By Debbie Shocair
When the proprietor of my favorite local happy juice store pointed out this little Speyside gem, I knew it had to be mine. The Glenfiddich 15 is one of my favorite single malts, and I was sure this 14 year old bourbon barrel-aged whisky would turn out to be a lovely, if divergent, interpretation on Glenfiddich.
This Glenfiddich single malt is aged fourteen years in ex-bourbon barrels, then finished in new American charred oak barrels from the Kelvin Cooperage in Louisville, Kentucky. Basically, after being aged in old bourbon barrels, as most Scotch is, it gets a second round in barrels made for aging bourbon. By GF’s own description, the whisky is “a homage and a celebration of the US Whiskey industry’s contribution to Scottish Single Malt.” This new rendition has been exclusively crafted for the United States, so it really is pretty special.
On the nose, this one is heavy on honey, almost to the exclusion of any other scents, though closed eyes and careful consideration bring very low notes of oak and peat, with a whisper of maple and molasses.
Breaking the Glenfiddich 14 Year Old Bourbon Barrel Reserve with a half-teaspoon of water opens the sweet notes of toffee and molasses to more prominence.
The mouthfeel is surprisingly gentle for an 43% abv whisky, and it slips back with barely a whisper, only a quick caress and tingle at the tip of the tongue and at the very back of the palate.
I was surprised that the flavor of peat is so much more pronounced on the exit, along with a brief pop of honeyed orange zest. The long-lingering finish is awash with honey.
Overall, I liked it. I still prefer The Glenfiddich 15, but I’m happy with Glenfiddich’s nod to us Yanks.
It’s available at most larger liquor stores in America, and I procured mine for $47.99, which is a more than fair price. I may have to procure another to fully appreciate the happy nod from the Valley of the Deer. Cheers!