Ancient Reserve was discontinued in 2008. If I could find it for a decent price, I would get it, but I fear it would also be quickly gone. A real shame this got discontinued, especially since the current 18yo is no match for this one.