By Richard Thomas
The Glenfiddich distillery is named after the Dufftown, Scotland river valley that has served as its home ever since it opened for business in 1887. “Glen Fiddich” means “Deer Valley” in Gaelic, hence the stag logo that graces Glenfiddich’s labels. Dufftown is where William Grant, founder of the distilling company William Grant and Sons (which also owns the Balvenie) was born, and today the Glenfiddich is the number one seller of that company.
Glenfiddich’s 12 Year Old scotch, with its triangular green glass bottle, is arguable the most recognizable single malt scotch in the world. It is the standard, entry level label of the Glenfiddich distillery. The water for all of Glenfiddich’s products, including the 12 Year single malt, comes from the Robbie Dhu springs. The distillery is one of the few scotch producers left in Scotland that still makes and ages all of its whiskey in the same place. The dozen years of aging is done in new oak barrels made from either American or Spanish wood. The scotch has 40% alcohol.
The 12 Year has a wet straw coloring. The nose is floral with solid overtones of pear, and no peat smoke to speak of. On the palate, the scotch is buttery and a little toasty, with undertones of pears and almonds and a hint of oak. Glenfiddich’s 12 Year has not even the slightest dab of peat in the flavor (as in the scent), which is a feature that has some appeal to the whiskey novice. Generally speaking, it is my experience that those who are new to whiskey go for sweet, flowery whiskeys rather than warm, full-bodied smokey ones. The Glenfiddich 12 Year is definitely among the former.
Glenfiddich is a real winner in the pricing department, as the scotch can often be found on the store shelves for less than $30. For an above average scotch, such a price tag is very reasonable.
In recent years, the Glenfiddich 12 Year Old scotch has won a gold medal from the International Wine and Spirits Competition and the International Spirits Challenge in 2007, and a gold medal from the Scotch Whisky Masters in 2010.