Monday, August 17, 2009
Motivation for Writing this Review
I receive a lot of email from people who read my reviews wanting advice on a good “starter” or “entry level” single malt scotch to try. I also have gotten more than one gripe from people who complain I tend to review very expensive, high end spirits. So, in response to those emails, here is a review that is dedicated to the casual consumer of scotch who wants to try a good, middle of the road single malt scotch that will not break the bank.
Iconic Symbol of Scotch for the everyday person? There are two images conjured up by the mind of Joe Q Public when he hears the words “scotch.” He will first think of the trademark symbol of the “striding man” of Johnnie Walker advertisements followed closely by the image of a green, triangular Glenfiddich bottle that you invariably see on the shelves behind most bars around the world.
Delicate, subtle scented tendrils of white chocolate and maraschino cherry drift upwards in a most pleasing manner. You have to pay close attention to detect this bouquet.
Initially sweet, honey like taste, moving to heather, tarragon, then vanilla and oak.
This is a viscous (think oily texture) dram such that the scotch rolls thickly all over the palate and in that manner not as refined as more expensive single malts (ie. Highland Park 18 yr old) and even some blends (ie. Johnnie Walker Black). I am using the word “refined” in a certain manner. What I mean is with scotch whiskies that are refined, the various flavors are very well defined, such that you can pick them all out like the colored feathers of a peacock. Conversely, Glenfiddich 12 year old serves up a flavor profile where the various flavors are all rolled together in a non-distinct manner kind of like a television set out of focus or a LCD TV viewing an analog channel. While I would describe the flavor profile as unrefined, do not interpret this as a flaw. I am just attempting to describe the style or ambience of this scotch. One final point about the flavor profile that is worthy of note. There is very little if any peat
A salty ocean spray finish with some more heather. No burn here just a pleasing warming sensation as it goes down. Totally inoffensive. If you ever wanted to try drinking a dram of scotch “neat” (meaning without the addition of ice or water, just straight) this is the one.
I started out drinking scotch with lots of ice, as I did not enjoy the burn or warmth delivered by scotch, but over time my tastes evolved such that I required less ice until the present situation, where I drink scotch neat, mind you in little or tiny sips.
The “length” of this scotch, meaning how long the flavors linger in the mouth is very brief. What lingers though is a distinctly malty taste that is enjoyable with a little mint or lemon peel flavor accompaniment. Very nice.
What happens if served with ice? Drink this with ice and the scotch becomes much more fruity. Flavors of grapefruit and pear come into play. Makes for a very refreshing beverage that goes down very easily on a hot summer’s day.
Glenfiddich 12 year old offers up an entry level single malt scotch that is reasonably priced and delivers an inoffensive and enjoyable tasting experience. If you are seeking to impress guests this would not be a suitable dram. While decent, inoffensive and pleasing, it is not complex, luxurious or interesting to the serious scotch aficionado. I recently had this when I walked off the golf course on a cold and blustery day and it warmed me and my spirit as I casually chatted with some golfers in the clubhouse. Perfect in that sort of setting.
© Jason Debly, 2009-2012. All rights reserved.